Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Kiddush Club, Making Religious Observance Manageable

After more than a year of Jewish community related happy hours and bar nights, which have been called meat markets, and proof that our generation has even assimilated alcoholism, our research brought us to a phenomenon known as 'Kiddish Clubs'.

These 'clubs' are fairly straight forward opportunities to get sloshed, with the added benefit of making a blessing at the same time! Seems like a win-win, right?

The approach reminds me of a scene from Mel Brooks' Robin Hood, Men in Tights:

Robin Hood: Rabbi, you seem to be on the side of good. Will you come and share with us some of your wisdom, some of your council, and perhaps... some of your wine?
[Merry Men snicker]
Rabbi Tuckman: Wisdom and council, that's easy. But this is sacrimental wine! It's only used to bless things.
Merry Men: Awwwww...
Rabbi Tuckman: [pauses] Wait a minute! There's things here! There's rocks, there's trees, there's birds, there's squirrels. Come on, we'll bless them all until we get vashnigyered [drunk]
Rabbi Tuckman: Join me!
Robin Hood: Let's hear it for the Rabbi!

Mel Brooks' Clairvoyance aside, Kiddish Clubs are popping up both in and outside the shul. It's not just skipping out in the middle of the sermon to say a few blessings, and tip back a couple single malts (the default frum favorite), but also informal gatherings after services to continue the merriment.

And Judaism is supposed to be joyful, right? B'Simcha! We leave the fear and shame and original sin to other faiths.

The question this raises, which seems to be the question many are asking, is: Is alcohol the secret ingredient to successful Jewish programming? And, is it a necessary component to get young Jews to show up?

After reading about the Kiddush Club, the answer seems to be 'yes' and not just for young Jews.

Why is Passover the longest continuously observed holiday (and the most observed around the world)? Maybe it has to do with the 4 cups of wine. . . you often have 3 generations getting shikurred up under the same roof.

In fact, alcohol may even be the sorcerer's stone necessary to bring the young and old together (providing everyone has ID).

Jews and Booze have a long history, and alcohol certainly livens up most social, and other, functions. Maybe we can find a positive way to use this simple toxin to bring people together and bridge some of the gaps in the community.

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