Now that I live in New Orleans, I’ve been attending a lot of charity and service functions. Today, I was struck by all of the bad behavior I have witnessed. Officials raiding a synagogue office to find the perfect office chairs, people copping attitudes with the clerical staff of the charity, charity workers bickering back and forth at one another, and at one point today, the end of one of the speeches was basically, “Well, our staff does a lot, and we thank them, but since we’re running late I won’t take out the oh, maybe two minutes it would require to actually name them so they feel appreciated.” I felt like myself and somewhere around three other people in the crowd were actually appreciating what was going on, and everyone else was either trying to project themselves as “SOMEONE WHO CARES” or trying (with different measures of success) to keep others from knowing how unhappy they were to be there; they either had to be there for work or they felt they had to be there to provide family support, they were on a board or committee, etc.
I think this is one of the reasons why I like Shir Chadash. I’m sure pressures are high there, too, but the one thing I’ve noticed is that the people there go out of their way to thank each other and acknowledge the help they receive in keeping the events and even just the day-to-day operations of the building running. This is especially true of the nonJewish staff. It’s nice.