One of my next -- and undoubtedly ongoing -- steps is deciding what to get involved with at the temple.
I started with low-hanging fruit and offered to teach an adult education class on a novel, which I'm now signed up to do next year. Should be fun but isn't a long-term commitment.
I also managed to wind up on a committee that I'm already regretting, which is a good lesson to move warily. It's the committee on social justice, which of course is a very good thing, but I initially wound up on a subcommittee that I didn't like in large part because the chair of that subcommittee is not a very good communicator, plus I felt like I was getting myself in over my head with commitments. But then I cleverly shifted my position from that subcommittee to the communications team for the social justice committee as a whole, thinking, "hey, one of my annoyances with this whole committee is its poor communication, so why don't I fix that?" And that was indeed a good move, although now somehow I'm on the "core team" of that committee by virtue of my communications work. I'm already having to work hard to keep clear boundaries about how much work I will or won't do, and I've found the two monthly core team meetings thus far somewhat irritating.
So let this be a lesson to me! I feel like I've got to stick it out on that committee through next May or June (temple things tend to run on a school calendar), and I need to be very, very careful about anything else I commit to.
On that note, imagine my surprise (and some bewilderment) at coming home last night to a letter from my lovely rabbi as well as the temple president and vice president, inviting me to participate in the temple's "Emerging Leaders" program, which they define as "a special opportunity designed to engage you in leadership at Temple X and to encourage you to participate in shaping and realizing the vision of our congregation." Apparently I've been identified as someone who could be a "new, engaged leader" who is "energetic, empowered and creative." Oh, sure, that's what they're saying to all of the emerging leaders!
Anyway, this invitation involves two-hour weekly sessions for six weeks next November and December in which we will "explore our temple's mission and vision, develop leadership skills, understand current governance, investigate personal leadership styles and set goals for your own involvement." They expect 10-20 folks to participate.
The question is, what do you think all of this means? On the face of it, it sounds like a fabulous opportunity to figure out the answer to my question of how exactly I want to be involved in the temple. But I don't know that "on the face of it" is the most accurate reading! As soon as I hear the word "governance," I get fretful, because I really don't want to be on the Temple board; I was a vestry member for three years at an Episcopal church, and I was on the faculty governance committee at St. Martyr's, and it turns out that I don't really enjoy that sort of thing. The other possibility I thought of is that the temple has been going through a capital campaign, and I wondered if this was one of those "please give us money" things, but (a) the rabbi knows that we don't really have money, and (b) I don't think they would create a six-week, two-hours-each meeting structure just to get someone like me to give money. D. thinks that this is a strategic planning group. And certainly strategic plans are important, but I'm not sure that they're my gift. (Of course, I don't really know what my gift is.)
I already put the dates on my calendar, but I have a week before I need to commit, and I'm going to talk with the rabbi before I do so. The letter says that they "believe this will be a meaningful opportunity for your own personal Jewish growth," and that sounds great, but I'm going to ask questions and look before I leap. One temple obligation I'm not wild about is plenty for the year to come!