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Rabbi tried talking to the Millennials and Gen Zers. They were offended. Just hearing the rabbi talk offended them. It turns out that anything that is related to the Torah offends them. That means the rabbi offends them. Just seeing him. Seeing a Torah covered, not allowing it to breath, offends them. They were offended by themselves coming to listen to the rabbi. Once the rabbi said 'Torah' it was over.
We ended up kicking them out of the shul. We have a new rule: Nobody between the ages of fourteen and forty-five are allowed at shul.
Leo's Kosher Deli is doing well, being that nobody has come there over the past year. Leo needed a break and he's happy not having to see any of the community.
We're trying to get him to reopen. Leo said, 'As long as I don't have to see people, I will happily run the deli.'
He also seems to be angry with the Kosher guys. He doesn't understand the job of Kosher supervision. The guy is a supervisor. He's a Kosher watcher over. He watches over. Leo wants him to work. Rabbi Mendelchem explained that his job is to not work. Leo doesn't like that. He's also trying to figure out how a fifteen year old landed a job where he doesn't have to work.
In the meantime, our community has Kosher all messed up. We have some members of our shul using blue for meat. What kind of a heretic uses blue for meat? Blue is dairy. Red is meat. The Feinblums don't know this. Biggest mistake ever made at a Kiddish is the Feinblums sharing this. Now we know why some of the blue silverware was 16-karat gold.
How decent silverware got mixed into the dairy is an anomaly. At least it was till the Feinblums solved the mystery with their heresy. Now, nobody wants to eat in our shul. Every good Jew knows that you never use good silverware or china for dairy. It's stainless steal or plastic. The best Jews use plastic for everything. Now I know why nobody trusts the level of Kosher in our shul.
Leo's is doing fine, as he only uses plastic silverware. As he says, 'It's less service.' People trust him. We call it plastic silverware, as it sounds classier. The classiest is the silver covered plastic. That's when you know you're eating by people with class.
The Gen Zers were offended by Kosher. They were offended by laws. Just having laws offends them.
Kiddish conversations have been on the down-low. The congregants decided to stop smiling. Not smiling keeps people away. Looking very unfriendly is a great way to ensure that you have space at the Kiddish table.
I am happy not speaking to couples. Couples talking is annoying. Got to hear the stories. Got to hear about how they met, their trips, those stories where they end up love slapping the other's arm. Now, I don't need to find an excuse to get out of there. Cute couples talking bothers me.
Biggest news this week. Mike picked up a two liter Kedem Grape Juice for $6.50. Wouldn't stop talking about it. At the local butcher it was $13.
Youth programming has been a big topic at the shul. Not one person brought up programming for the elderly. No programming for older people. We need older people groups. Not just a youth groups. It would be good if the older people left shul too.
People didn't even discuss the sick. They just said, 'Let the sick be the sick and let the older people die.' That's what I heard.
Mazel Tovs: The Simchasteins had two grandchildren. Their smiles bothered everybody, as if they were rubbing it in. There were a bunch of birthdays. We've got to stop announcing birthdays. Either we announce birthdays or Simchas. Can't do both.
I propose only announcing birthdays that are connected to Simchas. Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs. A kid reaches eight days old. Ninety. We announced Bella's ninetieth. I was fine with that. That's a birthday to announce. That's a Simcha of surviving this community.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon
Shabbat Shalom My Cattle… My herd is fine too.
(Shemot 38:21) ‘These are the reckonings of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle)…’ It’s the English translation… I don’t know what a Tabernacle is either… So, we’ll call it the Mishkan… Because it’s the Mishkan, Bernie…
In the Mishkan, there were reckonings. There was counting. There was accountability. They had to follow a plan. The shul board didn’t mess it up. They couldn't. Betzalel was on top of them… Baruch. You can’t even figure out your income. Bookkeeping is a problem in this community… The only smart financial move made the past week is Mike’s deal he found at Tinoli’s Supermarket… $6.50 for a two-liter bottle of Kedem is amazing. Good job Mike. You should be reckoning for the shul. You'll reckon a better kitchen for us. You'll save money for us with your penchant for sales. You should probably reckon Baruch's taxes...
They weighed the ‘gold, the silver and the copper, and counted all the vessels for all the work’ (Rashi). We can’t even find a serving spoon for the choolante… Accountability, Bernie.
