Contest: What should my Beth El machzor bookplate say?

I can’t join a Conservative shul in good conscience. However, I also see it as wrong to behave like a member of a synagogue with a financial contribution membership model without making a financial contribution.

(We’ve talked about this around here before. Briefly, the issue is that paying dues at an affiliated synagogue also means paying part of the synagogue’s dues to the larger organization with which it is affiliated. Since I am not a Conservative Jew, paying dues to Beth El is not something I want to do.)

My solution, when it comes to Beth El, is this: bookplates. Beth El is buying more copies of Mahzor Lev Shalem, which I’m a big fan of. To help fund this, they’re selling bookplates. So I’m going to make a contribution to Beth El in the form of a Lev Shalem bookplate or two. (I don’t know how much they cost, so I don’t know how many I’m buying yet.)

So, dear readers, what should the bookplate(s) say?

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13 Responses to Contest: What should my Beth El machzor bookplate say?

  1. BZ July 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Use that space to include errata for the mahzor (if you’ve found any errors).

  2. Jacob T July 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    This: “I can’t join a Conservative shul in good conscience” is not logically equivalent to this: “Paying dues to Beth El is not something I want to do.” What about your belief system makes contributing to Conservative institutions a (personally) reprehensible/unjustifiable act?

    • Uri Allen July 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      ” Since I am not a Conservative Jew…”

      Does anyone really care about these labels anymore? You’re not a C Jew you just daven at their shul? I applaud your creativity in finding a way to contribute to Beth El financially that fits with whatever identity that you have constructed for yourself.
      I’m with Jacob T though – what is so reprehensible about supporting the C movement?

      • David A.M. Wilensky July 28, 2011 at 9:13 am #

        “Does anyone really care about these labels anymore?”

        I do.

        “what is so reprehensible about supporting the C movement?”

        Reprehensible may be a stronger word than I’m looking for–I don’t think that supporting them is reprehensible act for all. I think that I should not make financial statements of affiliation with ideological communities that I am not ideologically a part of.

  3. Simcha Daniel Burstyn July 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    If this book isn’t in Beth El South Orange, please help it do teshuvah.

  4. bib July 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    My friend, you answered your own question before you asked it. Bookplate #1 should say “I can’t join a Conservative shul in good conscience,” followed by your name. Bookplate #2 should say, “Paying dues to Beth El is not something I want to do,” followed by your name.

    If you can swing more than two, please come back for more suggestions.

  5. Larry Yudelson July 28, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    No, I don’t think you get off that easily by saying you’re not a Conservative Jew. What Conservative beliefs / actions / values do you reject? Do you reject them because they’re silly, or because they’re morally objectionable?

    Then, the question is what percentage of your dues goes to advance / propagate / proclaim those beliefs. I can’t believe it’s the majority, so the treif would be batel b’rov and you would have to pay. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was less than one part in 60.

    Certainly, a major portion of your dues pays to hold worship services — which you don’t object to. So what’s the part you don’t like?

    • David A.M. Wilensky July 31, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      What do I reject? I reject that a female rabbi can’t issue gittin. Or the fact that they’re still clinging to matrilineal descent.

      Percentage is not the question. Not only do I not keep kosher, but I can’t see why on Earth that analogy would apply if I did. It’s not about money alone–it’s about how I express my conscience and identity with my money.

      And if a major portion of my dues pays for services, I can go one step further and make my entire financial contribution go toward it–by buying bookplates.

      • BZ July 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

        And there’s also the movement’s rhetoric about how they’re the ONLY Jews who combine tradition and modernity, and everyone else is either a fanatic or a heathen. (Imperialist corollary: If there are others who combines tradition and modernity, then they’re really Conservative Jews even if they deny it.) And the movement defining its Unforgivable Curses around distinguishing itself politically from the Reform movement.


  1. Bad news about the bookplates, kids | The Reform Shuckle - July 28, 2011

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