Friday, September 21, 2012

Trying to see my actions thru others' eyes, 2

Part one is here.

When I first began wearing a tallit, it was considered unusual, but not offensive--after all, I belonged to an egalitarian congregation full of feminists.  Even when we moved to "outer borough" and, for lack of a better local alternative, joined a non-egalitarian Conservative synagogue, the other congregants, while quite taken aback, never tried to stop me from donning a tallit and never asked me to remove it.  I'm embarrassed to say that I've never been as tolerant of their preference as they've been of mine.  For years, I tried to push the congregation to become egalitarian.  I've "mellowed out" enough after 28 years of membership to realize that the shul is likely to close its doors (for lack of members, as many of our figurative and literal old-timers pass away) before becoming egalitarian.  It doesn't hurt, either, that one or two of my regular commenters have taken me to task for trying to impose my practice on others and/or expecting them to accommodate me even when they find my practice offensive.  Point taken.  Even though my current thinking is that it's highly unlikely that I'll ever become Orthodox, if I changed my mind, I'd pray the Shacharit/Morning Service up to the Torah reading at home, then remove my tallit and go to shul, rather than worrying about finding one of the three and a half Orthodox synagogues on earth in which my tallit-wearing wouldn't be offensive.

Another change that I'm trying to making in my attitude and actions is to tone down my tendency to appear and/or act "holier than thou."  Who am I to criticize someone else's observance level?  Working on becoming more tolerant and less judgmental is another goal of mine for 5773.

Yet another goal of mine for this new year is to become less self-centered and more sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.  I've developed a bad habit of thinking less about how difficult situations affect  the people who are actually dealing with them and more about how they affect me.  This is truly unconscionable, and I'm bound and determined to change my actions and attitudes.

I have my work cut out for me in 5773.


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