Focus Groups


I was part of a focus group in 6th grade. I don't remember much about it--just that we got candy afterwards. Last night, I was part of a focus group. It isn't that it wasn't run well. It was. I guess my problem with it was timing. A focus group after the decisions had already been made. After. That is the problem. I want my voice to be heard. But I didn't notice any note taking when I expressed that timing may have had an impact on turn out. Did have an impact on turn out. Well, that and all of the cancelled sessions.

People use their synagagues for many different reasons. It is hard to meet everyone's needs and that problem is one that I really do understand. Really. I do. Sometimes we have to create groups or situations within our own communities to get all of our needs met. There is a reason I attend Chabad events and daven occassionally at Base Abe. There is a reason I attend and participate in JCC programs like the Women's Spirituality Retreat and Nishmah's conferences.

That being said, it is undeniable that I am bitter that Rabbi N's contract is not being renewed in the capacity that he originally contracted. This means I am losing not one but both of my teachers. And my rabbi, Rabbi R., is going to be overbooked. One really nice thing about my rabbi is that he is accessible in a way that other Conservative rabbis are not.

My world will change. I will deal with it. But I am also sad. Sad that two wonderful people I love are leaving. Sad on the missed personal growth opportunities when they are no longer here to teach me with their wisdom. Angry that the focus group is after that decision was made. Worried about my rabbi's ability to be everything to all people all the time and the toll it may take on him. I don't want him to leave because he feels he has to choose between working 90 hours a week and his family but I wouldn't blame him either.

And so we carry on. Hoping for the best.