“To draw people back into the synagogue, we…need to train rabbis in the art of running engaging services…”
To draw people back into the synagogue, we…need to train rabbis in the art of running engaging services, certainly on the High Holy Days but also all year round. We responsibly fill our students with great Jewish texts and ideas, but we irresponsibly pay scant attention to teaching them how to use those texts and ideas to enliven services. We place great emphasis on the Saturday morning sermon, but ignore the rest of the service. Since people are looking for meaning, we need to unlock the liturgy for them. Therefore, instead of making the “senior sermon” the rite of passage for future rabbis, we should instead ask them to run a complete Shabbat morning service. They would pass only if the assembled participants found it intellectually engaging and spiritually uplifting.
Rabbi Judith Hauptman, “Growing The Conservative Movement”, The Jewish Week (18 October 2013), 27.