Monday, February 20, 2017

Bar Mitzvah Crasher

"The board made me come here and give you this."

The President of a congregation went to visit the Rabbi in the hospital, who had just suffered a mild heart attack. He said, "Rabbi, the board just voted 10 to 4 to wish you a speedy recovery.”

This joke reminds the SJG of my brief stint as a temple board member. It was years ago, but I can still remember the boredom and discomfort as if it were yesterday. How did the SJG wind up on the board of my temple? Good question. I must have had a momentary lapse of judgment. Someone called and asked, "Hey, you want to be on the board?" And, for some unknown reason, I said, "Oh, um.. sure?"  It was only a year, but it felt like five. Before I knew it, I was in charge of this and that. I was running the Purim carnival. I was begging for volunteers. I was attending temple functions when I wanted to be home. And what was that about discomfort? Board members were expected to crash a bar or bat mitzvah, just show up and say something like this: "Hello there, I'm a board member. You've never met me. I've never met you. But they're forcing me to share this important event in your child's life, whether you want me  here or not. And the reward is a lovely certificate to the gift shop, and a silver kiddush cup. Don't worry, I'm not staying for the party, unless you really want me to." My chosen family was in the midst of a nasty divorce. Can you say awkward? They hated me instantly and wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole, or at least take a limb or two, so that the board could then vote on whether to wish me a speedy recovery.

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