Service platters are all over. We can’t find a thing. The Kosher is setup wrong… You don’t use a blue marker for the meat… Now we have no idea what's meat. It's reckoned all wrong. We can't even use any of them for Kiddish work... Kiddish is holy work, and we have messed up blue vessels...
She’s a fool. She used the red for dairy. I know. It’s messed up. Now everybody’s afraid to eat in the shul… Because you reckoned wrong. It’s wrecked.
No accountability. No reckoning...
The shul president is no Betzalel Ben Uri Ben Chur… Do you even know the name of your great-grandfather, Fred?... When he got called up to the Torah, he might have tagged on that extra generation… We’d have to send emissaries to Ellis Island, and get research teams on the grounds in Europe, just to get through Revi'i... Because nobody has ever reckoned anything here. You have no idea who your ancestors are. You don't even know who showed up to the shul BBQ... Where are the utensils? Nobody knows. Exactly.
Do we have an Ohaliav?... Exactly. Nobody names their children Ohaliav. You should start… He reckoned right. (Shemot 38:23) ‘Ohaliav the son of Achismach of the tribe of Dan, a carver, a weaver, an embroider of turquoise, purple and scarlet wool, and linen.’ He did it all. He knew what he was doing. He didn’t say, ‘This should be the program for older people.’ There were professionals… Crocheting is fine. Painting is also good. But not when it’s the piece that is hanging in the front hall… Or the cloth quilt covering the ark… Renovations is not a good program for older people. Look… We need people who reckon with talent...
Then why are they on the committee. We need people with talent to work on stuff… Then hire a handyman. The bathroom stall’s door is still flimsy as anything… You hire a guy with no talent. Worse, a volunteer with no talent, who doesn't reckon... Because there is no accounting, they thought they were fixing a leak...
The materials were a lot. People donated stuff... No plaques, even with the silver and gold. They just donated, Sheril. (Shemot 38:24-31). A lot of talents… This wasn’t a sing along. It was talents of gold, silver… It’s a weight… I would rather see that then to have to see Menachem at another violin recital. I don’t know if we can call that a talent…
The talent is exciting because they did stuff with it. They made the pegs, the sockets… A hundred talents of silver from the community. And then another 1,775 shekels… We can’t even get a decent person. One decent community member. One person to go to the hardware store and pick up brackets… The shekels had a better exchange back then. Inflation…
We need a plan. We need better organization. We need for Fred to not be the president.
(Shemot 38:27-31) They were the sockets for the Sanctuary… And more. Sockets for the Sanctuary, the holy,
And then copper used for the Tent of meeting and the copper altar and the vessels… Copper works for vessels. And they didn’t paint them blue… Because they weren’t dairy… It was a copper altar. You use copper for the copper altar. Not gold or silver… Because it was a copper altar, Bernie!
A lot of sockets. They made the holes of what held everything together with the community donations… What held it together? Staves. Rods. Stuff you stick through it… They were holy sockets. Like you. You are holy sockets. Sockets waiting to be filled. Filled with reckons...
Community is like a hole. We put everything in and we make holes. You did that with the new renovations. A lot of holes. The question is, what is going to hold it together…
Souls hold it together. A decent contractor holds things together. Not the senior citizens of our shul... No. You do programs for them. You don't ask them to do renovations. If they can't paint... Paint night was messed up. Our members missed the canvas. We're not looking to paint the floor... Our shul doesn't need splatter. It's not a Warhol.
The individuals are holes. When we come together and do something positive… I said to do something positive. Not like Menachem’s violin playing. Not like the community theater production of Little Mermaid… It was Tzanuah. Very modest. We all appreciated that. Fran was a great mermaid. It was an excellent call by the director…
What holds the holes together? That’s coming together… I am staying away from renovations and building supplies, because there is too much contention right now. Renovations makes holes… Our shul board holds nothing together. We know we can’t depend on them.
What are going to be our rods?... $6.50 for grape juice can do it.
We need to bring the holes in the kitchen together… Throw out all the vessels… No idea what red means anymore… It’s like blue scarlet. The vessels make no sense… You didn’t reckon. You wrecked it. The blue marks are holes in the Fleishiks (the meat)...
