Sunday, March 3, 2013

Surprisingly Easy to Quit my synagogue

I belonged to a synagogue for twenty years. This year we made the decision not to rejoin. The reason? I was feeling less connected to a place that was putting control over choice. Concretely: Leadership would not permit the Shabbat morning prayer class I had attended for the past eight years to continue on a weekly basis. We could hold the class twice a month, but not every week.

Leadership's reason? "The main arena of the synagogue is the sanctuary. When other things are happening that takes attention away from that (even though the class was happening prior to services starting) it is a problem.” Like the Cantor said, "I went to a basketball game and everyone was talking or buying food. They weren't watching the game. That is what it is like here on Shabbat. Instead of people focusing on the main event they are distracted."

We did the process thing. I personally met with the rabbi. I explained why the weekly rhythm of coming together in prayer, Torah study, and story sharing was so important. I tried to convey that the ritualization of every week mattered in my life. I also said that as a member of the congregation I had a responsibility to give back. If there were additional ways I could volunteer, mentor or teach to contribute, I would do that but hoped we could continue our class.

Additionally, the twenty some people who attended the weekly class at 9 am met with the rabbi. They told their stories about how the Jewish teaching and sharing deeply impacted their lives. Men and women cried equally sharing the power the regular ritual had in their lives.

If it were a matter of money...of course we'd pay the salary of the teacher.
In the end, the clergy, and I'm not sure who else decided NO.
They wanted more people to come to the sanctuary and not have too many side services or learning.
Holding so tightly is choking, not inviting.

I left. After much thought I couldn't reconcile being a member of a community that didn't reflect a core principle: Each person finds his/her connection to God in different ways. Congregations need to find a balance between the whole and the individual. I don't, I confess, like sitting in services from 10-12:30 Honestly instead of connecting me it bores me...for the most part.
However, the 9-10 learning experience mattered. Shouldn't there be space for the guy who likes sitting 10-12:30 and the lady who gets her religious high in one hour?

When we left I called the congregation’s office to let them know we wouldn't be sending our check. Ok, you are always welcome to come back. And that was the end of that.  Really?
I was there for 20 Hanukah we got a X
eroxed copy of a note from the clergy wishing us a happy Chanukah.

I wonder if there could have been another ending? What is the ritual that congregations use when folks walk? Would it make sense for someone in the congregation to come visit us? “I'd like to hear your story? We still will see you as part of the community. Are there ways that we can help you connect to other Jewish organizations? We will still send you yahrzeit info and other events. You will always be a member of our community…it will look different now but we are here for you. How can we support you on your next leg of your journey? Your story will remain with us and we are here for you” Or something right? Could they reinvent ok you don't pay 3000 dollars, but we are still connected to you.

Who is paying attention to the life stories of congregants?

What makes it hard for a congregation to allow the space for multiple entry points?

Where am I writing this blog? I'm sitting in the Apple Store in Suburban Square. Someone borrowed my power cord by accident and I have no power in my computer.
"Do you think I could sit here and just charge my battery?"

“Sure,” the salesman said, “here sit here and if you need anything just ask.”

I just looked up and the lady in the blue shirt who is supposed to be selling stuff--just smiled at me.
Really? Hello synagogues, what's it look like to make room for someone to sit for what they need, not just what you need?


  1. I'll be taking this story with me throughout my rabbinate. Thank you for sharing Cyd!

    1. Thank you Josh. I always appreciate that you are reaching for tomorrow in the most thoughtful ways. I know you can create the future our people are seeking.

  2. Synagogues are certainly struggling today to figure out who they are and where they need to go. I'm VERY sorry your synagogue could not find room for you and your group. Perhaps you'll create your own group at Starbucks, and I wish you the welcome and embrace that Judaism and our institutions should be all about. I pray the "we" (the Rabbis) will find a way to lead our communities into becoming centers of warmth and welcome.

    1. Thank you for your comments Rabbi. Judaism of course is central to my life. So it is interesting to find other communal spaces to express and explore that connection.

      I genuinely appreciate how difficult it is for clergy to hold on to every need and question. Do you think our future holds the role of lay people to be attending to one another s spiritual journey instead of relying on the clergy so much? I remember a congregation that had a social worker go and visit 50 people's homes. He heard their stories and then helped them connect to resources or create resources to support them on their quest.

  3. חזק!

