Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thinking things through

As I mention in my glossary, I belong to a number of prayer communities--My Minyan1, My Minyan2, and My Shul. Last night I was talking online with one of the leaders of My Minyan2 [note to self: try to keep straight which is 1 and which is 2], and he asked a question that I need to answer. I am going to think though the issue here, and if you have any feedback, please don't be shy.

First, a bit of background, that probably isn't at all relevant to the issue at hand, but I might as well share. When I finished law school and was deciding where to live, I chose Big City specifically because of My Minyan1. I had been involved in the leadership for years until I stepped down from my most recent position about a month and a half ago. About two years ago, My Minyan2 was formed by a few friends of mine. The distinctions between the two minyanim and My Shul are in the philosophies/worldviews that drive the practices of each with respect to women's participation. Even though my worldview is more in line with that of My Minyan1, I started to have other issues with the community and, with the existence of My Minyan2, don't "need" My Minyan1 so much anymore.

So, all that on the table: my friend asked me last night if I wanted to be on the leadership of My Minyan2. In context, his question didn't appear reasoned. "Leah [a pseudonym, of course] seems annoyed about something that happened after services. Were you there?" [Note that the friend I was talking to was visiting his family in another Big City, so hadn't been at services.] I explained that Leah was the only leadership person who was there to help clean up afterwards. My friend's response was basically "the other leadership is a waste; do you want to be on the leadership?" Well of course I didn't think he was serious, especially because at various transition points in the past he hasn't asked me and has even had conversations with me where it is clear that I didn't have the "qualifications" that they were looking for.

He followed up, however, saying that my name HAS come up in recent conversations about leadership, and that the question is serious. The question is, am I interested.

I have a number of reasons for saying "no." Setting aside the major issue for a moment, it sounds like there are some serious teamwork problems on the current leadership, and I don't know that I want to join that. Then there's the issue that I've been leadership-free for only a month and a half and I had reasons for stepping down from that position other than philosophical ones.

And there's the BIG one: I have no idea when, or if, or for how long, I will be responsible for a kiddo. And I don't know what that will do to my ability to do "business" things in the evening, or to make it to services on time or even regularly, or if I'll have the kiddo with me when I do go to services, so I feel it would be irresponsible of me to take on this responsibility.

But there are reasons to say "yes," as well, though I don't think they outweigh the reasons to say "no." And these reasons are 1. I don't want the community to implode due to problems with the current leadership, and 2. I really do feel committed to the community and want to do my part (and 3. I feel honored to be asked).

So there we are. I promised my friend an email so I might just copy this and send it to him. And like I said above, if you have any insight, feel free to share.

1 comment:

  1. I was very active in our temple prior to doing foster care. Then, a number of things happened that caused us to drift away. Some were related to foster care and some weren't, but I can honestly say that there are a lot of things that make a leadership position difficult if you are parenting (especially single parenting) a non-Jewish child.