Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

No politics (well, not much.)

My synagogue has a tradition called "The New Member Tea" - anyone who joined after the previous one (always in November) gets in free and everyone else pays $18 and/or sponsors someone else. I actually didn't go to mine - I went to Eclecticon in Newark instead. It's held on Saturday night; there's a bagel and lox buffet, the rabbi says a few words of Torah (we have him do this at any major gathering. He's a wonderful speaker, plus it adds a layer of holiness) and people introduce themselves - we do that even on the rare years that new members don't attend the tea.

Well, officially, anyway. We usually just have people sitting in a rough circle introducing themselves and saying why they joined the shul. (Answers: 4. Warm and friendly environment. 3. Diverse "out of town" type community. 2. Quiet davening, with the number one reason being "the rabbi." Who does love hearing that (who wouldn't?). However, there's only so many times you can do that. Two years ago, they were asked to "justify their existence" - Jonathan is a fan of Asimov's Black Widowers - and that flustered people. Last year, they played a sort of game.

This year, we played Jeopardy. Jonathan and I wrote the questions - four categories of four questions ("Torah, shul, town and potpourri"), plus a final jeopardy of "The Rabbi's Sermons." Jonathan came up with a doozy for that final question - so much that a lot of people couldn't get past the wording. However, both contestants got it, which made everyone happy. (I divided the room roughly into two teams. We allowed hand raising, and multiple attempts by both teams, with all right answers gaining and all wrong ones losing points. At the end, each team chose a champion for final jeopardy. One team chose twice because the first one they picked didn't know the game at all.) The winner donated his prize back to the synagogue.

It worked out beautifully - any longer and people would have been bored, but as it was, people had a good time. This was sandwiched between the round of intros (this year "what do you do and tell us something interesting about yourself.") and a comedy routine that I only found out about just before the party. Fortunately, the comedian in question is very good, very funny and very tasteful, and she only did a short routine. I just wish I'd have known.

The only politics that entered into it was a discussion with the like-minded friends who drove us home. (They also adore Rachel Maddow.)

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