Hi, my wife and 2 little girls were invited by a family friend to attend their monthly synagogue Friday night Davening and meal. We have been invited multiple times and on previous occasions I, was able to come up with an excuse not to attend. However it might start to become obvious that we are avoiding attending their synagogue and preferences . I don’t particularly mind the Friday night meal but I don’t agree with their Davening practices mixed seating and all. On the same note, I must say that I do send my kids to a conservative school and while my wife and I live the school for it’s amazing education and super sweet people we do. Not condone a lot of their preferences and sometimes need to explain things to my 9 yr old that we do differently things at home then what she sees or hears in school. The hosts that keep inviting us are also parents With a daughter in same class. I thought of Davening discreetly outside sanctuary and just seating “around” after while they pray. Please advise. Thank you in advance a confused soul.
Your situation is delicate, but problematic. On one hand you understand that many of the preferences and practices that are going on in the conservative synagogue and school are incorrect, and you correctly don’t like them. It seems to me that you don’t like the level of observance and respect for Jewish values you are seeing in the conservative synagogue, because you are above it and ethically you feel that it is not in the spirit of Jewish values and culture. You are very right, and as a Rabbi I have to tell you that many of the things that you see in the conservative synagogue are halachically wrong and not permitted according to Jewish tradition. Unfortunately, the Conservative movement does not accept the Torah and commandments and they changed from what was given to the Jews as G-d’s word, into a G-d removed, do what you want type of Judaism. Therefore you correctly don’t want to daven inside the synagogue, and really should not even go inside there. There is another issue with attending the Friday night meal, that the food is not going to be kosher, because they don’t accept that part of the Torah. It seems that you have a conflict between your values and this social issue, however the Torah’s unswerving values is the correct thing to do. This does not necessarily have to interfere with your social life and the relationship that you have with your friends. You are merely doing what Torah authentic values obligate a Jew to do.
As a side point, maybe you should consider looking into other schools in your area that have a high educational level, but also have a higher standard of observance, which is more in line with your values. If you need any help with this, let me know and I will be happy to help.
Best Wishes and keep strong