Confessions of a Shul Covid Politician

Most people cringe at the thought of politics and politicians, but if you wikipedia the word, you will find that politics is the process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The Covid crisis has tested the capabilities of Shul Politicians the world over. So I just wanted to share some challenges we are currently facing. Our particular Shul is a membership organization, with active Officers, a Board of Directors, and a Rabbi who leads and guides us.

Shul politicians want the approval of their members. At the core, that’s our raison d’etre – making our members happy. With regard to Covid, we need to develop constantly changing policies and procedures in response to the changing environment. The process involves trying to arrive at a consensus after discussing the issues with the members, officers, board and Rabbi. In the case of Covid, it’s often hard to reach a complete consensus, but with much input and discussion, it’s possible to develop policies that are safe, in the spirit of the law, and provide members with the services they need and expect.

After the policies are formulated and communicated, Shul Politicians are looking for the cooperation of the members. Cooperation sometimes morphs into compliance, and people sometimes need to be told to cover their nose, keep 6 feet distanced, and to attend a non preferred minyan location. It’s natural for people to focus on their own interests, and the Shul Politician must remember that it’s their job to nudge people into cooperation and compliance when necessary.

The payoff of these efforts for the Shul Politician is that every minyan, especially on Shabbos, is a mini-victory. In our Shul, our members are cooperative and appreciative, and that sweetens the efforts even more. May Hashem give us the continued strength to deal with this situation and bring us quickly to the days of yore, when seating, talking and funding were our primary concerns.