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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Shul Politics- Strange days indeed.

Somehow I've managed to be a member of my Shul for 9 years and remain blissfully unaware of Shul politics - well, the party's over now.

A lot of strange things have been happening in my community and my Shul that have caused me to rethink my pollyanna like view of the region in which I live.

#1 Over Peasach the Rabbi spoke out against some sort of invitation only, secret minyan (the first rule of the minyan is that you don't talk about the minyan...) which bills itself as orthodox but has female baali tefilla, and no psak giving them a heter to do so. This local minyan was allegedly organized by former leadership of the Shul itself giving the normally liberal Rabbi an acute attack of Rabbonus.

#2 The next week the Rabbi chastised the congregation for talking about his speech too much around town (guilty!)

#3 A new, much hyped, kosher restaurant opened up in town with great fanfare only to assured by the Vaad the following morning. My sephardic friends claim it's a vast ashkenazi conspiracy, my askenazi friends say he refused to comply and kicked the mashgiach out of his restaurant. I have no idea what is true.

All of these matters have little or nothing to do with me, but now even I am being sucked into the vortex that is Shul politics.

I have been asked to chair a project for our Shul. This would be fine except that there is already a head of this committee (under whose jurisdiction this project should be) who was NOT asked join the project. I am now stuck in the middle between the committee head (who has now quit) and the Shul's president who asked me. In addition now people feel it is an excellent time to call me at all hours and speak lashon hara about various Shul officers and board members with whom they do not agree and want ME to do something about it.

What on earth can I do!?

I'm sorrier by the hour than I said yes to this project, and yet I feel like I am well qualified to do the job asked of me and I do want what is best for the Shul, despite all the ugliness I am now privy too. Not withstanding, next time I'll say no.


At 10:52 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

Oooh. Sucks to be you with the project deal. There is no goos way to handle this situation. But you'll come up with something! You're AskShifra!

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oiy. I'm so worried about the same things. I think top priority is to say, 'The Lashon Hara Stops Here!'

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good advice Mirty, and I'd like to do that but really these people (for the most part) are not doing it malaciously. They really want to see improvement in the shul and do to so they feel like they need to address the shul's problems. Sadly most of these "problems" are actually "other people".
I try to steer the person to talk about ideas rather than people but it's tough.
I feel for you Mirty. Good luck!

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh PS that Bowie reference was a nod to you!

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg) said...

Whoa... good luck dealing with it!
Have you heard anything more about this secret minyan? Is it Shira Hhadasha style, by any chance?

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really know much about since it's such a secret society.
From what the Rabbi said it seems to bill itself as egalitarian orthodox or something like that.

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifra - without getting into it - there were some very good reasons why the hashgacha was pulled. I assure you it was for kashruth reasons only (I know that an anonymous post like this basically will not assure anyone - but I felt like it was worth a shot anyway). Good luck with the shul stuff - hope you figure out a good way to handle it - and, if you do, please share it with us!

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon- I'm sure there were very good reasons, I've heard a few and any one of them would have been reason enough to pull the hashgacha.

I trust the Vaad, it's just so weird that's all.


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