Rosh Hashana approaches once again. I have my assignment as YK Torah reader, do not yet have an invitation to open the Ark on YK, the only day I will be at AKSE. It has become a minor fundraiser. Two people who merit some form of real honor were named as High Holy Day honorees, a real fundraiser for AKSE. For the first time in memory, whatever committee selects them opted for two men instead of the usual man and woman though I can think of a few women who the congregants would donate generously to honor. Rabbi probably writing the drafts of his various messages. Last year he spoke about a book that inspired him. Not being there, I asked later which book. He told me, I read a few reviews and decided to read other things instead. I think we went to different colleges.
Despite last year's good intentions, I'm probably not very much different than I was as the self-examiner last year. Cynicism must be in my kishkes, though undoubtedly re-inforced by actual encounters. Each year I get tempered in some way, often by reading about what could be but isn't in the Jewish literature, this year by witnessing what the Mormons have done through their passion for excellence and seeing the gradient in our dedication to getting by. Religious organizations probably have kishkes too. If your core involves welcoming, you will be welcoming. If your core offers the illusion of being welcoming while it is really the more exclusive USY clique that remains at the core, that will eventually be expressed inevitably in its various forms. The introspection of Elul and beyond allows us to recognize that a little more readily and perhaps make some attempt at upgrade.