Monday, October 5, 2009

Church Experiment #40: Isaac M. Wise Temple

My previous experiences with Judaism have been limited. Mostly, one of my best friends from high school converted when he went to college, and I was the best man at his Jewish wedding (which was quite lovely, by the way) in 2003.

Isaac M. Wise Temple (www.wisetemple.org) is a Reform Jewish Temple. I had no idea what that meant, so I offer this explanation from www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org:

We Reform Jews are heirs to a vast body of beliefs and practices embodied in TORAH and the other Jewish sacred writings. We differ from more ritually observant Jews because we recognize that our sacred heritage has evolved and adapted over the centuries and that it must continue to do so. And we also recognize that if Judaism were not capable of evolution, of REFORM, it could not survive.

Based on that explanation and what I witnessed firsthand, I’m assuming Reform Temples are equivalent to nondenominational Christian churches. More relaxed, less ritualistic, but still holding to the same core beliefs.

If Reform Temples are less ritualistic than other Jewish Temples, I’m not sure I could handle the more conservative option. The service lasted about an hour, and almost the entire sixty minutes was filled with rituals.

To finish reading about this experience or any of the reflections from my 52 visits, please purchase the full book here.

9 comments:

Lisa said...

As I was clicking the link from my Bloglines to read your most recent expierence, I was thinking, "Man, I am getting kind of tired of the church expierement." Although your insight is profound, I found that you were getting a little bitter and biased and I could tell that perhaps your heart wasn't in it anymore. This was a good post with a good message. Next year, you should apply one biblical principle to your everyday life, and continue to live that principal in addition to the one you add the following week. Of course, you probablly need a break from the Bible after this.

Ruby Red Slippers said...

I can't believe I am the first commenter-
Our family is Christian, but live in a Ethnically diverse neighborhood. Many friends are Reformed Jews, and my college job was a nanny to a R. Jewish family. Now, their son is our sitter for our kids-
We have celebrated Sukkot with neighbors (it is like a harvest party, thanking God-) and have even helped set up the structures-
We have been to the Temple for several bar/bat mitzvahs ect...
The Prayer book is backwards because Hebrew is written from right to left, back to front-from my understanding.(That is just from me, helping my former employer's kids study for their upcomming bar-mitzvahs many years ago!)
The R. Jews do not keep the Jewish laws as strictly as the others-The mode of dress is different, the men's hair is different, and they may eat non-kosher food, or maybe just use seperate dishes for non-kosher meals. Some friends even have seperate dishwashers for their kosher food, and one for their non-kosher food. They may not be as observant of the Sabbath-they may drive their cars after dark, and use electricty-while the more observant Jews are seen walking on the Sabbath, rather than going to temple in their cars...
But like any church-it is the believer themselves-each Jewish family I know has their certain things they compromise on, and other things they are religious about.

Being at Jewish service has always been moving to me-I love the prayers, and the rituals...to me (being a non-Jew) I find the need for a Savior, and see how it all points to Christ-that is so beautiful....
Neat experience.

Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

A cousin of mine, who is a Catholic priest, once said that if you visit a Russian Orthodox church or an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, you might not understand what is going on, but you come away knowing you've worshipped!

Incidentally, not all Christian churches have a "worship time" at the beginning - in my experience, a majority do not! The entire service is considered to be worship, not just the songs at the beginning (assuming the church has any musicians, which they don't always).

Ruby Red Slippers said...

(I wrote so much, I was NOT the first commenter!) :)

bshawise said...

if you ever need another important slap in the face but don't want to go to a church/temple to get it...you call me. or txt. whatever.

Christian said...

Steve,

Nice posting.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the Sukkot.

A Modern Ancient said...

Jesus would probably have been welcome since he was Jewish.

Micah said...

re: Baltimore vs Paris

Have you been to an Eastern Orthodox church yet?

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