Thursday, August 4, 2011


New stationery for AKSE with the name of the newly hired cantor on the letterhead.  The first mailing was to tell the truth about the now former cantor's departure.  Rumors have a way of getting around.  No, he was not fired but submitted his resignation with six month's notice and fulfilled his professional expectations to the final day.  He will need a minyan and has to assemble it from somewhere or find one already functioning if he does not wish to attend the one at AKSE.  Nobody will chase him away if he shows up.  I hope nobody will expect him to provide his skills for free if he does come.

Apparently there are rumors that AKSE terminated the Cantor and rumors that he is in the process of siphoning AKSE's talented members.  I must be on the B-list since I've not been invited to join him and heard nothing to the effect of an involuntary departure, though word of these things has reached me indirectly over a considerable distance.  To squash this the President sent out a broad mailing to the congregation, copied to the presidents and Rabbis of all the area synagogues and the Federation.  I think the content of the letter is accurate, whether worth the mailing costs to the congregation might be more questionable.

The On-Line Smicha program apparently goes in stages by topics.  I surmise from all this that the module containing the principles of Genevah or stealing has not yet been tackled.  Leaving a false impression like being terminated when reality is an unsolicited decision to quit would fall into the category  of Genevat Da-at or literally stealing information.  Depriving a congregation of its needed membership dues and its talent by soliciting the departure of others would also be a form of Genevah if specific individuals were targeted, though probably would be more akin to legitimate competition for desired services if not individually solicited.  There is a synagogue etiquette not to lure members of another congregation to your congregation which has maintained collegiality in our region.  This came up at a Board Meeting about three years ago when the new Rabbi arrived and the Membership Committee felt it appropriate to invite back members who had left with individual invitations to return, particularly those with Rabbi generated attrition.  Most had latched onto other congregation, one even becoming its President, so the project was not undertaken to avoid the impression of Genevah.

Will AKSE have some of its dues, attendance and participation skimmed off by all this?  I think there will be a small amount of one time attrition, though less than would ordinarily occur by other deterrents such as high dues, often boring sanctuary experience, and the actuarial outcomes of an aging membership base. 

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