Poignancy, below the surface

I started getting emotional a half hour ago. I can rise above it, but it remains a poignancy, just below the surface. 

Annual retreat?

My wife asked me if I wanted to go to “our” synagogue’s annual retreat. She said they just decided that the topic will be politics. I could feel frustration swelling in the back of my brain, and said, “If they ask me to speak for an hour, I’d be happy to go. But I’m not going to spend money and a whole weekend just to try to interject a few comments or questions and feel frustrated all weekend.” She said “Okay, okay, I got it” and walked away.

The frustration kept rising. We joined the temple about 20 years ago, when Benjy was young. It’s a large temple, with over 5,000 families. I tried to take part. I tried to be part of their community.

My community?

I went to a few classes with Leah when the kids were in Sunday school. I attended a number of talks over the years. We went to a few of their movie nights. We did some of the hikes with other “empty-nesters” and tried a couple of times to join small groups of families. For a few of the parties I went early and helped served drinks. For a number of years I juggled at their annual Purim festival for kids.

I’ve even been to some services, but I find the talk about “God” off-putting. Most of the people there don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god, but they still chant the literal prayers. I can see their point, but it feels hypocritical to me. Still, they’ve supported Leah and the kids over the years and I tried to participate. They’re the closest thing I’ve ever had to a community.

Close-minded about PeopleCount

They won’t give PeopleCount the time of day. If I want to use one of the rooms for a meeting, I’ll have to pay for it. If I give a talk, they won’t even put it on their calendar, much less their newsletter.

The only “reason” they give me is that they’re not political. Yet they are political. And they’re allowed to be political if it supports the common good. They supported the recent effort to get California to pay for preschools.
To me, they’re stingy and close-minded. It’s the closest I’ve ever had to having a community. They don’t trust me enough to listen well. They don’t trust me enough to suspend their judgement and opinions. They’re the closest I’ve had to a community. And it’s not even close. That hurts.

I breathe, feel the breath go past my sinuses, down my throat and fill my lungs. There’s still life in me. I shake my head to clear it and breathe deeply again. The kid inside me just wants to stop hurting. But he’s defined by painful memories. He arose just now because my relationship with the synagogue feels like massive rejection…

Poignancy remains

I spend a moment with those thoughts, and accept them. Then I return to being an adult. I generate love and life and endless possibility. My commitment is to be accountable for justice, peace, prosperity for all, and the reversal of global warming.

The poignancy remains, a bit below the surface.

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