    It's unfortunately the case that the service IS long and CAN BE boring (and impersonal), and that learning, which can be short and engaging, and highly personal, are put at odds with each other (at least in your previous situation).

    1. I felt a bit scared to admit that long services don't speak to me. So now I'm out. And yet I'm guessing I'm not alone. I agree let's not put vanilla and chocolate at odds. And yet I do appreciate the challenge of creating a structure that enables both. This is the new frontier. Also yasher koach on your new blog

  4. Hi Cyd--Another compelling post. I have forwarded the link to several rabbi groups...

    1. Hi Elyse
      I know you have shaped a new model that truly speaks to the quests of individuals while building a community of purpose. yasher koach

  5. Cyd, Thanks for sharing. I have had similar experiences with the shul to which I have belonged. Likewise, I was unable to make my concerns regarding the shul's focus on money/membership rather than engagement. I am now developing a different community that is welcoming, inclusive and practices radical hospitality. I am bringing people together for a wide variety of activites - social, study, prayer, fun and food . . .
    In answer to your questions, I think shuls should conduct "exit interviews" to determine why a former member has left. Personally, if possible, I think these visits should be face-to-face, and be done by a member of the advisory board, steering committee, executive . . .
    I agree that efforts should be made by the synagogue to support engagement in Judaism, and like your suggestions of yahrzeit and other reminders, to which I would add maintaining the former member on the email contact list sending weekly/monthly emails, and other communiques, holy day greetings, etc.
    I don't yet understand why congregations find it so difficult to provide multiple points of entry or engagement, but "mainstream" Jewish organisations seem to have great difficulty perceiving a need for diverse programming, multiple ways of engaging Jews and others interested in Judaism.
    I heartily agree with your closing exhortation: "make room for someone to sit for what they need, not just what you need!" May an ever increasing number of Jewish institutions heed your call!

    1. I love your notion of "radical hospitality."
      I haven't read Ron Wolfson's new book but I am looking forward to it about Relational Judaism.

      Oddly, by some crazy turn of events, I got email yesterday from the bikkur cholim committee saying I hadn't signed up again this year. So I wrote a note back saying I didn't belong to the congregation anymore but would be happy to have my name on the list to help when it is needed. the note back said: Oh I'm sorry I didnt' know you had left the synagogue.

  6. Amazes me that stories like this one can still be written in 2013! Come be a member of our shul, Cyd...our Saturday morning study is great and you don't even have to go to services afterwards!

    1. Hi Saul, Hayim Herring in his blog, Hayim's blog, had the same "2013" response.
      As soon as I buy that one bedroom in NYC I am joining your shul! Thanks for the invite.

  7. This post gave me the chills, it is a reminder of the story of my parents leaving my childhood synagogue. This was also my mother's childhood synagogue, where my grandparents were founding members, where my parents got married and where all of our family simchas took place. Some time while my brother and I were in college, my parents felt lost in a sea of dues and guilt, instead of chavura invitations and upcoming events newsletters. My mom said she just knew it was time to move on - so they left. Almost 15 years later, they have not joined a new synagogue. They have tried different places and enjoyed events with friends and family, but have not felt compelled to be tried and true members anywhere in particular. My heart hurts when I think about the community they separated from, and as I look ahead at my growing family I wonder what our synagogue life will look like.

    1. Tara thank you for sharing this story. I still believe the congregation i left is a good place and serves the spiritual and learning needs of their congregants.

      When I was a director of ed, it always struck me that the "synagogue journey" stories that people carried were like "family journey" stories with both great joy and great hurt. I wonder if that is a reality because of the complexity of our own lives and the complexity of synagogues.

      With promise of a better tomorrow and the energy you bring I'm sure you will build/be part of a community that is your home for your growing family.

  8. Dear Ms. Weissman -

    I don't know you, but you inspired me today. I posted this on Facebook when I linked to your post:

    I wish I could invite this woman to share in the wonderfully diverse set of experiences available at Anshe Emet. This post is just a reminder of how proud I am to be a member and how lucky we are to have Michael Siegel as our Rav.

