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Old 05-05-2013, 03:11 PM
 
Location: San Antonio Texas
11,434 posts, read 16,488,745 times
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There is a huge population of practicing Jews here in Los Angeles whose customs I'm not familiar with since I just moved here from a smaller city in Texas with not too many Jews. There was a very influential rabbi there named Rabbi Sidney Wolf, who was instrumental in fighting injustice and bridging the different communities together during the civil rights era. He is very revered.

Here are my questions:

1) There are conservative Jews that walk to the temple in "traditional" clothes, normally divided by the sexes. Do they wear these clothes all week or only on the "sabbath"?

2) I noticed a young Jewish boy with a light blue yarmulke instead of a dark color. Was this a mere fashion choice or does it symbolize something?

3) Do all conservative Jews honor the tradition of walking to temple? Is it just "conservative" Jews or ALL Jews that do this?

4) Do ALL Jews have a mezzuzah (sp) at their doorways or only the most observant?

Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:14 PM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
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Great questions. I can answer some, as a conservative Jew. All Jews should have a mezuzah on every doorway in their homes as commanded. Of course, certain rooms such as the bathroom are an exception. And some conservative Jews walk to shul, but most of us in my area drive.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:24 PM
 
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1. On Shabbos, Shabbos observant Jews wear their Shabbos best.
2. Color of Yarmulke is a matter of preference for little boys. Size is more indicative of observance level.
3. Shabbos observant Jews do not ride cars on Shabbos.
4. Torah observant Jews post Mezuzahs in their doorways.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
939 posts, read 1,263,429 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wehotex View Post
There is a huge population of practicing Jews here in Los Angeles whose customs I'm not familiar with since I just moved here from a smaller city in Texas with not too many Jews. There was a very influential rabbi there named Rabbi Sidney Wolf, who was instrumental in fighting injustice and bridging the different communities together during the civil rights era. He is very revered.

Here are my questions:

1) There are conservative Jews that walk to the temple in "traditional" clothes, normally divided by the sexes. Do they wear these clothes all week or only on the "sabbath"?

2) I noticed a young Jewish boy with a light blue yarmulke instead of a dark color. Was this a mere fashion choice or does it symbolize something?

3) Do all conservative Jews honor the tradition of walking to temple? Is it just "conservative" Jews or ALL Jews that do this?

4) Do ALL Jews have a mezzuzah (sp) at their doorways or only the most observant?

Thanks.
People generally avoid using the term "conservative" to refer to Jews who are traditional in their observance and outlook, because there is a progressive, liberal Jewish movement called "Conservative Judaism" which is only conservative compared to the even more liberal Jewish movement called "Reform Judaism". Conservative and Reform Jews are generally indistinguishable in wardrobe from non-Jews except when they are in the synagogue itself, and on Shabbat they aren't dressed much different than church-goers on Sunday.

What you seem to be referring to are observant Orthodox Jews, who are often seen with a kippa (head cover, the Yiddish word for this is "yarmulke") at all times and sometimes have white strings coming from the tops of their pants called tzitzit ("tzitzis"). The women are almost wearing long skirts and tops that cover the knees and elbows.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
939 posts, read 1,263,429 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wehotex View Post
2) I noticed a young Jewish boy with a light blue yarmulke instead of a dark color. Was this a mere fashion choice or does it symbolize something?
The word for Jewish skullcap in Hebrew is "kippa" (Hebrew for "dome"). "Yarmulke" is a Yiddish word. Color and material does matter, even though it shouldn't. Ultra-Orthodox "Torah-true" Jews almost always wear black velvet kippot, and on Shabbat they wear different types of black hats, with the Hasidic kinds of ultra-Orthodox often wearing fur ones called streimels. Other kinds of Orthodox Jews often wear knit / crocheted or suede kippot of various colors. These are also worn by those Conservative and Reform Jews who have their own kippot. People at synagogues who don't bring their own kippot often take synagogue kippot, which are made of satin.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:13 AM
 
Location: North Texas
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'Sunday best' is the best way I know of to describe to a Gentile how most non-Orthodox Jews dress for temple.

