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Our rabbi poached the members back. Finally, he went into Congregation Anshei Sinah for Minyin and got them back. Go for Minyin is a great undercover move. You go to pray with others and then you steal them.
Anshei Sinah originally poached them with a Shabbat dinner. They gave free dinner and we lost our congregants. That's all it took, free dinner. And then they never came back.
Susan got a retainer. Finally, her braces are off, and we have another opportunity for a Shidduch in our congregation. Issue is she has been sucking everything through the top of her retainer. It’s a constant ‘chach.’ It’s like a young girl ‘chach.’ I hear chachs from Fran and Bernie all the time, during Musaf. Now, we have to hear chachs from Susan.
We had the awards ceremony. These were the awards. Best Poaching award, given to Rabbi Falsinman at Beit Knesset Topelovitch. He came to our shul and shook hands once. We lost members. Sim was so honored to be worst son-in-law. Sarah was honored with loudest member of sisterhood. Sadie is still the scariest. Sarah is heard everywhere.
No awards for most giving member of Beis Kneses Emes uSefilah. No nominees.
Tu BShvat Seder didn’t go that well. The congregants kept on talking about Anshei Sinah's free dinner and how their dinner didn't have dried fruit. They were still enamored by the free dinner compote. The Seder questions were about why we couldn't have a compote, and why this is the worst Seder they have ever had.
The rabbi decided he had to bring up the morale after the Seder. He told the congregants to stop being annoying. I think that helped.
New programming at shul has been at a high. We had an amazing concert. They made people wear masks. The mask mandate drew five people. The rest were on Zoom. The mask rule brought everybody together online, which was not felt by any congregants. It brought people together online and emptied the shul.
We need to have people in shul to justify this building. Masks are not helping. It seems that the shul is happy having programs with nobody showing up in person. I've gotten in much trouble for saying that people not showing has hurt the community feel.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
Shabbat Shalom My Flock
‘And Moshe went out to greet his father-in-law’ (Shemot 18:5). You don’t even say goodbye. You make sure he leaves the house and you lock the door behind him… It’s a Halacha to walk somebody four Amot out of the house. Six feet… You look through the peephole to make sure he’s gone. You make sure he’s gone six feet...
Greet people. At least make them feel like they're wanted... Exactly. That's why nobody wants to join the back left of the shul. If you were your own shul, we would have more people here... Because you wouldn't be here...
I call you my flock, because I am bringing you closer to Gd. It's a way of welcoming and making you better people...
(Shemot 18:8) ‘And Moshe told the story to his father-in-law’ of the leaving of Egypt... Stories mean something when told by a good storyteller, Hymie.
Yitro then blesses H' (18:10-12)... Because it was a good story. Nobody has ever said, 'Thank Gd, I just heard that story about Fran's grandchildren visiting her and going apple picking again'... He praises Gd. You guys can't even show up to Minyin...
He sees the goodness. Even on Pesach, you can’t appreciate H’s goodness. You hate the Seder. Every question is, ‘Why are we finished eating already on all other nights? Why on this night have we not started yet?’… All complaining. Yitro sees the good…
The story went over great, because he listened.... You people never listen. Of course you get nothing out of the rabbi's sermons. Because you don't listen...
Rashi says he told the story in order to bring his father-in-law closer to the Torah… No. Your stories push people away. They’re bad jokes, Hymie. They bring people away from the Torah… Anshei Sinah didn’t have to poach Merv. He left. Your stories pushed him away from our shul…
Yitro connected… I also can’t connect with Hymie’s jokes about mother-in-laws… We don’t know if Moshe’s mother-in-law liked him… No. He doesn’t mention her being a nag…
(Shemot 18:9) 'And Yitro became one with all the good...' He connected with it, because he was listening. That is why it was good… There is no good here right now. Not even the rugulach at Kiddish. The Tu BShvat Seder was blah… The only positive is that we were able to poach back some of our members.
'VaYichad,' and he became one, according to your rabbi's translation. You cannot become one without listening, without connecting. He became one because he became emotionally involved… It was Kyle’s Bar Mitzvah and you didn’t even realize it… Your speech to your son was about Frank’s hole in one…
He dropped the ball with the synagogue's Matzah for Mitzvah event... Shimon didn't become one with it. He didn't commit... You don't not have responsibility when you don't take it. It's there when you listen... Chaim got a D on the test, because he didn't listen. He still had to take the test... Responsibility to not drop the ball. Responsibility to have fun and to not be self-conscious about caring and being the Mitzvah Matzah Jew of Congregation Beis Emes uSefilah. You all have it in you to be Mitzvah Matzah Jews... Listen. Hear the Mitzvot. Connect to the story...