    The more I think about this, the more frustrated I get on her behalf. Just as one example from Anshe Emet - the Rose Crown Minyan has 70-100 people davening together every Shabbat. Most of those people have zero interest in being in a traditional clergy-led service and many would not have joined Anshe Emet without RCM being available to them. But RCMers are extremely active in the shul - we teach in the adult ed program, run many of the children's programs, mentor Jews By Choice, volunteer for the Purim carnival and other all-shul holiday events, take an active role in Men's Club and Sisterhood, fully participate in planning for the future of the congregation, lead and organize services for the High Holidays and serve on the Board. We have a different way of connecting with G-d on Shabbat morning, but we fully embrace the Anshe Emet community. We may not come into the sanctuary to daven most of the time, but we have fully formed relationships with all our clergy and appreciate and take advantage of their skills, their compassion, and their wise counsel.

    This story could be repeated about any of the myriad mini-communities at Anshe Emet - the Shabbat morning yoga services, the family services, the Jews By Choice program, the weekly parsha class, the Young Adult Division - we may daven separately, but, through the inclusiveness of our clergy--and the power of communal food--we are one shul.

    Any congregation who thinks that cohesive community requires everyone davening in one room at one time isn't paying attention.


    If you ever find yourself in Chicago, please come visit us at Anshe Emet. I'd be thrilled to be your host and welcome you to our community.

    -Marsha Nagorsky

    1. Hi Marsha,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your story. You are fortunate to have found your home at Ansche Emet. It sounds like a wonderful and inclusive community.

      I know there are many people who find their "home" in the shul I left. This morning on the train I spoke to congregant who has a child with Aspergers. The Bar Mitzvah was this past Shabbat and she couldn't say enough about how caring the community was and how much the rabbi adapted the service at Havdalah to meet her son's needs. The joy in her life and the love shown for her child will last a life time.
      I think the synagogue has many many of those stories to tell. Is it that it is just hard to stretch for everyone and that is just the reality? i'm just not sure.

      I do have a colleague who lives in Chicago. If I'm in town for Shabbat sounds like a wonderful community to visit. Thank you for the invite. Chag Sameach (very soon).

  9. Any synagogue that treated me the way your synagogue treated you is not worthy of the titles Beit HaMidrash or Bet T'filah. A house of learning must be open to different styles of learning, because learners do not all learn the same way. Likewise, a house of prayer has to afford time for personal prayer and reflection, together with communal prayer, or it does nothing to lift the prayers of all its congregants. This synagogue is not only better off without you, it is also on life-support, but does not know it.

    1. I am very interested in your idea of enabling both communal prayer and personal prayer and reflection. I think that is the part that meant so much to me in the smaller story telling, prayer Torah kind of group...I had time for both. I usually find in the larger service the only personal time I have is when I say my silent prayer at the end of the Amidah. The words I say have a lot of meaning..I've been saying the same prayer for years and is personal and it short but not really "exploratory," and "reflective."
      So what does it look like when a congregation has spaces and times for both the stanza and the refrain?

  10. You should continue your weekly meeting at your home and/or other people's homes. Get your group to continue. Maybe there is another synagogue close by, or a Starbuck's or a park. G'd is everywhere, not necessarily where the Rabbi seats...

    1. Hi Gaston,
      I've taken up horse back riding...and am open to new places to daven.

  11. What is unfortunate is the feeling that you would not be able to change your synagogue from within. Congregations need to be open to change and prepared to embrace change efforts that come from dedicated members. I hope you will find the community you are searching for.

    1. Hi Arnie
      thanks for the support
      I have spent the last 30 years in service of synagogues growing and changing to meet the quests of their learners/congregants. I am hopeful.

  12. It's so easy for a group to sit and make a decision about what should or should not happen at the shul.

    The critical one on one connections seem to be much more challenging to organize.

    -How will you know who to call?
    -Who will make the calls?
    -What will you do with the information once it is collected?
    -How will you record and maintain this information?
    -When will you do a follow up?
    -How can this information be coordinated with similar responses from other calls?

    I could go on.

    Successful organizations can answer all the above questions and have a very clear method to communicate with their members.

    I wonder how many synagogues are this organized and engaged?

    1. I spoke to a congregation that told me they had prepared their board members to meet with four congregants a year in a one on one. That is they taught them how to listen and said this is your responsibility.
      I think it is a good idea if we think about not just having Rabbis take on that job but think of ways that everyone is responsible to be on the listening and responding tour..what do you think?

