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Points of View
To Serve You Better
My Point of View, March, 2006
© Rabbi Jack Moline

It is a measure of just how much people care about Agudas Achim that they devote so much time to it. There is no more dedicated corps of people than the folks who volunteer for leadership in the congregation, in Sisterhood and in Men's Club. It is the privilege of the staff to enable their good work to keep our community vital and moving forward.

There are four members of the full-time staff. In addition to me, our Hazzan, Education and Youth Director and Executive Director put in full-time plus on our responsibilities. Shortly, we will again have a full-time Pre-School Director. While there are occasions when a lull occurs, mostly our days are full with both the regular demands of our various positions and the unique needs that emerge for members and groups of members of the congregation.

I'd like to tell you that we go home each night to enjoy our time with family and friends. But there are meetings, classes, programs and individual appointments that speak for our time as we try to accommodate the fact that our devoted members are most available when they are not at their day jobs. So when we indeed find ourselves at home for an evening or a Sunday afternoon or even a quiet dinner, the time is precious.

That's why I ask you to think twice before you pick up the phone or send an e-mail with the expectation that one of us will attend to your needs outside of business hours. Of course, I do not refer to messages left at or sent to our synagogue addresses that's why we have answering machines and a synagogue server. Rather, I mean calling any of us at home for a non-emergency.

You may be troubled by something going on in our building; you may think you have found a discrepancy in your bill; you may have just finished talking to a cousin who wants to read Torah on a visit; you may have just received the schedule of school activities that conflict with synagogue expectations. Please resist the urge to call the staff at home because it is more convenient or immediate for you. Nothing that isn't an emergency and you know what is and is not an emergency cannot wait until the next business day.

Almost everyone in the congregation has been considerate of me and my family to a fault. Rare is the knock on my door for a key or the evening call to check a yahrtzeit date. But as I have talked with other members of the staff, the record is not as good. They are reluctant to say no to these intrusive calls because they genuinely wish to help and they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I have instructed them to get over their reluctance (we'll see if they do), but I am hoping that you will make that choice unnecessary.

Thank you for being understanding. We can serve you better if we have the focus to do our jobs when they need to be done and to leave them at the office when our time is our own. And we can be better available to rise to the occasional emergency if we know that the times that are not emergencies belong to us.

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