For my potential journalism major (which I won’t know if I can do or not until at least next winter), I need to take two political science courses–one US, one international.
As a person who can’t stand politics, I’ve been dreading these two classes. Not only will I have to listen to information about politics, but I will have to write papers, take tests, and do well on them.
But then it hit me. I found a class I can take. Though it’s not currently offered at Northwestern, I bet I could find a few people to teach it.
In this course, we would learn about all the branches of synagogue politics–the executive branch (the shul president and vice president), the legislative branch (the executive board and board of directors), and the judicial branch (the Big Man Upstairs, located in the Ark at the front of the Sanctuary).
Much of the course material would also deal with the various cabinet departments:
-Department of Education (the Hebrew school and Bar/Bat mitzvah tutoring)
-Department of Homeland Security (the ushers)
-Department of Commerce (the gift shop, and the USYers selling things)
-Department of Energy (the youth group)
-Department of Veterans Affairs (the old Yiddish-speaking men who eat herring at Kiddush)
-Department of Labor (all aspects of the synagogue relating to prayer or worship [the Hebrew word for “labor” is also used for “worship”])
-Department of Housing and Urban Development (the custodians)
Students will also learn about the Cabinet-level rank given to the presidents of the Sisterhood, the Men’s Club, and the USY chapter.
Students must spend 5-10 hours outside of class at synagogue board meetings and Kiddush lunches. They will receive extra credit if they solve synagogue problems, and extra extra credit if they provoke controversy.
Required readings will come from the following textbooks:
–Complaining about the Clergy
–‘How Many Ways Can You Serve Herring?’ and Other Tips on Making a Successful Kiddush on a Low Budget
–Six Characters in Search of a Rabbi: The Art of the Search Committee
–Writing Sermons and High Holiday Appeal Speeches for Dummies
–You Learn a Lot about a Person by their Seat in the Sanctuary
-‘Aha! That’s the Tradition!’ and Other Tales about Synagogue Customs and the Arguments they Provoke
-Not Separate, but Equal: Why Women are Allowed to Lead Shacharit but Not Wear Pants on the Bimah
-Merge Lanes, Not Synagogues: a Criticism of the Combined Synagogue
As part of their final projects, students in this class will create their own synagogue virtually, using the new software “Sim Synagogue.”
I think I’ll hold off on my political science classes until I find one like this.