Mothers and Daughters and Shiurim and Pettiness
Okay, Shifra, here's my question!
I am setting up a shiur for mothers and daughters. One of the mothers, who helped me organize it, told me she doesn't want to have anything to do with a mother of one of the girls in our daughters' class. I don't know why and don't want to know. This has been going on for several months. She told me that if the other girl and her mother participate, she will drop out. I had mentioned it to the other girl's mother long before the shiur became a reality, but I didn't follow up and the shiur is taking place soon. I know my friend is being immature, but I don't have the guts to tell her so. I'll feel bad if she drops out because she helped me so much in setting it up. I figure it's a matter of time before the second mother finds out and calls me to ask if she can join. For the record, I set it up so there would be girls from several different schools so not all the mothers in the class know about it (but most do). Help please!
Mother of a daughter
Dear Mother of a Daughter-
Oy Vey that's confusing!
To sum up you have a mom with issues (we'll call her Pettimom) helping you set up the shuir but if a mom she doesn't like (we'll call her Cluelessmom) gets involved, you think Pettimom will bail on you. That's a crummy situation and I don't envy you for being stuck in the middle.
Although my advice to you may be too late to help you this time around, hopefully this experience will not put you off of volunteering on other projects in the future (for the record I think a mother-daughter shuir sounds great!) and maybe it will come in handy next time.
Firstly, stay out of it, but speak your piece- You said "I don't know and I don't want to know" I think that's the right attitude but at the same you can't really condone that kind of attitude and not expect to run into problems. While I fully understand your desire not to confront this woman you have to let her know that this pettiness doesn't fly with you. You don't need to be judgmental either just state the facts.
Pettimom: I'd love to help out with the shiur but I will NOT work with clueless mom.
You: I'd love your help, but please understand that all the mothers are invited to help.
In this way you can let her know that her help is welcome but you are not going to get involved with her personal politics. Don't let the conversation continue either. Try to work with her but if it becomes impossible then she will just have to step back.
Pettimom: Well I really can't work with that woman!
You: Understood, then maybe you'd like to do some sort of independent task like sending out flyers or setting up the room.
Pettimom: I really don't want to be involved if clueless mom will be there.
You: That's your choice but I need to invite the whole class, you understand.
That "you understand" comes from a Rebbitzen I know. She told me that adding "you understand" to the end of a statement which clearly will not be understood initially by the listener will force them to pause and consider what you have just said.
Once your friend considers that you really have no choice she will make *her* choice one way or the other, and you will have done the best you can to bring her around.
Lastly, If this woman quits because she is unable to get along with another woman for the sake of setting up a shiur you have NO reason to feel badly. Class activities and torah learning are two activities that are definitely not meant to be exclusive. If someone chooses to miss out over petty issue, or an inability to resolve conflicts you cannot be responsible for that.