The way to fix it is by saying 'Shalom.' Greeting people bonds us together. Shalom is the stick... It's a figurative rod. Shalom doesn't mean rod... Somebody has to reckon Hebrew lessons in this shul.
The beautiful community focus on Tehillim. We all come together. I love it. Everywhere they come together for huge Tehillim prayer gatherings. Except our shul… You don’t even care.
There’s a war… Somewhere, there is a war.
Let’s focus on clothes. On looking decent. If people looked good, maybe we would come together… At least you would want to be seen in the shul. If you washed that shirt... It was white. Iron the thing... (Shemot 39:1) The turquoise and purple and scarlet wool made the clothes to serve in the Sanctuary, and Aharon’s clothes… It’s kind of hard to feel together and… You dress decently for shul. For service in our sanctuary. You build right. Get the right people on the project. Not Sam… You dress right. It’s hard to have Kavana when your Chazin is all disheveled… It’s not white. That gown is off white. It’s stained… How about less white... Nobody here can keep anything white.
The sockets were clean. Not full dust, like the ledges... They are holes in our shul that need to be held together. With love...
We must start reckoning better. I reckon we come together more often. We join as one. We take all the holes and bring them together as one. But with reckoning. Together, properly, using strengths, not the board's ideas... The board comes up with ideas and it just makes holes. Unclean holes... Because you can't even get somebody to clean the shul. Reckon that...
(Shemot 38:21) ‘… That was reckoned by Moshe’s word. The work of the Levites…’
The didn’t mess up because they listened to Moshe. They’re leader… You have not listened to me. There is still no program for the elderly… Minyin doesn’t count. They don’t show up… Reckon right.
Does everything have to be youth? Does nobody care about the older people… Not talking about using them for labor... Adult labor is almost as bad as child labor... The old people are annoying, but we should still care about them. We do teenage programming. Are the teens not annoying? Are Chanan and the singles not annoying… Then we should do a Dor LDor. A generation to generation program... This way the kids will know about the holes in the community and Sadie, the only one who holds them together with her choolante, and why they don't want to come to shul.
The kids will know how things used to be reckoned. They will learn what goes into community… Hymie and Bernie cannot attend. Only Fran and Sadie… Saul can go too… We don’t want to kill their hopes of a future, Bernie. You will bring them down.
They will have a sad Purim.
Will we get a bookkeeper for the shul? Somebody to ensure we don't go into debt with our next Purim party... There is no reckoning in this shul... It's all wrecked... We're broke. I don't know how to stick a stave in the hole of our bank account...
Rivka’s Notes on Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
I think everybody knows what reckoning means now. It was a good focus for the Sermon.
We need accountability. If we're accountable, we can do things right. We can look good. Individuals can look good. As the rabbi said, 'If we just got rid of the board.' It's like that New York broken glass thing, where they cleaned up the graffiti and there was less crime. Crime in our shul would drop if it was cleaner. If we were organized, there would be less Chumashim (The Five Books) being taken out. And they never bring them back, so it's stealing. Stealing is a crime. All because there is no reckoning.
A shul needs reckoning. If we reckoned. If we had a decent board, and the office did their work, we would have talented people doing the work we reckoned too. When a community is reckoned, it is proper. And we need decorum in shul that makes sense. Right now, the decorum is to wear what you want and pin your artwork wherever you want in the shul. No reckoning.
We're all holes. We need strong sockets and staves to hold us together. To make us a reckoned community.
Why the rabbi had to tell people to start being friendly, and saying 'hi' again, is beyond me. He has killed Kiddishes for me.
A lot of reckonings this week. Turns out there is a lot of stuff the shul doesn’t need. Nothing has been reckoned recently.
It turns out the shul has not done any reckoning for many years. We’re in debt and we didn’t know it. Ignorance is not always bliss. Not when heating goes out in the middle of Musaf. We finally figured out why the heat has been off, and the plow stopped coming. Bills. We’ve got to reckon bills.
We reckoned the Mazel Tovs. There are a lot of kids that nobody cared about at their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
The rabbi has decided to leave all Mazel Tovs out of his speech recently. As he said, 'There is no Mazel in this shul. There aren't enough staves.' People tried helping by bringing their broom sticks, but the rabbi refused Mazels.
Mazel Tovs have been relegated to announcements. Even Bar Mitzvahs are just mentioned in announcements. The family has to find their own way of expressing joy with the relatives that are sitting with them, from overseas, in the front row.
