October 28, 2009
When you're trying to build a community from scratch...nothing is perfect, you won't always understand everyone and everything, and giving people the space to 'do their thing' may end up with something less focused than it should be. But what can you do? You're building something from nothing! You're depending on the time and money of volunteers who may not have a lot of either. With all those things in mind, Mitziut is exploring and expressing their Judaism in a way that I've been looking for for a long time.
It's about the spirit of the words, and the spirit of the law, as opposed to a rote recitation of the words or the stringent application of the law. I can understand how Orthodox and haredi scholars would tell me that those letters of those laws are exactly what make Judaism Judaism. But from where I sit, attacking fellow Jews for using a parking lot or arguing for years about elevators on Shabbat is less about Judaism and more about power. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Reform movement (which I grew up in) has taken the essence of the creator, and a Jew's individual relationship with that creator, completely out of the equation. Miziut has not abandoned halacha or its principles. Nor has it created a community unto itself that refuses to acknowledge the modern world. Instead, Rabbi Menachem has taken the best of all worlds, all streams, where each individual can come, learn, daven, participate, explore, and share in the joy that their Judaism can bring them-at the level and intensity that feels right for them.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
my own life...I have a comfort level at Mitziut services that I haven't felt before, and I've prayed with the most reform-minded-zero-english congregations all the way up to and including Chabad communities all over the world.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
do some really good things for not just the local Jewish community, but the Chicago area as a whole.
Ways to make it better...
there were more people I could relate to on a personal level outside of Mitziut. what has made great Jewish communities in the past are the personal relationships that go beyond the shul.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
money and time.
One thing I'd also say is that...
while I respect the lay-people that conduct services on weeks when the rabbi is unavailable, and while I know that there's always something I can learn from someone, it's just not my thing. I wish the community made enough to make the rabbi full-time.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every month
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I'm a dues-paying member of the community.