Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quest for Mediocrity

Sometimes the quest is a relentless one.  In both my medical world and my Jewish one this pursuit emreges in a variety of ways.

Having divested myself of all AKSE Committees except Education, last night I undertook my remaining contribution, which includes setting up a night of learning and arranging a visiting scholar, both works in progress.  The committee decided we wanted a woman, as we had never had one, and I decided that we would capitalize on that talent to advance our women who have already reached Mediocrity's Promised Land and share it with the Lotus Eaters who now aspire to nothing else.  I wanted our rising star in the learned observant Jewish world to worship with our women, if only to get them to elevate themselves for the purpose of having the guest think well of them.  The response of the chair was just the opposite, to shield our women from having to move themselves along for any reason.  It does not matter if I was able to bring cutting edge Orthodox Judaism to the Orthodox Pretenders, it disturbs the mission of stable mediocrity.  So does requiring that all programs, without exception, undergo scheduled periodic assessment to determine future upgrades.

Having the seat on the Board of  Governors reserved for laytzanos, I was equally disheartened by the Executive Committee report.  Not only do they think they can make membership grow by dumbing us down and finding the niche gimmicks that portend the destruction of United Synagogue Jewry within the next generation, but they take the erroneous view that advancement should not be forced upon people.  Friday night services are sparsely attended for a variety of reasons.  I find them strikingly unattractive and go elsewhere as a destination at the start of each shabbat.  But I they get ten men and can check the boxes that all prayers were recited, then there is no reason to make the service attractive to anyone else.  If they get nine, there is still no reason to make the service attractive to anyone else, just recruit a tenth and leave things be.

Sometimes the quest for mediocrity is indeed relentless.   

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