Originally Posted by mtiger
Given that the churches I attend have no pews, and perhaps a dozen chairs (if that, and most of them are donations), it really isn't a big expense *where I go*. Not saying it isn't elsewhere.
Just on a final explanatory note - I can see how "pay to pray" may have come across poorly, and I did read the posts about those who still attended w/o being required to pay. Thing is, there are people (and I count myself among them) who simply wouldn't be comfortable with showing up w/o a ticket. I would stay home and pray there.
Judaism is a much different religion. And I think there are major and minor subtleties you (general you) may be missing.
In some shuls, people pay membership/dues/whatever it is called and with that they get their HH tickets. So it's part of your dues.
BUT, if you can't afford dues, then you can just buy the HH tickets, or speak to the Rabbi about another means of exchange.
Another thing is that there is usually only one service for each part. Places are packed BEYOND anything I ever saw in my C'ian upbringing. (And my parents are very religious C'ians.)
They need to have a head count. Make sure they can meet the fire code. Make sure there are enough seats. One year our little bitty shul actually had to have people wait outside the door b/c there wasn't enough room to meet fire code.
Yet another issue is safety. Tickets ensure that you are supposed to be there, that you aren't there to say, blow up a bomb. (Again I see churches with police officers to manage the traffic and parking. But it's not too common around here to see them actually checking people to see if they are supposed to be there.) Here Jewish schools have fences around them that could withstand the impact of a bomb. We have a police officer checking people's stickers to come into the school with their cars. We can't bring bags etc into certain events and walk through metal detectors.
While yes, you can find churches where these things are necessary, it isn't the majority. Whereas for almost every Jewish congregation I have been to, this is the NORM.
I do know that churches are open more often than merpk is representing....this is something maybe she doesn't know by virtue of never being C'ian. BUT. It remains that it is different use of facilities in many ways.
Primarily, the way our observance of holidays and Shabbat is structured, it requires a more intensive use of facilities.
For example: there isn't the option of turning off the lights or a/c or heating during these times b/c we can't mainipulate those things at all during holidays and Shabbat. Sure we can set timers, but at home if a light doesn't come on, it's not usually a big deal. In the shul---it might be a huge deal. Same with the a/c or the heating. People WALK all that way in the heat or cold. They need to be cool or warm inside.
I know at my parents very large United Methodist congregation that they have different buildings in use at different times, and they are able to constantly manipulate the "environment" so that they can save money---like the lights in the bathroom being on automatic detection or the water facets. Again, it's a more affluent community, so this makes a difference. None the less, it remains different.
If someone C'ian forgets to get enough grape juice/wine for communion, someone can go out and buy it.
If someone observantly Jewish forgets, then either you have to get it from someone's house and hope there is an eruv (a way to carry), or .... hope there is something else to make Kiddush over.
Yet another example: in a shul I was visiting once, there was a tzedakah (money for charity) box left on the bimah (the giant lecturn that opens up like a desk where we place the Torah to be read). This was on Shabbat, and the bimah cannot be used w/money sitting on it. Plus, we cannot MOVE money on Shabbat. So what to do? They had to find a way to do this so the service could start w/o breaking halacha.
Had this been at my parents church, anyone could have just picked it up and moved it.
It would be a non-issue.
But b/c of different ways of observance, major and minor, this is a huge issue were it to happen in a synagogue.
So back to the issue of tickets for RH and YK. They just are part of the way Jews do things. It isn't wrong. And it isn't paying to pray. It IS different. But there is are several reasons. And no, I don't personally think it's easy to understand from an "outside the community" perspective. I remember being very very surprised myself when I learned this.