Airing our dirty laundry

Being Jewish in Hawaii is not very fun right now. In fact, on some levels, it kind of stinks.

Our congregation is going through a terrible time. Meshugas. We are fighting about the Rabbi. Shame on us. Ahana kōkō lele –or should I say “Halala ukulele?” Much of the behavior has been quite childish.

Our Temple Board has voted 8:5 to recommend not renewing his contract. They have called upon the congregation to vote on the matter and they have not provided any reasonable or substantial information as to why we should follow their suggestion. They just want us to vote.

I hear this kind of situation is not unusual. Many congregations are afflicted with similar woes. That does not make it okay.

My family is upset. That’s kind of the reason I haven’t posted on this blog for a few weeks. I have been distracted.

We have a wonderful relationship with our Rabbi and are agitated that we even have to address this issue.

He married me and my husband almost five years ago, bringing us together as a family.

Our teenager studied for and became a Bat Mitzvah with him. She is devastated at the prospect of going to shul without him. During Erev Shabbat services last week she whispered the announcement in my ear that if he goes….she is not coming back to Temple.

Our younger girl is currently in the midst of the Bat Mitzvah process. She asked to study with him and enjoys their weekly sessions.

It’s not just about a contract, it is about relationships. I am being asked to consider severing a very important personal and family relationship because other people are mad about something and won’t even talk about it with me.

This is like a bad divorce where the adults are fighting and taking sides and don’t even consider how the potential loss affects the kids.

It wasn’t until I was reading the debut issue of Mana Magazine this morning that I wanted to write this blog post.

Mana is “published by a jointly owned subsidiary of The Kālaimoku Group and Pacific Basin Communications.” According to an article in Hawaii Reporter, co-publisher John Aeto said, “We hope to inspire serious exchange, sharing contrasting opinions and ideas on the hard-hitting topics such as governance, education, health, income and more.”

Let’s learn from the Hawaiians. We live in Hawaii. I enjoy the unique and wonderful choice of being Jewish in Hawaii and I won’t let it be spoiled.

“Mana” in the Hawaiian language means power or authority, sometimes spiritual or divine power. I think that our Temple’s mana needs some reorganization.

The magazine mentions kukakuka-talk story and discussion. Yes. We need that.

An article that covered the recent visit from the Dalai Lama deeply moved me. We should take a step back and learn from his message. “He spread his message of compassion, trust and human oneness, and absorbed the intricacies of the meaning of aloha.”

Exactly–the meaning of aloha. How about Shaloha?

He is quoted in the article, “Century of peace does not mean there are no longer any problems among humanity. Problems will be there, even increasing. So, the only way to deal with the problem? Not through violence, not through using force, but through logic, through reason, on the basis of mutual respect, dialogue. This should be the century of dialogue.”

How can I teach my children about peace when they can’t even find it at the Synagogue?

Hawaiian culture engages in the practice of Ho’oponopono – reconciliation and forgiveness. That’s what we need.

And we need a lot of practice.