Chayal is Hebrew for soldier. It is modern Hebrew, coined by ben Yehuda, the father of modern (non-biblical) Hebrew.
Last night I went to SIP (Shul of Inane Psychopaths) to pack Chanukah bags for the IDF.
I thought I was doing tikkun olim. Okay, who's inane now?
I received a notice through WHATSAPP that the SIP was seeking volunteers last night to pack such bags.
Note the term--volunteers. Volunteers does not mean "give a fee for your service."
I arrived late (thank you MTA--I waited for any random bus from 7:28-8:05. I didn't register--Maimonides--highest type of charity-anonymous.
The young girl at the front desk asked for $36.00. I gasped. "This was a volunteer event." "Yes, but it's $36." I started to cry, "You can put it on Apple pay." I was crying and felt humiliated--"I work four jobs just to pay my rent." I showed her what I received on "Whatsapp." "Women of the UES....." "Where does it say anything about $36." She couldn't deal with my incontinent weeping. "It's okay. Just go downstairs."
I go downstairs. Apparently, it was a female service to end Shabbat. Girls dancing around the basement. I clapped. Why not. I 'm not a cactus pear. Shortly after that dance, the leader said, "Now we pack the boxes." (Which actually were bags). All the contents were laid out neatly on tables. Assembly line process. Now the problems began. People stayed in front of the table, not packing bags, just gabbing. And shooting videos and selfies. Was this a fulfillment of some sort of charitable service for the upper school? Personally, I felt offended by the focus on "me, me, me" and not on the task. Someone kept yelling at the need to not bunch up. "Walk on the outside too." No one moved. No one could. An older woman said, "We're not used to factory work. We don't do piece work." I said, "Actually, I'm quite experienced. A lot of soup kitchens I worked with in the pandemic used this method quite efficiently. People passed the boxes down the line and filled it with whatever was next." She wasn't listening. "Thank G-d none of us have this experience," she said after I spoke. Thank you Malka for the put down and the disdain for experience and those of us who didn't marry rich. The clog stayed. The presents were piss poor--long underwear, a small packet of sucking candy, a stress ball, a mini-energy bar, a mini-prayer book, two prayer cards, and "gelt" (a packet with $1). Nothing Chanukah themed. No dreidels. Not even the type of dreidels everyone gets from the random Chanukah parties that shuls sponsor. There was a high amp piped in music of Am Yisrael Chai. I had a massive headache. A man was filming the whole event. For the membership newsletter, I suppose.
The woman kept bellowing, "Stay out of the kitchen, the foods not ready." Was this the reason for the charge? I packed bags as best I could.. I tried to be a model of efficiency as long as possible. Around 9:15, when I heard the woman bellowing, "Foods ready, you can eat." Massive exodus out. I needed to go to the bathroom. I walked through the dining area--cold buffet--bagels, salads, cookies, soda, coffee, tea. I thought about taking cookies, but, really, I don't need any. I didn't know any of the women well enough to feel comfortable sitting down with them. Nor did anyone beckon me over. Really, I wouldn't pay $36 to go to this as a Chanukah party. I went back into the work room. Everyone seemed to be packing it up.
It was so poorly done. The rich people who make up the bulk of the SIP could have done better. Stress balls? Useless pap. Besides which, I (and everyone else) gets them for free--go to any conference and they throw dozens at you. Not even special individualized one--the same small balls emblazoned with the map of the world, etc. If it was up to me, I've given each one a large dreidel, the type that is stuffed with quality candy inside. Or a smaller dreidel and a bag of pretzels with which to gamble.
The average chayal knows the prayers better than the average student at SIP. Why waste space with mini prayer books, etc?
The people who make up the backbone of SIP are so freaking rich. Badly done--charging people $36? For the buffet? It should have been an honor to sponsor the buffet for the volunteers. And they could have done better with the presents.
Nice thought. Lousy execution. Bunch of SIPs.