I go to a reform temple and people dress conservatively but not necessarily in dark clothing. Short skirts or pants are almost never seen on women there. I personally wear dark clothing, trousers or a long skirt, and a blouse or sweater/cardigan that covers my arms. I do not cover my head. Some women wear sleeveless or short-sleeved tops/dresses. Most men are in sport coats or blazers, or suits. You could show up in shorts and a t-shirt, but I think it would be quite disrespectful. I would quietly disapprove of it.

When I was growing up we drove to temple because we lived too far away to walk. Almost everyone drove. I drive to temple now, but my parents do not. I was raised Conservative but am now Reform, whereas my parents are now practically 'modern' Orthodox. They do not drive on Shabbos.

Every single Orthodox Jew I know has a mezuzah on every doorway except those leading to bathrooms. Every single Conservative Jew I know has a mezuzah on their front doorway, and many have them inside the house as well. Most Reform Jews I know have a mezuzah on their front door, though not all do. Speaking personally, I have one at my front door but none inside the house itself.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:20 PM
 
3,964 posts, read 3,349,384 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDGeek View Post
Every single Orthodox Jew I know has a mezuzah on every doorway except those leading to bathrooms. Every single Conservative Jew I know has a mezuzah on their front doorway, and many have them inside the house as well. Most Reform Jews I know have a mezuzah on their front door, though not all do. Speaking personally, I have one at my front door but none inside the house itself.
This Orthodox Jew has 18 mezuzahs in his home. Each one was scribed by an Orthodox sofer (scribe) at a cost of roughly $75 for each ($70 for the scroll and $5 for the mezuzah).

My experience with reform and conservative jews, is that they tend to buy their mezuzahs from reform and conservative judaica stores, and in the vast majority of the cases, their mezuzah scrolls are posul (invalid), although they often have beautiful mezuzah covers.

The geneal kabbalistic idea of a mezzuzah is that it provides the Yid "protection" in their home and in their life, and Orthodox Jews are typically very machpid (strict) to ensure ALL the mezuzahs in their home are kosher. The bigger reason, however, is that it's required of us. An unkosher mezuzah does not fulfill the requirement for a Jew to plade a mezuzah on their doorpost. You can pin a bagel on your door and fulfill the mitzvah equally to placing an unkosher muzuzah scroll.

When I was in the process of becoming observant, and when I learned the fact above, I first made sure I had a rock-solid mezuzah on my front door. As time went on, and finances allowed, I replaced the bad ones inside my house, and then finally put a mezuzah on every doorpost where one was halachically required.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:13 PM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
1,138 posts, read 1,435,340 times
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There are overlaps everywhere, I guess. My Conservative friends and I all have kosher (sorry, don't remember the special word) for the mezuzah scrolls. They are expensive but authentic. We add one at a time in our houses. And we dress with our principles of tznius. We don't cover our hair, but don't show elbows, knees, etc. All of my dress sleeves are full or 3/4 length. We don't distract people of the opposite gender by hugging all over them constantly. I would not be offended if I were asked to daven with women, although we don't currently do it that way.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:44 AM
 
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When I was a boy (age 5 to 10-ish), I wore a kippah with the city's baseball team logo on it! That was fun. But nowadays, I wear the solid-color ones, to keep a less distracting tone about it. I also had a blue-and-white hand-knit one that I wore on my barmitzvah, and some solid brown and green ones.

Actually, (just as my mom said), the bigger yarmulkes are useful when you get older for people with less hair. "Covers up the bald spot", she says, partly joking. But also, the large ones fit on your head without using hairpins to hold it on, which is why I prefer them, even if by association it might look like an "old man" kippah. Anyway, those are all small matters, the important thing is to wear one.

In my old Reform synagogue, we would wear any modest dress clothing, as has been said, "Sunday best"-equivalent. In my new Conservative shul, most of the men wear white shirts with suit-and-tie.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
21,378 posts, read 24,152,982 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wehotex View Post
3) Do all conservative Jews honor the tradition of walking to temple? Is it just "conservative" Jews or ALL Jews that do this?
The Conservative Movement examined the issue of driving on Shabbat during the 1950s and decided to allow limited use of the automobile strictly for the purpose of attending synagogue services.... In accordance with these rulings, driving is not permitted for any other reasons, including attendance at a social function at the synagogue that has no prayer involved (such as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah reception), as doing so is viewed as serving man and not God.



This link should assist you with your query in relation to Conservative Jews:

http://www.usy.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/halacha-map.pdf
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