Thursday, May 12, 2011

Am I out of line?

An upcoming Lag b'Omer program at our shul was billed as being "For young couples and young families."  I don't think of myself as either, not because I feel sorry for myself for NOT being particularly young, but because I don't want to broaden the definition of "young family" to include every single couple with children. 
 
(As a mama of teenagers, I feel more "old family" most of the time, and I'm proud of every minute I've put into parenting over the last seventeen years.)
 
If the shul had a ton of events for every age group, I don't think I would complain.  But I think (I hope) my point here is that it's NOT a big shul and they DON'T have many programs - so quit focusing only on a single demographic.  This is something that has upset my mother a few times, and so I thought it was time someone actually spoke up.  Am I out of line in complaining (gently)?  Here's the kvetch I sent to the shul's Executive Director, with a cc to the program organizer. 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 6:38 PM
Subject: Fw: Upcoming JFI Programs

[people's names here]:
 
I thought I should let you know that I was disappointed by promotions for the upcoming Lag b'Omer BBQ, which apparently only welcomes "couples" and "young families."  I don't consider myself to be either a couple or a young family (though we have young kids), but even if we were, I'd still prefer events that include a wide demographic including singles, older people and childless couples.
The fact that the shul is specifically excluding ANYONE makes me very uncomfortable.  This is no small thing - words matter.  Since there's still a couple of weeks to go between now and Lag b'Omer, perhaps you could even change the wording of the flyer so nobody's feelings are hurt.  I realize this is a Jewish Family Institute event, but Jewish families are multigenerational and diverse, so it would be nice if everybody in the shul felt welcome if they wanted to come.
 
(p.s.  In case you're wondering, this is a disturbing trend I've noticed - lots of "young couple" and "young family" programming through JFI, which is great, but almost nothing for anyone who isn't married or raising kids.  One event last year even said something about "bringing your bubby" - well, not everybody in the shul still HAS a bubby... and some people actually ARE bubbies, but still want to feel included.)
 
Just my thoughts - thanks for listening!

2 comments:

  1. Brava! Just because a shul has a large cohort of "young families" (whatever those are - do 45-year-old parents of a 10-month-old baby count?) doesn't mean they can or should exclude others. I'm glad you called them out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are totally "in line" and I think it's awesome that you are standing up for yourself and others who don't "fit".

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