Thursday, August 19, 2004

Continued from yesterday

OMJs treasure order. It's cultural. For example:

1 - In the shteeble you can be sitting at your table thinking your thoughts, and dreaming your dreams when - surprise! - you're suddenly called up for maftir. There's no warning, not even a perfunctory, "Heads up, you're about to get maftir." The shul, on the other hand, telephones on Monday to offer the honor, and again, on Friday, to confirm.

2 - In shul, the people wait until davening is done before hauling out the kugle and single malt. In the shteeble, people look to fres the moment the mussaf kedusha ends. In some shteebles the food is actually served the moment the mussaf kedusha ends.

3 - The cultural differences stretch to baseball. When I play with the shul guys, we have a set batting order, and though no one yells about errors, you're still expected to know the fundamentals. The shteeble guys just bat whenever they feel like it, and believe that fundamentals are for the anal-retentive.

Still, I could not believe the shul would insist on playing by the book when a neighbor is in trouble. I was determined to see for myself.

I call on the shul president, and tell him about the GT's email. "Would you be willing to send it out under your own name," I ask.

"Well, the bylaws won't allow for appeals," he says. (This is true. There is not even a yizkor appeal.) "But if you want, you could distribute the email as a private citizen."

"I could," I answer, "but the shul's endorsement would give it some weight."

The shul president is a good man, and a good lawyer. He smiles. "We can't endorse this solicitation without speaking to the beneficiary first. Ask him to come to us. We'll see what we can do."

"I can't ask him to speak to you. I don't know who it is myself."

"Oh." He smiles again. "So how can you endorse him yourself? Are you willing to put your name on the line if it turns out to be an exaggeration, or worse, a fraud?"

Good point. So, now it is back to the GT, for some facts. And yes, I am beginning to feel like a ping-pong ball.

(To be continued)

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As my mom always says, "no good deed goes unpunished"  
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