“Said Raba son of Rabbi Hanan to Abaye, ‘What is the law?’ ‘Go,’ the other told him, ‘and see what the people are doing.’ –Babylonian Talmud, Eruvin 14b
TBH is very mindful of the importance of communal life in the lived experience of Judaism. A Jewish community is more than the sum of its parts. It is not simply a group of Jews, but a group of Jews that seeks to create something larger than itself. Thus we aim to create a standard of communal practice that is not merely reflective of the practice of a majority of members, nor one that seeks to impose an outside standard on the membership. Rather we strive to find a common ground on which the tradition and the community and its members meet. Our minhag (custom/practice) is continually evolving.
Ritual policies are proposed by the Ritual Committee and approved by the Board. By virtue of his/her office, the Rabbi is a member of the Ritual Committee. Other appointments to the Ritual Committee are made by the Temple Beth Hatfiloh president. Any member in good standing is eligible for appointment.
Ritual decision making at TBH is based in Jewish values. We use tradition and halacha (Jewish law) as starting points, but we are not necessarily bound by them. We incorporate contemporary mores and insights, and emphasize democratic participation through study, reflection and deliberation.
Hopefully, ritual policies serve not only as guides for our communal practice, but a tool for individual members to learn about and deepen their commitment to the sacred traditions of the Jewish people.