YM-YWHA to open on the Sabbath
Published Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:04PM EDT
Some members of Montreal's Jewish community are upset that the Sabbath will be broken.
The Board of Rabbis opposes the YM-YWHA opening on Saturdays as of October 31.
But the community centre's Executive Director says it has to change with the times.
"Our responsibility as a Jewish community centre is to make ourselves as available as we can to the broadest cross-section of our community," said Michael Crelinsten.
The decision wasn't an easy one to make.
Twice before, in 1999 and in 2003, the YM-YWHA considered Sabbath openings, but each time the issue was voted down. However, when the issue was brought up again this month, the centre decided it was finally time to open Saturdays.
Rabbi Adam Scheier and other members of the board of rabbis met with the YM-YWHA executive in hopes of reversing the decision and maintaining the sanctity of the Sabbath.
"We strongly disagree with this decision," said Scheier. "It's escaping from the rat race of life or as we put it, from the proverbial treadmill upon which we all run throughout our week."
So as to not interfere with morning services, the YM-YWHA/ Jewish community centres will only open at one o'clock in the afternoon on Saturdays, and there will be no organized programs and no exchange of money.
"The restaurant is closed, the front desk is closed. Nobody who is Jewish will be coerced into working on the Sabbath," said Crelinsten.
Crelinsten says there are many people who are not observant who will use the "Y" on the Sabbath, which is a vew Rabbi Scheier doesn't share.
"We had to agree to disagree on that issue," said Scheier.