Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Congregational Gala

It came and went.  Two people worthy of honor got honored, yet those honors were really a pretext for the true mission of this event, to raise money, which it did.  This event seemed a little reminiscent of a scaled down Bar Mitzvah.  Simple reception hour.  I did not know that the Sam Adams Brewery had come under the supervision of Star-K.  Kosher wine.  A crudité table, which probably would have been better without the pita, since that  requires washing,  Motzi and Birchat, though there was a washing station off in the corner that nobody used.  People shaking hands, greeting old friends not seen in a Senator Coons Age, or not seen anywhere near a shul since last Yom Kippur.    Friendly people, nice people, not that many overt Federation types.  A band that played mostly music familiar to the people of the two honorees’ generation.  Not very many premenopausal women as guests, about the same number of premenopausal women who served as waitresses for the catering company.
Conversation mostly trivial small talk, which is an art in itself that I never personally mastered.  The Senator appeared older than when I last saw him but every bit as witty as when I last heard him.  Food was good.  Been a while since I had prime rib.  Don’t even know where to buy it.  The ad book, the source of the serious revenue for the evening sat a few at each table.  Big ads mostly from other Jewish organizations or elected officials who have a vested interest in keeping in AKSE’s loop.  Don’t think I’ll look at the agencies with which I have had personal adverse experience any differently because of their rather self-interested generosity on this.  Small ads from a variety of dentists, accountants, landscapers and other who feel obligated to stay in their customers’ good graces.  Ironically only one ad from a hair dresser, a mid-size one, despite the reality of the post-menopausal women in attendance keeping their hair stylists in fat city by sporting a ‘do in a color at odds with what nature intended.
And while there really is no Hebrew word for fun, I think those in attendance had an enjoyable break from their usual activities and sincerely wanted to support the two honorees, if not the synagogue that enabled the honors.
But the evening ended leaving a pot of gold as its legacy, perhaps something that might endure longer than the evening, though probably not that much longer.  The two men being honored, one a Rabbi, the other a businessman devoted their adult years to promoting a Jewish future.  How well it actually happened in this generation of organizational decline could be seen in the attendance.  And the purpose of raising the money, to secure a future for our congregation, seems to be running in parallel with this.  It may be honorable to raise money but if it cannot be applied in a manner that looks ahead to meaningful projects that attract devotees, they you are left with a room of older geezers like myself congratulating each other on how wonderful we all are while missing the real opportunity to apply the success of our efforts in a sustaining way.