My finale at AKSE seems an appropriate challenge: Aliyah #4 of Parsha Naso which describes the procedures for dealing with a suspected unfaithful wife and with a Nazir. Difficult reading and lengthy. What follows is nothing. It is time to step aside. I have been invited back to my remaining committee and I have been asked to participate in the next congregational Torah reading, one far less difficult than what I am currently preparing. But the time has arrived for me to transition from participant to observer. The leadership really needs to develop new people of talent. They have neglected this vital task over a considerable time frame, choosing instead to pick the low hanging fruit. And my first observation is that they will not pursue this part of leadership unless some external force compels it. And so I have taken the first step on saying no, I will not be part of the bimah pool and if they wish to have the thus far successful AKSE Academy progress to a congregational signature event they will need to find another person, or even better, a real functioning subcommittee to assure its success.
In one of my favorite books, The Search for God at Harvard, the author Ari Goldman discusses his role as a correspondent with an alternate role as Rabbi. The reporter looks and analyzes. The Rabbi finds himself immersed in the events that the religion correspondent writes about. Both are expected to have a measure of objectivity though in very different circumstances. And both contribute, though in different ways.
So as I take my final lap as an AKSE participant in a few weeks, at least for a while, I will need to make a special effort in the months that follow to pay attention. Re'eh: see. Sh'ma: Listen. Then report back what I have learned.