  13. Knowing Cyd as I do and have done for so many years, I have to admire her restraint and mentschlichkeit in the telling of her story. There is so much more background that could enrich the tale and deepen the conversations it inspires, but i can see how bringing it in might border too closely on lashon ha-ra'. And one of the virtues that Cyd has modelled and taught for years is that of ko'ah ha-lashon, the importance of guarding our tongue, especially when it would be easier to give in to our hurt, anger, and frustration, and especially in a public venue. Kol ha-kavod to you, my teacher and friend.

    1. Thanks friend.
      Living with paradoxes at all times is a life challnege

      koach halashon and tochechah

      "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." (Proverbs 18:21)
      Rabbi Jose ben Chanina said: "A love without reproof is no love." Resh Lakish said, "Reproof leads to peace; a peace where there has been no reproof is no peace." (Genesis Rabbah 54.3)

  14. Your story is a painful one. I am a Reform rabbi of a small congregation in Iowa. My wife, who is our part-time Cantor, forwarded your blog post to me.

    I fear that you have fallen victim to a disease that has come to plague many synagogues over the past several years. It is the plague of "Loss of Mission." Especially as economic times have become challenging for not-for-profit institutions, we see that too many who are in the position of synagogue leadership have turned the focus of their attention away from the mission of the institution and far more toward the fiscal "business" of their institution. The bottom line has become their bottom line. Applying a corporate business mentality, they measure success far more in terms of quantity rather than quality - how much money has been raised, how many people attend services and programs, etc.? This is especially true in the spiritual realm, where quantity seems to be shrinking as we see taking the center stage of our society a generation of young individuals who equate the religious life of their families with the other programmed activities of the children; soccer, tennis, dance, music lessons, etc. Judaism has become a scheduled appointment on their calendar, and their calendars are quite filled, leaving little time for religious activities. In all of this mess, those who call the shots in synagogues (and do not necessarily equate them with the rabbis and cantors, for in more and more congregations they simply are being considered as "staff" rather than as spiritual communal leaders) are losing sight of the true mission or purpose of a synagogue, in favor of seeking quantifiable outcomes.

    This is precisely what happened to your prayer group. While ideally the mission of any synagogue is to connect as many people as possible to God, the Jewish people, and our Jewish heritage, the fact that your prayer group was most certainly accomplishing that goal for its members was set aside in favor of viewing it as a competitor with the formal Shabbat service. It matters little whether this perception was the result of a fantasy that if the prayer group was disbanded, its members would flock to the formal service, or was the result of a desire to deflect responsibility for the poor attendance at the formal service away from those who establish its format and place the responsibility upon the prayer group as a competing entity. What does matter is that along the way the synagogue leadership lost sight of the fact that the prayer group was doing for its 20 members precisely what a synagogue is supposed to do; it was connecting them to their faith, their people, and to God.

    You are absolutely correct that the contemporary synagogue must be flexible and open to diversity when it comes to its members and its programs. Whatever activity brings Jews into a synagogue is a worthwhile activity. This year, in my small synagogue, a Wednesday evening Mahjong game was introduced. Now Mahjong is not what I would consider a substantive Jewish activity, even though there are some "cultural” aspects to it. Yet, the very fact that it draws people into the synagogue building and serves as a positive association with Jewish life for its participants makes it a worthy and valuable addition to our congregational programming. The bottom line is that the more that we can get people to connect with the synagogue, the more chance we have of growing their Jewish identity and their Jewish activities.

    It is tragic that your former synagogue has lost you as a member because it no longer favored the manner in which you came to the synagogue in order to observe Shabbat. If they had kept their eye on the ball, they would have realized that the most important thing was that they were providing an opportunity for you and your colleagues to come to synagogue, pray, and observe Shabbat in your own way; that your prayer group was not one of their failures but rather one of their successes.

    1. I really appreciate the challenge of the economics. is it the business model that makes us hold so tight and miss the mission? And if it is I'm guessing that in the end I think missing mission will end with missing dollars.
      I guess that is why so many people are talking about new business models.

      Today I learned about the Meyerson Foundation in Ohio. I was so impressed with the work that they do and the principles that guide them. One thing I learned was:
      when people make a reservation and come to one of the family or young adult events they don't pay. If you make a reservation and don't come--you pay. And if you come to the event at the door you pay. I loved this idea-(and yes they have funds to do it).

