Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shul Antics

Emmanuel has written an interesting editorial about the state of Yeshivah Shul. The issues he brings up are just part of the problem of the entire Yeshivah Centre which has been discussed at length here.

While there are a few dedicated people who try to keep things running without expecting pats on the back etc. And while the gabboim are doing a better job than the majority of gabboim in the past, there is still a great lack in a number of areas. The most obvious are lack of leadership and accountability.

I will let Emmanuel say it in his own unique way:


While recently contemplating the myriad of empty seats in the Shul one Shabbos, it occurred to me that the current Shul situation (vis a vis it’s diminishing relevance to people in the general Lubavitch community) has a striking resemblance to a recurring image that I have of the anecdotal Nero who fiddled on the hills overlooking Rome while the city burned!

As more and more people seem to be contemplating what may have been (5 years ago or more) the previously unthinkable idea of davening elsewhere, it befuddles me (I know, that isn’t very difficult to do) that those with the power to make change…resist it so strongly! I suppose this can be considered a “cheftza/gavra” issue…is the moisod the ikar at all costs or is the moisod a reflection of the community that daven there, in that it represents/serves the community (within the confines, of course, of Lubavitch philosophy and minhag)…and never the twain shall meet!

Seemingly, the former has been the direction taken by those that are responsible for the Shul given that the Shul has been neglected for decades to the needs of the Centre in general, and the school in particular!

Is it mind boggling therefore, that those responsible for the Yeshivah Centre (and by extension the Shul) seem to be finally responding to this gradual (and not so gradual) exodus of people from the Shul in a most unique and innovative way…they are again going on a drive to enlist new members for the same old Shul committee!?

Is the brief of these new saviours to represent the Shul and demand the autonomy and respect that the Shul needs as an independent, community moisod or will they continue the current committee traditions to make sure that there is enough herring and gefilte fish for farbrengens, listen patronizingly to mispallel issues that arise from time to time and, maybe be there at 9:30 on Shabbos morning so that the minyan can start on time!

Is this a bold new vision to build on for the future or just fiddling around the edges, trying to placate an ever restless community whose apathy seems to be fast changing to…anger?!

In a time where, dare I say, our Shul seems to feel no more than a venue - 4 walls and a roof where people get together on Shabbos to daven a little in between conversations – those with the wherewithal to make bold and far reaching decisions upon which the future of our congregation can be built, are sitting on the sidelines trying to maintain an increasingly shaky status quo that is spiraling ever downward…like fiddlers on our Shul roof!