They had mutual respect. Moshe went out to greet his father-in-law. He saw that he had responsibility. The responsibility of respect/Kaavod… Your father-in-law comes, and you’re hiding in the basement, Freida… I hear it from him. He comes to Minyin to find you. He asks, ‘Have you seen Freida?' And then he leaves the Minyin…
And how many of you show any Kaavod? You can't show Kaavod if you don't connect... The teenagers don't connect. There's no happiness. They can't open their mouths to say hello, unless it was a grunt… Yes. His father-in-law had his wife and kids. You left your family years ago, Simmy… You weren’t leading a nation. Simmy’s Hardware staff is not a nation… They’re good people there, but they're not a nation. Are they coming to you with questions about what to do when you murder somebody?... Then, you're hiring the wrong people...
Yes, Yitro connected with the story. Rashi translates the word ‘VaYichad’ as 'It made Yitro happy.' What did? Was it the story, or the story coupled with the action of the respect he showed?... Connecting makes you happy... When you're happy, you connect. Nobody connects with Samantha and Rob...
Nobody is happy here. When you don’t say ‘Hi,’ for some reason, people don’t connect… Nobody is happy to see you, Melvy. You don’t smile… I think you chase people away. And then make sure they’re gone. You make them not want to be one with you… You create great divisiveness. Keeps your father-in-law away…
We all want stuff. We all want everybody to hear what we have to say. But do we go out to greet the people. Or do we force them to come to us... To stroke your egos, you talk to them... A lot of ego stroking. The ark opening honor fiasco last Yom Kippur. And then the Hagbah Torah rollout competition. All ego. You do nothing to make others happy, and the story is all about you... The hardware store is great and you have amazing sales on snakes and plungers... Your store is not a nation Simmy...
It is the responsibility we have to the world, to greet them, like Moshe. The responsibility of being a person, like Yitro who listened. Not like Dr. Gershstein who fell asleep again... Yep. He's sleeping during the sermon again.
That is the responsibility of the Jew. To show the respect and tell the truth. The two responsibilities together is what attracts other people... There is no responsibility to not care and act like a selfish... Melvy.
It’s the stories of the people. The Simcha of connecting only happened when his good son-in-law was there, telling it to him… Stories of commitment. Of connection. Of Nachis.
His son-in-law brought him Nachis. Kyle brought no Nachis at his Bar Mitzvah… Worst reading…
Brings the grandkids. Gershom and Eliezer. (18:3-4) The names, 'I was a sojourner,' and 'Gd was with me'… What does Kyle mean, Berel?... No Nachis. That’s what the name means… You didn’t even name him after somebody… Moshe was a sojourner. You've never traveled outside of Topeka. Menachem. You sojourn into shul… Whatever you’re doing, you saunter in… It’s a stroll. A mope. You mope into shul… The shul doesn't even welcome sojourners. They all get Melvy faces when they come in here... That's exactly how it looks...
If Yitro was alive now, he wouldn't want to be Jewish… Bernie. If he saw you… He wouldn’t want to identify. The Sisterhood’s Kiddish… It was stew. We eat choolante… What miracle has taken place in this congregation? Frank’s hole in one. I think that was the last miracle over here… That story… It's the only miracle... Michaela did wear a hat one week that was not huge, and didn't block the whole fourth row. That was a miracle. Yes.
If you would listen to me, you would be one with Gd… You would be happy.
People connect with good, happiness, mutual respect, and kind people who bring them Nachis, and listen to them... You don't listen. You fell asleep at the Shiva house, Bernie... They were talking about their love for their father...
If we’re going to re-poach our members, we have to bring happiness. That means that we have to get rid of the men in the back left section… Then smile. And yes, respect their belief in vegetarianism… I am with you. But respect it. We need the vegetarians in this congregation… For membership. We need dues, Sadie…
He was a bit overbearing… Yes. Yitro comes in and tells him he’s doing everything wrong. ‘Got to run this advice racket differently, Moshe…’ Still not as bad as Melvy. If we’re rating father-in-laws… Bernie…
And now, that there is connection, listening, the Torah is given to our nation. 'We shall do, and we shall hear'... You figure out the message. Why do I have to do everything for this congregation? Yitro tells Moshe to depend on others. I can't even depend on you for a decent Kiddish, or to visit the sick. I can depend on you for a messed up Shiva call... This is why I have to make all the decisions. We should disband the board...
