Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
There’s a new rabbi in our synagogue. One of my friends and I
disagreed throughout the entire search process about what we wanted
in our next rabbi, and who that person should be. She has been very
defamatory and negative about the congregation’s eventual choice. I
like the new rabbi, and while I like my friend, I do not want to
continue to have to hear bad things about a man who is sweet,
sincere, spiritual, musically gifted, and honestly someone I think I
could turn to in times of trouble. Everything I have asked her to please
contain her views when we speak, but she is like a broken record. How
can I make her hear No in a way that will stick?
Ready for Ear Plugs
You are going to have to sound like a broken record yourself. The next
time this topic occurs, let her get out a paragraph of complaining even
if it is a whining rant. Then say, We’ve had this conversation before.
You think the rabbi is X and I think the rabbi is Y. Then detail out the
various attributes you listed above and others that may have shown
up in her paragraph. Say I like this rabbi. I come to services to pray
and to lighten my soul. I’m sorry you are not happy. Feel free to talk
to the Board, the rabbi, or people who agree with you about what they
want more or less of. But I cannot take on the burden of your
unhappiness any longer. It disturbs my equanimity to have you be so
disrespectful when speaking about someone whom I consider my
spiritual leader. Can we please agree to disagree?
If she can stop complaining, you will get your way. If she cannot, tell
her you prefer not to sit with her at services. Each of our actions has
consequences. Both of you will have to deal with them. I hope you can
be kind to one another as you figure it out.