Been a while. I was laid up with a nasty bug that has been making its way through the synagogue staff, and then I’ve been trying to catch up. In that scramble blogging tends to slide down the priority scale as you struggle to do what needs to be done that day (or sometimes that hour) with some modicum of competence. Sometimes that is all you can hope for, just that the wheels don’t fall off, that the bus somehow shuffles along from point A to point B and arrives with everyone safely seated. Maybe it wasn’t the most memorable trip, the most dazzling or mind-bending or life-changing, but you did help folks move a little ways down the road.
Which brings me to this past weekend. A series of days that really only happens in the context of large congregational life. From Friday to Sunday we had two funerals (one Friday afternoon, one Sunday afternoon), and four b’nai mitzvah (two Saturday morning, one Saturday evening, one Sunday morning). Oh yes, and a Friday night dinner for the scholar in residence. Of course two eulogies must be written somewhere in there, charges composed for the bar and bat mitzvah students, the services themselves conducted with their various liturgical complications.
It all came together fairly well. We’ve got a good team, the staff works hard, everyone pitches in, does their job, contributes. There are little glitches here and there, but for the most part we are the only ones who notice them. After all, most of the people who came through our doors over the weekend are so far out of their element in the synagogue they hardly know what is correct or incorrect anyway. That being said, we do take pride in what we do, and we are professionals, perhaps not always the most complimentary word, but there is something to be said for it. Sometimes simply getting the names right is a victory in and of itself.
Not that we don’t have moments of nahas. We truly do feel proud of the kids, of how hard they work, how much they put into it. It might be a blur for us, particularly in a weekend when we are going from family to family to family. (Please, God, help us get the names right!) But for the families, particularly for the students, we hope they’ve had a positive experience that will stay with them for many years. Perhaps even a formative Jewish moment that will in some mysterious way help to shape who they are as people and as Jews as they grow into adulthood.
That is a future hope. Sometimes it can also be a reward in the present. We have to hope for both.