Susan wants attention... Then why are you chaching?... You moved onto a retainer? Let's see those teeth... Finally. I can look to that side of the shul without a glare. No more flashing a silver smile. Susan come up here… No. This is Nachis. This is bigger than a Bat Mitzvah. She got her braces off…
Rivka’s Notes on Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon
The rabbi tried, but he couldn't get rid of the board. The board voted against it. However, the rabbi did let them all know that if he saw this shul, Yitro would've been on his side.
It was messed up. Yitro is right. The rabbi can’t do it alone. In our shul, he has to.
I don’t think the congregants got the rabbi’s message. They weren’t listening.
Here’s the Shul Play by Play this week:
Henry leaves glasses on his Siddur. Has no respect for the prayer book. He thinks the hardback Siddur is a glasses holder. Perfect for resting spectacles.
The whole men's section is not happy to be in shul. They go for a long Kiddish club break. We had to wait twelve minutes to start Musaf.
The Levi gets the Kohen Aliyah. We can't get one priest in our shul. They run away from us. Ever since we decided to not tithe to them, they've stopped coming. It's pathetic. Now the Levi gets that Aliyah. Even Dr. Cohen isn't a Kohen.
Kids opening the ark is a nightmare every time. All the kids want to do it, as they think that's how you get more lollipops. There's no such thing as spiritual reward for doing a Mitzvah. It's lollipops. So, a fight breaks out every time they open the ark, and then one of the kids, who's not going to be an engineer, can't figure out that they're pulling the rope wrong. So the curtain keeps banging shut.
This past week the rabbi was out of lollipops. The kid that fought to open the ark, threw down his Tallis. It was a strong statement for a four-year-old. Very Chuzpadik.
Hatikvah was a nice idea. We do it every week. People singing isn't. The fact that the congregants try to harmonize Hatikvah is messed up. Hearing their offness during Davening is enough.
There were three women in women’s section. A little snow and nobody comes. Any excuse to not come. COVID seems to have been an excuse for two years already. They blame the rabbi for people not coming and the snow. As Bernie said, 'He's supposed to be talking to Gd about this stuff.'
Frank didn't get another hole in one. But they still talked about the hole in one he did get the other time.
Shmulik, the Israeli guy, made Kiddish more formal. He stood there with his arms crossed in front of him. It was a very serious look. Everybody showed more respect and stopped talking when the rabbi made the Kiddish, at Kiddish. Shmulik looked like he was guarding the grape juice. The front arm cross is a good look.
The Shul concert was nice. The people came to eat. The eight people in the room were eating the whole time. Nobody sat the whole concert. It was like a Kiddish. They stood, they ate, they talked. Even the people on Zoom were eating and talking; they wanted the shul feel in their house, with the ability to mute the rabbi.
Many of our congregants have mastered the Kiddish method of standing, so you don't waste time with having to get food. You're already there. Also, if you sit, other people have a chance of getting some kishka too.
I got into the concert. Love the Jewish music with Psalms. I was foot stepping, the whole time. I call it pumping the gas. I like it. I feel like when I'm pumping the gas pedal, I’m playing the drums.
They called it a Kumzits concert. I love it, because I don’t need to dance. It's like a Jewish folk concert. You sit. You maybe clap. You pump the pedal. Sometimes I clap. It feels like I'm playing the tambourine.
We do need to be nicer in this shul. People only want to join a congregation where people are nice. The stories mean nothing. However, Frank's hole in one had everybody enamored for weeks last spring. That’s all we could talk about. I felt bad for the Bar Mitzvahs. Kyle had it hard. There were many Mazel Tovs, but Kyle didn’t get one. The hole in one was the real pride of the congregation that season. I think there was a Bris, and they decided to name the golf ball.
I call them Matzah Mitzvah Jews. When you do the Mitzvahs, it's a Matzah. Great slogan. The shul ran with that, until the program didn't work out. We learned our lesson. Not alliterations make good programs. Tiki Torches and Torah had me questioning what was going on.
Thanks to the rabbi’s advice, I started walking my guest six feet out of the house, to make sure they were gone.
Susan getting out her braces was huge. She's a good girl. She smiles. Nobody else in the shul smiles. This is why we lose all of our members. Nobody wants to walk into a shul where people stare at you. You come here for a year, they're still staring at you.
The fact that we have to poach back members is pathetic.
The shul styles are messed up. The men are still wearing double breasted suits. We've got Michaela who joins hats to get extra girth out of them. Martin wears a cowboy hat. There's a reason we lose members. When you're blocked by people's clothes, it's just rude.
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Wearing Israeli flags. Showing their support for Israel at the rally in DC. It would’ve been smarter if they brought coats. Based on experience, flags don’t work as good windbreakers.