Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My two cents in WH

I just wanted to share my thoughts, as I commented on another blog about a controversy I think has become a great embarrassment.

I don’t care to comment on my personal opinion regarding whether the shul’s announcer may be a woman (other than to applaud Sharon for stirring things up), but I would like to comment on Rabbi Schnaidman.

I’ve known him for four years. Not a lot, but significantly longer than many of the current mitpallelim/ot at our shul (I’m one of the geezers of the younger cohort). I’ve had many personal and private discussions with him over this time regarding life in general as well as nuanced halakhic issues pertaining both to bein adam l’chavero and laMakom (sometimes both at once). These were usually not black or white, yes/no, muttar/assur issues.

Sadly, many figures of religious authority I’ve encountered in the past have withdrawn from taking an unequivocal stance and accepting responsibility for their answers, or they have so diluted the matter with superficial hashkafic platitudes.

Rabbi Schnaidman never backed down from tough issues and sought, with great sensitivity and gravity, to find appropriate solutions that would maintain people’s dignity and rights, and especially his commitment to halakha. I have been repeated impressed by the creativity he draws upon to reach such solutions.

That many of you were not satisfied with his logic does not mean he is old-fashioned, inconsiderate, or obdurate. He recognizes the inherent challenges in leading a shul comprised of very different populations and has taken great pains to foster the spiritual & personal devlopment, comfort, and acceptance of each, though such effort has often been fraught with conflict.

He is not perfect, but he is sincere and sensitive to the individuals that comprise the kehillah. I know first-hand the angst he experiences when he feels that someone may have been slighted or excluded within the context of his shul (and the hospital to which he devotes so much of his energy).

My only disappointment with the recent influx of new members of this community (of which I am part) is that so many see him only as “the old guy who gives really long drashot and seems kinda out of touch with us” and don’t appreciate the opportunity they have to be part of his flock.

I know I probably got a little too worshipful of the good Rabbi, but I guess I had a point to emphasize. This incident has been very upsetting to me, and people don't seem to have any הכרת הטוב for what has been accomplished in this community, much of it with the support of Rabbi Schnaidman. Of course, before recognition, one must be aware of the good that was done.

How many of the מתלוננים were even in this community to remember when the young people had their own minyan in the basement, once a month? How many of them appreciate how far out on a limb the Rabbi went to make the eruv a reality, how much indignation from others in the community he will have to still absorb even after we've moved on in two or three years?

Someone commented to me cynically that these dissatisfied youth should seek a younger, more progressive Rabbi and go to the Bridge Shul. Of course, no one really goes there anymore because the shul was not willing to make the accomodations Mt. Sinai and its leader have made.

These events have reinforced for me how alienated by the younger community I feel here. T and I have been talking about moving for a while, but never got our act together. It's time to move on.

No comments:

Post a Comment