Apparently Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and I have a few things in common. He went to the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, and so did I, albeit several years later. He's a member of Anshe Sholom Bnai Israel, and so am I. I think I trump him on ASBI membership, though, as I've been a member for 27 years and have somehow wound up on the Board of Directors.
I find it fascinating how many people have commented on, via phone, email or Facebook, the fact that Rahm Emanuel is a member of my shul. It's not as though I see him every shabbos. I wouldn't know his wife or kids if they cut in front of me at the kiddush table. He's a famous, increasingly influential person that happens to pay dues at the same shul as my husband and I.
The bewildering part is that so many eyes now seem to be on ASBI, and Rabbi Lopatin. It's as though the shul is now a reflection of Rahm Emanuel, and vice versa, and I'm not sure that this makes all that much sense to me. How many of us go to shuls where we frequently find ourselves disagreeing with something the rabbi said? Or that another member said? Paying dues to a shul does not mean that you henceforth vow to agree with every statement and stance uttered by everyone else associated with that shul. Or does it?
On a personal note, while I'm excited about a Jewish Chief of Staff, I wish he did not belong to my shul. ASBI has been in the spotlight in Jewish (and occasionally non-Jewish) media for cutting edge ideas and practices that cut more edges than I'm comfortable with. I can't help but wonder how this added publicity will affect my shul. To be continued...