Letters | May 12, 2021


Is it halachic if few observe it?

Regarding Rabbi Sanford H. Shudnow’s May 6 letter, “The driving decision all over again”:
While I doubt that most Conservative or Reform synagogues could survive today if they did not have parking lots, even many Orthodox synagogues would suffer if nobody drove on Shabbat. During the 51 years I have lived in suburban Maryland, I have known many members of Orthodox synagogues who drove to shul but parked one or two blocks away.

The entire concept of being a Shabbat observer has been carried to silly extremes and contradictions like:
• Don’t turn on a light switch, but it is OK to use timers to turn on lights — or to watch a football game.
• Don’t use an elevator unless it stops at every floor so that nobody presses a button.
• Don’t operate a kosher deli seven days a week, unless you make arrangements with a non-Jew to buy the restaurant every Friday evening and return it every Saturday evening (so it isn’t owned by a Jew on Shabbat).

Saying that something is halachic does not make it so when only a tiny minority of the people observe it — and even they make some exceptions.




After legislative session, Jewish groups see some wins, some losses” (April 29) incorrectly referred to the status of Maryland’s anti-bias bill SB220/HB128. The bill passed the Maryland State Assembly.

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