The Schmooze

The Vanishing Synagogue Bulletin Board

Crossposted From Under the Fig Tree

The recent volley of Jewish holidays — so rich in activity — didn’t leave much room for thinking about absence. What with a seemingly non-stop round of marketing, cooking, eating and shul-going, the opportunity to take note – and stock – of something missing all too easily got lost in the festive shuffle.

But now that things have resumed their normal course, it’s hard for me to think of anything else, from the absence of the occasional worshipper who would pop in and out of the sanctuary just in time for yizkor to the disappearance of the synagogue bulletin board.

My Forward column acknowledges and, in its own way, salutes the former. Here I’d like to give the latter its due.

For years, well before emails and other forms of digital communications colonized the contemporary Jewish world, congregants and passers-by alike would know what was going on within their local synagogue simply by glancing at an exterior bulletin board. Whether bolted to the ground or fixed to an outside wall, this metal-framed object — close kin to a movie marquee — featured such critical tidbits of information as the names of the presiding clergy and the times when services were being held. It also announced a forthcoming bar or bat mitzvah or a special Kiddush.

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The Vanishing Synagogue Bulletin Board

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