Last night, a local Montreal synagogue, the Shaar Zion, kicked off their 90th anniversary celebrations with what I’m sure was a rousing performance of the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir.
Gospel music has been the saving grace of the southern baptist Christian movement. Once introduced into the churches of the south, attendance increased and parishioners took a more active interest in church activities.
While I have stated that I think synagogues should look at the Baptist movement and learn technique from them, I never ever imagined that a church choir would be invited to sing about Jesus in front of an arc of Torahs to celebrate the anniversary of a synagogue. Some will point to this event and say Praise the Lord! Finally we’ve achieved parity with our neighbors! Others will look at it as another nail in the coffin of the once strong and proud Montreal Jewish Community.
Montreal’s Jewish Community was always one of the most traditional communities in North America. It was a quirky anomaly, but until very recently, the Jewish Community was very careful about their image. Pretty much all of the Jewish organizations kept kosher and did not host events on Shabbat. Jews ran the organizations and there was always a Jewish spirit to events.
Times, however, have changed. In recent years we’ve seen:
An orthodox synagogue held a special Shabbat honoring a Catholic priest, replete with the priest (who is very friendly to the Jewish Community) giving the sermon.
A Reform synagogue hired a lesbian spritual leader married to a woman raising a child together. When she was hired, the spiritual leader changed the rules of the synagogue to allow inter-marriage on their premises.
At least three of the major Jewish community organizations have hired non Jews to head them, including, strangely enough, the Yiddish theater program.
There are many other events that have shredded the moral and Jewish fabric of our Montreal community.
For those of us that care, there is only one solution. it’s time for the orthodox community to completely separate from the secular community. It’s time for Torah loving Jews to build our own communal institutions and stop relying on the assimilationists to run them for us.
Once we take control of our communal life and inject Torah and Jewish morality into it, perhaps then we might be able to quell the unbelievable inter-marriage and assimilation rates that are quickly destroying our nation.