7/22/07

Teaneck Sliding to the Right

As reported previously in the Jewish Standard and now in the Bergen Record...

Teaneck synagogue divides sexes to survive
By JOHN CHADWICK
STAFF WRITER

A venerable Conservative synagogue in Teaneck, aiming to attract the township's burgeoning Orthodox Jewish population, has begun using a partition to separate men and women during some of its worship services.

The Jewish Center of Teaneck's decision to use separate seating -- a staple of Orthodox Judaism -- reflects the travails of a landmark synagogue struggling to keep pace with a transformed Jewish community.

Indeed, the congregation's president said the move is necessary for the synagogue's survival.

"If we do not make this change, this place will at some point fold or fail, because the demography of this town is predominantly Orthodox," Howard Wang said. "And in order for us to get any growth and development, we need the young Orthodox families to come here."

The synagogue -- Teaneck's first -- flourished in the 1960s and 1970s with a membership of 1,400 that included prominent local leaders such as Matthew Feldman, the late mayor and state senator. ... more

6 comments:

Reb Yudel said...

Hardly a slide to the right. No mechitza, no women aliyot is simply not a viable position.

bryce said...

Besides, what Tzvee calls a "slide" to the right, others see as a "step" in the "right" direction.

He probably doesn't mean definitions 1 through 4 of the word "right" at dictionary.com, but definition 33. (smirk).

Tzvee said...

My allusion, "sliding to the right" is to Sam Heilman's book of that name. I make no value assessment.

Anonymous said...

As someone who grew up at "the Jewish Center" and is now an active modern orthodox jew I find this move incredible. The Rabbi there is not just leading a community to orthodoxy to survive, but bringing the community on a derech towards greater observence and ahavat Torah. I commend them for this shift and hope that they will not just mimic the other "modern orthodox" shuls in teaneck, but will become a truly modern orthodox kahal.

bryce said...

"My allusion, "sliding to the right" is to Sam Heilman's book of that name. I make no value assessment."

And concerning this "slide" I say, "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Of course, I'm only alluding to Bobby McFerrin and am not making a value assessment.

Irwin said...

I think it is a shame that the Teaneck JCC is sliding into orthodoxy. I was one of the first to be bar mitzvah there in March 1955 by Rabbi Washer and Cantor Freolich. Went to Hebrew School and confirmation class. Thursday night was USY. It was a conservative congregation. Next it will become a Chabad House.