A while ago, the Jewish community offered me a position which carries some amount of prestige but is a huge time commitment. I politely declined, for exactly that reason. Next thing I know, I'm being publicly congratulated on my new appointment.
Gaaaaah. It's not that I absolutely hate the idea of having this job, and I appreciate that it's the first time in the synagogue's history that they have appointed a female gabbai. But it's very sneaky and underhand to corner me into accepting a job I'd already turned down, by springing it on me in public. The reason I said I couldn't do it is that I already have a lot of Jewish community related commitments, and specifically because I really do not want to be obliged to show up to shul a few minutes before the start of the service every Friday evening and Saturday morning. I do go to services most Fridays and Saturdays anyway, but sometimes I'm a little late, and sometimes I have a non-Jewish guest I don't want to abandon, and sometimes I want to take a whole weekend to travel, and sometimes I just need a flipping break!
Of course it had to happen this week, when I'm already stressed about getting too many responsibilities piled on me. When I had Jewish-related commitments Saturday, Monday morning, Monday evening, Tuesday morning, Thursday morning, Thursday evening, Friday all day, and next Saturday as well, not to mention some of the preparation and admin for this stuff that needs to be done during the week but not at a fixed time. This level of crazy is the exception, not the rule, but even so.
Yes, I'm up past my bedtime yet again, but I needed to vent about this.
Thanks, your being so decisive about it helped me to be firm myself and not just go along with it because I'm too nice to let people down. It's not a language problem, it's another level of miscommunication.
Part of the problem is that we don't have a rabbi or an effective exec at the moment, which is why they're desperate for more gabbaim. In the interim the cantors, gabbaim and various strangely elected and horribly divided bodies (the standard Swedish style of government for any group of more than three people) are attempting to run the show. There is no real authority just now. But I am talking to the people who have most influence over this, as far as I am able to identify such people.
Great snark, and it made me feel better. But it's quite important for me not to be rude to this community, however much they deserve it. I do want to be heavily involved and reacting in kind to how they've treated me would be equivalent to walking out of the community altogether. I'm working on sorting it out diplomatically but without taking on a job I don't want just to keep the peace.
Woah! I'm out of the country for five days, I come back and you have been enslaved into a gabbai position?? Wow... this is impressive, in a twisted way. Is the person responsible for this whom I think it is? I think you have EVERY RIGHT to decline. Blame your career or something. This is absurd.
I have a Rab School interview on Thursday night, but am free Thursday and Friday during the day. Any weight I can lift off your shoulders? Feel like socialising?
Thanks so much. I hope I told you this in person but I should put it here for public record too: I really appreciate your being so comforting and friendly while I was having a stressful week. And your determination and good sense were the main thing that helped me to be assertive about this. Without your encouragement they probably would have got away with it.
Whoooaaaaaah. That's RUDE. Please, please, please, don't even start doing it, or you'll never stop. "No, I said that I'm honoured to be offered this position, but I declined. I cannot accept the role of gabbai. I will not be there this Friday."
Um, it probably goes without saying, but "no". You don't need to say "Hey, that was rude" but you do need to say "Hey, thank you, I'm extremely flattered and would love to help, but I'm afraid I already told you I can't do it, sorry." Or is there some reason you feel committed I don't understand?
Of course, there's there other side of it. Maybe it was just a miscommunication. But is there a particularly reason someone wanted you to do it? Are they lacking someone? In which case I would understand why you would want to help. Is it to make the point of a female gabbai? Again, I can see why you'd want to. Or something else? But you've already said no.
OTOH, could there be some sort of compromise? Do this instead of some of the other things you do? Or (I don't know if it's appropriate but) could there be two gabbai, and you could do it half the time (or a tenth of the time), them getting a female gabbai and you getting the honour?
Thanks for this advice. When it first happened I did feel quite committed, primarily because I was so flustered by the public announcement that I let myself be brow-beaten into some form of agreement. I didn't feel I could change my mind having said yes. But with all these comments and a good pep-talk from PbP I realized that was excessively nice and I don't have to keep my word if I was manipulated into giving it so unfairly.
They are absolutely desperate for volunteers, yes, and they are also trying to make a political point by selecting a woman. Although I approve of both of those goals, I just can't bear the thought of never having a free weekend for the rest of the time I'm here. I'm just not that dedicated! (There are already several gabbais but they need more.)
Also, the other things I do are things I have also committed to, and things that I care about more on a personal level anyway. The Bar Mitzvah education, and helping to make the Progressive group viable, and liturgical egalitarianism are all things I care about a lot more than stage managing the services where I don't even like the excessively formal style anyway.
I'm working on making it clear that I can't do this, anyway.