      Thank you for taking the time to share your insight and your compassion. Together I think the Jewish community is and will be figuring out new ways to meet a holy mission

  15. Cyd-I was very disturbed by your experience, to the point where I had to blog about it.

    The original post is at Here's an updated version:

    "While I try to be respectful of my fellow klei kodesh (clergy), their response to Cyd’s request is incomprehensible to me.

    I’m only going to list three reasons why I find their response so baffling:

    1) In 2002 – 2003, the organization that I led at the time, STAR (Synagogues Transformation and Renewal), launched its Synaplex™ Initiative, thanks to the generosity and support of the Schusterman, Steinhardt and Samuel Bronfman Foundations. (Ironically, I first met you at your congregation, which I visited when doing site visits of congregations that were running concurrent programming on Shabbat morning!) One of the goals of Synaplex™ was to create multiple programmatic entry points within the mission of the congregation so that people could express and explore their Jewish selves on their terms. While STAR is no longer in existence, the Synaplex™ Initiative, which we estimate was adopted in some form by well over 200 congregations (perhaps it was closer to 250), continues to exist in various iterations. These congregations are characterized by multiple, concurrent and diverse Jewish experiences during Shabbat that speak with relevance to individual interests.

    2) The clergy at Cyd’s congregation seem unconcerned about human development and growth. One of the ideas we stressed throughSynaplex™ was that regardless of where people are at a particular moment in time, they grow and develop from a psychosocial and spiritual perspective. If synagogues do not grow with their members, then their members will grow out of them, as Cyd’s situation makes clear.

    3) Finally, if we take the notion of being created in God’s image seriously, then clergy should not try to remake people in their image, but facilitate the process of people becoming their own authentic Jewish selves. I am not implying that synagogues should be a place where “anything goes.” In fact, knowing your mission is essential so that doesn’t happen. But what I am suggesting is that individuals have the right to find their own Godly image, and not have it imposed by others, regardless of title and position.

    Cyd-I really hope that the leadership of the congregation will reconsider its stance. I am sure that their efforts where well intentioned, but their logic is flawed. I admire your efforts to try and make things work and hope that they will be respected in the end.

    1. Hayim
      I was thinking about your new book on the train this week when you called to tell me you had responded to my blog. I appreciate your compassion and insight.
      I do think it is a real challenge to imagine what does a congregation look like when it balances mission and the individual. I am using your book in my class in organizational dynamics at HUC to help us "see" what this can actually look like.
      I love the quote from your book that clergy needs to be the cultural mediators:

      "addressing people's real every day concerns about health relationships work play spiritual and intellectual growth, children, money and loss--the stuff of daily life...each synagogue must address these subjects and help individuals experience the value of exploring them as a community. It means recrafting the interpretation of core Jewish values and practices to resonate with contemporary sensibilities."

      I know everyone, including the congregation I left, is working on figuring this out.
      Thank you for your leadership.

  16. In a time of diminishing membership, turning away people who want to be in the building is ludicrous. The clergy is sorely mistaken if they think those who do sit in the main service bring a laser focus to the task. That basketball game analogy is extremely poor, too.

    I became an associate member of a local synagogue (primary membership at another shul), and started attending regularly. Family tragedy struck soon thereafter. When the next dues bill came, I explained my extra money would be going to the distant shul that helped with the tragedy and would need to rescind my membership. I received two more dues bills and zero calls from the clergy. The next HHD cycle, I received a call from the sisterhood hoping I'd join them for an event as a new member.

    As bad as this made me feel, it could just be chalked up to poor staff communication. The intentionality of your synagogue's decision, however, is breathtaking.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I think congregations have their hearts in the right places. They are trying very hard to meet needs and meet vision . I think there are a lot folks walking around with "hurts" because there is some disconnect between the structure and the need. We have inherited a structure that needs to be adjusted. So I'm most interested in what does a synagogue look like that reflects their true heart intent. I don't think anyone intended that the organizational decision they made would "hurt" they just couldn't see another option..that for me is the missing piece..what are the options?

  17. I'd turn the question around to you, how could you quit after 20 years over something so trivial? Couldn't the class be moved to Sunday's every other week?

    We're increasingly a consumerist society. "My way or the highway" seems to be the motto. If something doesn't cater precisely to our individual needs, we quit. A community is something more than a service provider (or a sales outlet, like an Apple Store.)

    I think, if you brought 20-something people into the Apple store with you for a charge they may have treated you differently as such a crowd might distract from their core purpose.