Last week the president's announcement was, 'Look in the bulletin. Naftali celebrated his Bar Mitzvah today. If you didn't notice.' And then, when they hear there's a Kiddish, you can see the people in the shul smile, and they shout 'Mazel Tov.' Then, they get to Kiddish and stop smiling. It's easier to not say 'Shabbat Shalom' when you don't smile, too.
The new rule is that the rabbi will only mention the Simcha, celebration, in his sermon, if there is a large Kiddish. You need kugels, choolante, cakes, drinks, soft and alcohol, salads, tune salad and egg salad, coleslaw. The list goes on. Multiple kugels was mentioned as a necessity by the rabbi. Included must be lokshen kugel, potato kugel, apple kugel. Rabbi specifically mentioned coleslaw. He said it's a good topping for everything Jewish. The Gen Zers were offended by the word 'Jewish.'
The rabbi did a great job of educating about the Copper Altar being made of copper. It was very educational.
People felt the speech was impassioned. It hit everybody in the heart. Now the congregants feel like they have holes in their hearts. A bunch of holes in the shul.
The people have no idea how to put together the holes, but they feel like they have holes. A lot of holes. As Pinchas said, ‘We are each a hole.’
The hope of coming together for anything more than Tehillim, for the holes, is for not. It was a very touching sermon with hope that depressed everybody.
Some felt the hole was not knowing their ancestors. Trips of members were planned all over the world to find their families, but they didn’t know who their families were. So it was just destination trips to where there families might have come from.
It turns out, after they let us know what they saw on their ancestor trips, everybody looks American.
Talk got around the Feinblum’s dairy red. Can't eat in their house anymore.
The shul's kitchen also wasn't reckoned. They used a blue for meat. Mrs. Feinblum got into the kitchen, and caused that problem.
Everybody now knows, red is for meat. It’s simple. Those are the Kosher laws. Red is for meat. Blue is for dairy. That's the law. Everything else in Kosher falls into that. The rabbi is looking for the source in the Torah where it says blue is dairy, and green is Pareve. He said he will find it.
Nobody ate in the shul for a few weeks, other than the ones who only keep Kosher in the home. We started using paper plates, till we got somebody to rub the paint off the dishes. Then everybody started eating again, and we still used paper plates. It's much easier for the sisterhood, and we are sure the environment appreciates that.
The rabbi's lesson of filling the holes in the shul didn't hit most of the congregants right. I think most of them fell asleep during the sermon. The concept of spackling didn't even dawn on the board, as a way to fix holes. Much of the board was focused on the destruction of Jerusalem, as their argument for the poor renovations.
Donations were stopped as people kept on giving books and not money. We got copper, which nobody knew how to use. Even the Machatzit HaShekel, half shekels given around the time of Purim, came in the form of people dropping stuff off at the shul, they don't need.
One person dropped off a book with a swastika. Said it was a Jewish book about how bad the Nazis were. It was still offensive. For some reason, it was still offensive. They said they wanted to get rid of the hole in their house.
Right after Shabbis, everybody went to Tinoli’s Supermarket. They ran out of Kedem grape juice. Worst deal. Just a waste of money on gas. A day later, Costco had three liter bottles for $4.50. Everybody was mad at Mike for all the excitement he caused. That same day, Tinoli's was restocked with grape juice. Our whole shul returned their bottles. It was like a shul event. It was either a shul event or a Tinoli's protest, for their sales prices. It was definitely the most attended shul event of the year. The board put it in the books as a success.
It was clear from the response of the membership that they didn’t want to do anything for the older people. The board decided that the programming for anybody above sixty should be dues and donations.
Leah brought up a class on how to write a proper will as a program. Everybody thought that was a great idea. The focus was where the shul belongs on the page.
The Dor LDor, generation to generation, program didn’t work out. The seniors said something about not being on phones the whole time. That caused a ruckus. I have never heard Sadie curse, but she said something about 'these Gen Z and millennial ---edy ---- ---- selfish ----s.'
Nothing was mentioned about the war. The rabbi figured that there is enough destruction in the Ukraine now. If anybody from our shul got involved, they would just cause more damage. He used the shul's renovations to express his point.
We are praying that this Purim, Frank's drunkenness doesn't destroy more of the shul.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.