If you ask most congregations, they’ll tell you they are the best kept secret in $location. In fact, they shout to the world that they are the best kept secret (as well as being the most friendly, ummm, haimish, congregations around). They think that shouting they are a secret will overcome the fact that nobody knows what they are doing. The truth, of course, is that most congregations fail horribly on publicity (and a large part of that is exacerbated by the Internet, which has gotten rid of flyers and made newspaper ads much less effective). So, to that end, I’d like to do my part over lunch by publicizing some Jewish stuff of interest on my little blog, which most people don’t read anyway (at least judging by the comments).
- Separation of Church and State. The issues concerning separation of church and state are big news. There is the battle over the Satanist statue in Oklahoma, and the LA County Board of Supes just voted to add a cross back into the county seal. Want to learn more about the issue? Come out to Northridge CA this Sunday when Michael Risman of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State will be speaking on “Will the Wall Come Tumbling Down? An Updated Look at Church and State in Los Angeles and Elsewhere”. This is a joint event of $sisterhood and $mens_club at $current_congregation (you can probably figure those out now, but they’re cool to write, so click here for directions), and starts at 10am. There will be a $mens_club business meeting before the talk at 8:45am. Here’s the flyer and the abstract: “The 200+ year experiment of separating Church and State in the United States has been a resounding success by most measures. The political model has been emulated since that time in most all modern democracies and adopted by most UN member nations as a universal human right. And yet, as a front line worker for decades on behalf of the preservation and promotion of the First Amendment, the challenges seem only to have grown exponentially in the US in recent years. With presidential candidates and US Supreme Court judges denouncing the principle, religious groups regularly granted special privileges and shielded by law from accountability, and an array of powerful and well-funded organizations actively seeking to use the power of government to promote their religious ideologies, we may now be facing the strongest challenges to church/state separation in the US today in all of that history.”
- Relationships With the Community. I’ve been talking for a while about $mens_club; here’s an opportunity to meet us. We’re doing a special $mens_club Shabbat service, with a dinner and short presentation beforehand, and the community is invited. The dinner is at 6:15pm and is a Chinese New Years celebration menu (don’t ask me, I didn’t pick the menu) done by one of the congregation’s excellent caterers — in fact, the caterer that did my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah (the caterer is also active in another local Brotherhood, which I think is cool and a way to build a relationship between the two groups). After dinner, there will be a short presentation by moi on $mens_club, followed by the service which will be
performedconducted by members of $mens_club. Visit here to sign up for the dinner.
- The Secret Rabbi. One of the members of $mens_club alerted me to this interesting post in the Jewish Journal with a wish list for the upcoming year. One suggestion was for the great Rabbi exchange: “So, let’s pick one Shabbat a year and call it the Great Exchange — a day when every rabbi in town gets to speak in a different shul.”. Secrets and fears are the main reason this won’t happen. Consider: Everyone is afraid that if their great rabbi speaks in another community, that community will discover him and hire him away. The other community is afraid that if another rabbi speaks, then the people will make like Moses and “exodus” to that Rabbi’s congregation. Therefore, having another rabbi speak only happens when the rabbi lives far enough away for people to not run over there. In doing so, people are keeping their greatest weapon (for good or evil — you decide) secret. They are also demonstrating a fear that their relationships aren’t strong enough. Banks build sticky relationship with customers by entwining themselves throughout their daily lives. Modern congregations are so detached this never happens. We need to make it happen so that we can be confident when we work with other congregations near us.