Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Must... find.... time.... to... blog.

Boy, was it busy today. Not to blow my own horn (honk, honk) but I don't think I've missed blogging on a regular weekday since I began writing regularly, back on erev Tisha b'Av. The streak is intact, but barely.

The big news in our neighborhood, as hinted last week, is this: The shteeble is establishing a Board of Directors. This is something new under the sun. Shteebles don't have boards, not when the shteeble is right inside the Rabbi's house, as in our case. When the Rabbi owns the building he makes all the decisions, and keeps all the money. The model is something like a small business, with honor and seats being the primary products, except a Rabbi usually gets more respect than a shopkeeper.

Have you ever seen Do the Right Thing? The riot starts when Buggin' Out is offended that Sal has only photos of Italians in the wall of his pizzeria. He wonders why there isn't a black face up there. Sal tells him to open his own store and put up anyone he wants. One answer to Sal is that he's kept in business by the black people who buy his pizza. An answer to that is that we see no black-owned businesses on the street, and if it were not for Sal the residents would have no place to buy pizza. And around and around we go.

Our situation is not dissimilar. The Rabbi, for example, wants to say yotzros; the people, mostly, do not. The Rabbi wants to read from the Torah and the Megillah and serve as chazzan on holidays and special shabbatos; the people, mostly, dislike his voice and the way his Hasidic accents distorts the sound and sometimes the meaning of Hebrew words.

The people say, we pay the bills. The Rabbi says keep your money and go elsewhere. The people say we have no where else to go. (This, to be precise, is a lie. There is a nearby shul, and other places to pray in the next neighborhood. But none of those places daven sefard, and for these people Modern Orthodox shul is impossible.)

Some of the Rabbis close supporters think a board can make the peace. I doubt it. For us, complaining is sport. But we shall see.


So what exactly would your board do? I assume there would be a treasurer, but will you now have memberships? Boards are set up to run synagogues, not shteebles. For example, our board has a President and a number of Vice Presidents (for education, programming, ritual, membership, facilities, administration, finance) as well as a secretary, treasurer, a couple of "members at large" and a seat for the past president.

They're in charge of hiring rabbis and making their contracts (not something your board needs to do)

They approve new members (doesn't sound like something your board needs to do)

They recruit new members...they manage the office (I assume you have no office)

So I'm befuddled. What will your Board do? Is it being formed in response to certain events or complaints? Do the "members" just want a board so they can tell the rabbi what to do?



To establish a board is the idea of the Rabbi, or of his close advisors. I don't know what the baord will do, not yet anyway. Stay tuned.  
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