Religion Magazine

Alternative Kabbalat Shabbat in Haifa Set to Upset

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
The coalition of the local government in Haifa has always been a curious one, since the last municipal elections, but Haifa has always been a little different than the rest of the country. In the coalition sits the religious and Haredi parties alongside a Conservative rabbi (Rabbi Dov Hayoun who was famously arrested/detained last summer for performing weddings outside of the Rabbanut), and others.
It looks like whatever working arrangement between the Orthodox and the Conservative was peaceful until now might finally come into conflict.
Alternative Kabbalat Shabbat in Haifa set to upsetThe City of Haifa is sponsoring a series of events in the summer. One of these events is a series of "alternative kabbalat shabbat" events. These will be weekly, starting this Friday, through the beginning of September. It will be held between 18:30 and 20:00 on one of the Haifa beaches and will be run by the pluralistic Bet Tefilla Yisraeli organization. There will be activities for kids along with a musical kabbalat shabbat. This is actually pretty popular and similar events are held in various locations around the country, including in Jerusalem at the First Station complex (though I dont know how frequently).
The Haredi representative in City Hall is upset about this and considers it a breach of the status quo. The event will cause large scale chilul shabbos and should not be sponsored or promoted by the City. The representative of Agudat Yisrael in haifa sent a letter to the mayor, Dr. Einat Kalish, complaining about this and Kalish promised to look into it.
sources: ColBo News, HaiPo, Haskupim
With chilul shabbos always being acceptwed in Haifa, I am not sure how this is breaking the status quo. They have always had buses running on Shabbos there - the only city in Israel to officially allow it. A little bit of singing and guitar playing, most of which will not even be on Shabbos (being that the event ends at 8pm which is not even tzeis yet for most of the summer), does not seem like such a breach in the status quo. I wonder how this will play out. And, it is happening on the beach, not in front of a shul or at a local park, so most of the people there are likely being mechalel shabbos anyway - perhaps such an event will open them up a bit to some traditional Judaism...I think it would be better to turn a blind eye to such an event rather than turn it into a fight.. I guess we will see what happens..
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