Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I was asked to give input for the first annual review of a new rabbi in
our synagogue. Generally I like him, but like any newcomer to a
community that has long history, he has fallen into some bad habits,
and clearly has been influenced by a political clique that sees him as a
fast-track to accomplish ideas that much of the more mainstream
congregation has resisted for a long time. I was interviewed by a
member of that group (who is on the Board) and was not as discreet in
delivering my point of view as I suppose I should have been. Now I am
hearing myself misquoted by people who were not in the room, or on
the Board, even though I was assured the process was completely
confidential. Should I attempt to set things right or just let it blow


Dear Peeved:

Politics and gossip go hand in hand like so many other ills. Both are
difficult to control or suppress, and like the feathers once released
from a pillow, can spread far and wide with no one to contradict the
rumors or speak your truth except you. That said, the more you
inflame a controversy or story, the more energy you give it. My
recommendation is to be very focused in your response and your

I would send an email to the Board chair, cc the person who
interviewed you. In it you should say roughly this: Dear Chair: I was
interviewed as part of Rabbi X’s performance review by Person Y. I
was told my remarks would be confidential. Perhaps I was naïve to
think that meant not merely from the Rabbi but from others as well.
Since the interview I have heard myself misquoted by people who are
not even on the Board, let alone in the interview. Please instruct
Person Y to set the record straight and stop gossiping about me. You
cannot control what will happen next. But you can be sure Person Y
will not like it.