Posted by Julia Bendis
For months, my family and I have been looking for the perfect Congregation to join. Its not easy when you have many needs. I wanted a place where the Rabbi is young and energetic, and has the patience to work with children. A Rabbi who stays current on all that is happening in the world, but relates his services to us that live in America. As much as I sympathize with Israel and the challenges it faces every day, I don’t necessarily want to hear about it at every single Shabbat service. I want to learn more about being Jewish, and how to educate my children better, not be constantly reminded how I need to give more to the people of Israel! How much more can I give to the people of Israel? Its enough that every six months I get a call from the Jewish Federation telling me its that time of the year, again. What time is that, you ask? The time of the year when they call the Jews of America to guilt them into giving money to Israel, again. They need my money to plant more trees in Israel. How many f-ing trees do you need in a country the size of Rhode Island?
So after visiting many, we finally decided on a Reform Temple not far from our house; signed away out first born, gave away half of my paycheck and some lunch money for my boy’s religious school and were ready to embark on our religious journey. That is until I took my son to my favorite Jewish Doctor, who happened to inform me that the Rabbi of the very same Congregation that we just joined was a philanderer, and had an affair with one of the Congregants. Let me re-phrase it. A very married Rabbi had an affair with one of the women in his Congregation. Now, like I wrote before I do not judge nor condone that behavior. I don’t care what he does in his free time, he could be sleeping with five different women for all I care. What I do care about is him continuing to preach about doing the “right thing” in life, being a “good person”, “being honest”, etc. If he just came out to the whole Congregation and told the truth, I would have no problem listening to his sermons. Otherwise, I have a very big problem listening to him preach about “being a good Jew and a human-being”.
How does it happen that out of the myriad of Synagogues out there, we end up picking this one? As much as I love a little drama, chaos and disorder, this is a bit much for my taste. Do we keep going to this Temple pretending like everyone else in Orange County that everything is peachy, or take back our money, our first born and get the hell out of there?
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