To the Exurbs- Changing Denominations Again

Nancy Ammerman notes that 44% of Protestants in America change their denomination twice in their lives. The majority change it at least once. In her description of Golden Rule Believers, which I discussed below, she noted that “When people of all ages talked about being dissatisfied with a church, it was rarely over doctrinal disagreements, but often over the failure of a congregation to care for someone in need.” If people feel outside the family of the congregation they fund a new home. Jews are not identical to Protestants, however the point is that people move denominations not just once in life, but many change their denomination twice. Here is a recent story heard from another person.

“I know a man in his 50’s who grew up in what he calls a Conservadox congregation, which is one of the main NYC Orthodox congregations.” [editor’s note- that shul would firmly consider itself a bastion of Centrist Orthodox.]

“He moved out to the suburbs in line where he helped build a new synagogue similar to his vision of his old synagogue. He raised his kids there. Now, he and his wife are sick of Orthodoxy, he finds the very synagogue that he helped build is not hospitable anymore. He does not like the narrowness and judging. And he finds all the classes from the Center form the Jewish Future of YU completely irrelevant and a turn off.” (They have targeted this congregation for fund-raising and may not realize that they might be having the opposite effect in some cases.)

“ So, he and his wife are moving out to an exurb, far from an Orthodox shul, to be semi-retired. The implication is that he will now either drive to the Conservative congregation. He might occasionally drive to an Orthodox one”. Eventually, he might be part of a group that starts an Orthodox synagogue there. If there is a population study in 2010, he will be listed as having left Orthodoxy. “And, as a successful and wealthy professional, because they are annoyed, their charitable donations will not go to Orthodox institutions.”

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