Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Opting Out

A broadcast notice arrived in my email on the AKSE's new mentoring program with an invitation to attend an orientation led by a Federation person on how to do this.  I RSVP'd my preference to sit this program out.  I do not think this decision violates my goal of dealing with people in a gracious way. 

Socializing people this way has had extremely poor results for the two large organizations that did this, Federation and United Synagogue.  It tends to alienate the most creative elements, the visionaries that are needed most while reinforcing loyalty to the status quo as the ultimate value.  Inbreeding brings forth a lot of recessive, dysfunctional genes, as I found out with the High Holiday Honorees of the Education Committee undermining my AKSE Academy plans and dismissing out of hand any creative comment I bring to the meeting.   Eventually you end up with selective attrition.  Organizations like AKSE and USCJ affiliates that really need to be transformed to serve its constituents cannot be transformed when everyone is taught to think alike.  You get oddities like the Rabbi contract discussion where the aphorism of the "four ables" which should be the essence of discussion never gets to the table.

A much better way to accomplish this goal of integrating new members into the structure would be to designate a host or two as resource.  Izzy served that role but has never been replaced.  The host can then distribute individuals to others of special talent and interest.  Of the new member list that the Board distributed for this mentoring project, very few of the people were really new.  I'm not sure what benefit they want to derive from their return or from their newly independent membership.  The few new members and real talents, maybe three from that list, can be developed but I think they would inevitably contribute in a less structured format.

Sometimes I prefer to be an observer more than a participant.

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