Sunday, October 17, 2010

Diverting My Contribution

Each year on Yom Kippur, the congregational president of AKSE makes an appeal for extra funds, which adds about 20K to the synagogue's treasury.  This is the largest fundraiser of each year.  It takes no committees and costs nothing other than the bookeeping and banking costs.  It has been my tradition to write a check for $100, no strings attatched, nothing conditional to the check.  Despite the long precedent, this year the contribution does not go to AKSE but to an organization called Women of the Wall, which our local reform congregation, Beth Emeth, has adopted as their recommended cause.  While I have the good fortune to enjoy sufficient prosperity to write two checks of $100 each, I feel very strongly that this contribution really needs to go from AKSE with me as the conduit.

One of the challenges of observant Judaism has been the ambivalence to what the optimal role for women ought to be.  When our Rabbi came aboard, my wife and I were optimistic that the role for women in the congregation would expand in a meaningful way.   Had the Rabbi opted to take the progress in stages, conduct some experiments and modify what needs to be modified, I would have jumped aboard.  Instead, he made some very trivial decisions that I think reflect a fundamentally limited intellect and marginal gift of Binah from HaShem, the closed the door on further modification citing the authority he has as mara d'atra.  That is not like me at all, where I round on patients every day and correct yesterday's errors as I go.  Judaism as I understand it takes a dim view of victimizing people without recourse.  Our women are doomed to mediocrity without prospect of reversal.  The Women of the Wall still have an upside.  That is where my money goes.  It cannot also go to support impropriety on my own home front.

While I think Derech Eretz would have me simply toss my AKSE pledge card into the recycling bin and write a check to Women of the Wall, my wife put a condition on the diversion.  I would also have to write to the congregational President and explain to him in Jewish terms why the Women of the Wall are of superior worthiness.

No comments: