It turned out differently than my crystal ball envisioned. Last year AKSE at springtime introduced some unexpected discord when the Rabbi ruled that women may read Shir HaShirim and Ruth from the bimah. The Talibans of the Ritual Committee objected, two walked out as the Cantor would have as well were the holders of his contract insistent that he stay. As it turned out the principal reader was ill and the Cantor would not fulfill his paid role, a position the Rabbi supported. Irene saved the morning, the Rabbi cashed in some of my respect points that morning and for some time thereafter. This year Irene was not invited so I just assumed the Talibans took it upon themselves to circumvent the Rabbi's ruling by only inviting men. Not so. They didn't make provisions to have it read at all. Our President has a very distorted view of what the broad representation of AKSE means. There is small cadre of participants that make the place go, except financially where large checks need to be solicited from people who consume very little synagogue activity in return for their consumer purchase. While I find the unrestrained intervention of three born-again BT's to be quite disruptive to future growth, their absence would collapse some very basic current activities like daily minyanim or having all the parts of shabbat and yom tovim conducted in a traditional way. The Rabbi falls short in his leadership role by not making provisions for the conduct of AKSE that have broader appeal and deter some of the baggage that these disproportionately active individuals bring aboard, irrespective of their current value to the immediate operations.
I received word indirectly that the Ritual Chairman/ Gabbai will be stepping down. He served his role with dedication and of the four was by far the most sensitive to the broader sentiments of the congregation.