Anti-Declamation League Gains Support At Synagogues Across North America

When Phil Gross started a petition at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Indianapolis, he had no idea he’d sparked a revolution. “I just spoke my mind and took action,” he explained. “I had no idea so many people agreed with me.”

What’s the issue? “Announcements at services,” explained Gross. “They go on forever! And if that weren’t bad enough, they’re all written down on the Temple bulletin that’s handed out on Friday nights. So why do we need someone to stand up in front of the congregation for ten minutes, reading them out loud?”

Ted Klein, a board member at the St. Joseph Jewish Center in Missouri, heard about the campaign through Facebook. “I was thrilled, because I related immediately. Our synagogue sends out the announcements by email and then prints them for distribution at services. What’s the point of sitting through them being declaimed at Shabbat services – and badly, besides? That why I founded the Anti-Declamation League.”

That sentiment is not shared by everyone, though. Alexander Grossmacher, president of Congregation Kavod v’Tiferet in Kenilworth, Illinois, explained, “One reason I agreed to become president of my synagogue is that I get to read the announcements. That, and the fact that I get to sit in a big fancy chair on stage during services.”

Asked her view of the controversy, Judy Koenig, the president of the Amalgamated Rabbis Union, commented, “These views and those views are the words of the living God.”

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