    I don't understand your need to have the community chase after you after you quit. You weren't banished, it's important to remember who did the quitting in this situation - you. Shouldn't the community take your quitting at face value?

    Communities can't be all things to all people, to belong to one is to understand you are not always going to get your way.

    1. I appreciate the rebuke. Rightfully you are raising really important questions. I assure that no decision was made quickly or easily.

      I don't suggest that congregations run after folks but I do suggest that redefining the relationship is a great opportunity. Full membership might not feel right but are there other options?

  18. Are you in my area? I'll give you space and free reign!

    1. Thanks for the invitation. I am searching for a new home and know I'll find one. I live in a community where fortunately there are many opportunities.

  19. Cyd - forwarding this to clients, but mostly just so sad for you. I know how important that community was/is to you and I hope that you quickly establish a new way and a new place to observe Shabbat.

    I also want to remind people out there reading this that many of us can still write similarly compelling success stories about why we stay at our congregations - and the principles and lessons learned are exactly the same. It's not the programs, it may not even be the people, but it's the opportunity to create a path.

    1. HI Amy
      nice to hear your voice.
      Yes I've shared in numerous ways how the Shabbat experienced influenced my life. It had become critical to my weekly rhythm.

      I love the idea of starting a blog where people can share those inspiring stories of how engagement in their congregation is impacting their lives. I think we can learn a lot from those successes

  20. My parents also left their synagogue of 30 years this past summer. Their choice was based on different circumstances, but the congregational response was similarly disappointing. I suspect that the synagogue of my youth is afraid to change in the ways it needs to in order to face the challenges of Jewish life in America today. I too would love to write a new story for our synagogues.

    1. Adena I hope I will get to write a next chapter.find a path to communal Jewish life. I think that in my community there are many options and I hope to do that.
      you are a leader who will be writing a new story.

  21. thinking about the new Reconstructionist approach to member congregations:

    "In the past the cost of their support has been determined by the denominations. This fall, for the first time, the Reconstructionist movement has put that decision in the hands of the congregations. We’re taking this approach because we’re committed to working democratically and because we understand the changing nature of membership organizations. Rather than sending a “dues bill” based on the number of members, we’ve asked each congregation to choose one of three levels of financial support. They can start at a very modest level (1/1000 of budgeted expenses) and can go as high as they choose. They can scale their investment in the movement to suit their overall financial situation – and balance it among their other commitments. Depending on the level they select, they’re entitled to a given amount of individual attention from the movement’s consultants and other professionals. We believe that this will make stronger congregations on the local level and create a more meaningful relationship between congregations and the central organization."

    Is this a model we can adapt for individual members as well?

  22. Here is some food for thought from folks who are challenging the very notion of the synagogue:
    Steve Cohen, et al:
    Jay Michaelson:

  23. I am ashamed to say that I am not surprised by your rabbi's response. And at the same time I am completely astonished at your rabbi's response. I believe many rabbis believe it is about them and not about their congregants experience as Jews once they enter the building.

    In any given congregation there are easily 5-10 congregations nestled together. Young Families = No kids, Empty Nesters - no kids, Tot service families, Family Service Families, Traditional Minyon, Modern Minyan, Merditative Minyan, Musical minyan, Bnai Mitzvah Minyans and the list goes on. On any given Erev Shabbat or Shabbat there is a gathering of minyanim who respectfully participate in what ever minyan is being represented at the time. Friday night live? Traditionalists tolerate it but don't really enjoy it and the list can go on with who attends certain minyanim and who avoids them.

    I am always amazed at how many rabbis drive congregants away and membership committees just write it off as an issue about the member or member family. This is an old model where rabbis believe there are another 10-20 families just clamoring to join their antiquated congregational model.

    At this point you could easily organize Torah study in your home with your same thirty compatriots and live webcast the event to your three thousand readers of this article. In one digital swoop you will have created the largest free virtual minyan your rabbi will never see.
    You're invited to my Torah study any day, any time.

  24. Cyd,

    What a sad, sad story. I'm sorry for you...and for your congregation. I work in the synagogue world and I expect that your blog post will be flooding the email in-boxes of my colleagues in the coming weeks. I hope we all can learn from it.

    In the meantime, I wish you a ziessen Pesach, and much success in finding a new spiritual home. Its members will be lucky to have you.

    ~ Jane.

  25. Reminds me of our experiences in public schools....