Tonight, the new officers of my synagogue will be installed, during our regular erev Shabbat (Sabbath evening) services. I will attend and wish them well.
As a corollary, my sentence as an officer and board member is up.
On the whole, my service in lay leadership has been a net plus for the shul. But to be honest about it, just barely.
It's also been the most severe test of my faith in my adult life.
I derive the most satisfaction when I'm tutoring students who need some help pronouncing or chanting the blessings they will lead at their bar/bat mitzvah.
Also from singing unabashedly during worship.
Even from schlepping furniture, housewares, pots, pans, shoes, kitchen appliances, children's toys and unrecognizable lumps to help set up for our annual "Treasures and Junque" flea market-style fundraiser, last weekend with Monkeyboy.
(He and two other very good kids helped set up the children's toy and stuffed animal area. And he understands he's not too young to do a mitzvah).
I walk away from this experience with enormous admiration for the clergy, professional staff and lay leaders I've been working with. (In one case, where I started out skeptical, I walk away in a state of near hero-worship.)
But some time will have to elapse before my taste for participation in synagogue governance returns. Maybe a lot of time.
The issues and attitudes I've confronted have unsettled me, right down to my bones.
I'm thrilled with the Jewish education Monkeyboy's getting in 2 hour increments, twice/week.
I'm thrilled on Saturday mornings when a bar/bat mitzvah demonstrates hard work in having prepared to lead worship and hard thought in having prepared to teach the congregation about the Torah portion (s)he's just read, in his/her short D'var Torah.
With the alleged adults, I'm less thrilled.
The most interesting dilemmas I've confronted must, of necessity, remain confidential. Mostly out of respect for others. Occasionally, out of embarrassment. And always, because it's not fair to air one side of a story where folks with competing viewpoints have no opportunity to respond.
Throughout the Exodus narrative --- from our miraculously escaping Egypt at the Sea of Reeds, to the Revelation at Sinai, to the 40 years of wandering in the desert to the conquest of Zion --- G-d calls us a "stiff-necked" and "arrogant" people.
Smart Deity, that Almighty. Must have had some experience dealing with the governance of houses of worship.
Because my friends who serve as Elders or Deacons or whatever title their particular denomination uses, tell the same exact stories.