Friday, November 11, 2005

Dog at the bima

A tail out of shul:

Sun-Sentinel:

Q. I converted to Judaism, feeling strongly that this was the right path for me, but I'm disturbed by my synagogue's views on allowing my guide dog, Emmy, to accompany me up to the bima (the raised area) while I recite the Torah blessing or give a sermon. It's apparently not kosher in our synagogue to allow animals on the bima because "they are not holy," or because, "other folks might be upset" if my dog accompanied me.
These seem like flimsy excuses to me. Perhaps I'm all wrong, but I believe G-d created my dog, so she cannot be unacceptable! I, personally, think she's just as "holy" as I am. Or is it really true that I can't have my dog lead me to the bima ever? Is this situation true in all Jewish houses of worship? -- P., via e-mail
A. The God Squad is not only on your side, but God is also on your side. We read God's word regarding your situation and urge you to read these words to the morons who run your synagogue (of course, we mean "morons" in the most loving sense of the word).The Book of Leviticus, Chapter 19, verse 14 states: "You shall not curse the deaf nor place a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God -- I am your Lord." By preventing Emmy from accompanying you to the bima, the leaders at your synagogue are literally placing a stumbling block in front of you, in direct violation of the word of God.
We often encounter churches and synagogues that pervert and distort the word of God, and it's always painful to hear some new example of discrimination in a religious institution. Fortunately, the vast majority of houses of worship in our country offer a safe and welcoming shelter in the storm of life.
Moses was a shepherd, and that's why he was chosen to lead; the people in your synagogue are sheep, and that's why they were not.

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 12:24 PM

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