Sunday, November 13, 2005

old friends

Two of my old high school friends have graduated an Orthodox Rabbinical school, RSA Chofetz Chaim, and became Rabbis. It is the end of a long process and the school has a big fund-raising dinner to celebrate. Each of the new rabbis sends out a letter to everyone they know in the world asking them to put a congratulatory message in the school's ad journal. It didn't say so in the letter, but assumedly they only graduate if they can raise more then the minimum amount. This is the final test as to whether they will be good rabbis or not. Some rabbis are too good, like those from the Kabbalah Center in Israel, and they go to jail. Others are just not shnorrers and they are relegated to a nice seat in a kolel. The rest learn how to play the game and collect just enough to stay happy and healthy without raising any eyebrows.

I have the feeling that my old friends are failing. The personal letter I got asking for a donation started off Dear Mr. & Mrs...,
I am not a friend of his parents who watched him grow up. I was not a senior in school when he was a freshman who forced him to call me Mister. We were in class together. We are the same age. We were friends. It is not respectful of him to call me Mister, it is down right insulting.

Maybe they don't know how to use a computer well enough to say, write first names on certain records and titles on others. Maybe the yeshiva sent it out for them and they have a stupid requirement for titles. Whatever reason they had for doing this, I am confident that the letter didn't give the feeling of "my buddy's done good, I'm going to send some money and congratulate him." The letter gave a feeling of, "We haven't talked in 10-15 years and he is sending a form letter to everyone he knows."

So why am I splitting an ad with a couple of friends? I think sometimes you have to ignore what is on the outside and realize that what has happened is that "some old buddy's done good."

3 comments:

Just Shu said...

Nat and I got a thank you letter for a gift that we gave to good friends, and it was titled Mr and Mrs Zacks...we razzed him about it for a while

R Draiman said...

Sim, I hear where you're coming from on this. While on the one hand I think it may be attributing too much to negative intentions and harping on an issue, I think there is merit to advocating that people asking for money -who expect you to take the time to write and mail a check- should bother taking the time to look over and personalize the request.

rockofgalilee said...

rafi,

I don't see any negative intentions here. I see a lack of intentions. Don't they teach them how to fundraise? What have they been learning for the past 14 years?

I didn't actually see the ad that I put in with a couple friends, but my suggestion was it should be signed

"Your close, personal friends,
Mr. and Mrs.
Mr. and Mrs.
Mr and Mrs.
"