I'm sure you've all heard enough of the politics in my neighborhood
. But I saw something this weekend that I just couldn't ignore.
The Village I live near has a local Country Club. All residents of the Village are entitled to become members of the club, and use the facilities. However, the growing Orthodox segment of the community was unable to use the catering hall for events because the exclusive caterer was not kosher. In order to use a kosher caterer, one had to first pay the exclusive caterer their fee, and then pay the kosher caterer for the event, in essence paying double. The Orthodox began a campaign to change that. They met upon a lot of resistance from the older, largely non-Jewish or non-Orthodox members of the Club. It took a very acrimonious, contested Village Trustee election to finally open the Country Club up to allowing a kosher caterer. This, in turn, opened up the Country Club to all sorts of events, such as Kiddushes, Bar Mitzvahs and the like.
Fast forward a few years. Today, we attended a Kiddush at the Club that some friends made in honor of their new baby girl. The scene was not to be believed. Thank God, the Orthodox community has been blessed with a tremendous amount of children. Now if only we could only get their parents to supervise them.
There were kids trampling the flower beds. There were kids throwing food into the pond. There were kids climbing onto the rocks in the rock garden. There were even kids running around on the green of the eighteenth hole. There were kids smearing chulent into the carpet of the main hall.
This begs the question, in my mind at least, was the "old guard" of the Club so wrong? At the time, of course, their resistance was chalked up to anti-Orthodox sentiment, and I think that was a large part of it. But have we brought that mindset upon ourselves? When we allow our children to run amok with no parental supervision and treat the facilities like a playground, can you blame the members of the club for ruing the day they allowed a kosher caterer?
In some ways this attitude makes me feel self-hating. But am I really so wrong? If we would like to be treated like "bessere mentschen"* as my grandfather would have put it, then let's act like "bessere mentschen".
*Better People (literally), higher class people.