the nasty letter archive

in september of 2000, i received a call at work from a board member who had been helping me with my job. he explained that the minutes of the last board meeting needed to be sent with a reminder and agenda for the next meeting. the board member told me the bylaws had recently been changed to allow for emailed correspondence and i needed to send it to all board members. so i did.

a week or so later, i received a letter from a founding member of the synagogue, the husband of a past president. he called me an idiot, prejudiced again luddites who have no interest in email. he could not believe i hadn't sent any communication to his wife, a former synagogue president. he found it insulting to the synagogue and would make sure that everyone knew how awful i was.

i had been at the synagogue for 9 months. i had next to no training for the job. i was doing the best i could, the last thing i wanted to do was insult anyone and honestly, i had no idea. i was mortified.

i came clean. i needed to know if i'd actually fucked up. so, i told the board member who had been helping me out and he rolled his eyes and laughed. when i told the rabbi, he also laughed and said that the letter writer was a pussycat. 

the letter writer and i eventually found our way to an uneasy peace. his wife, the past president, and i eventually became friends. they've both passed away. i'd be lying if i said i didn't miss them a little.

in my desk there was a file of letters. there were letters of complaint my predecessor had received from members, nasty memos from board members and the rabbi. i didn't find it right when i'd taken over the job. it took awhile. when i did find it, i felt a little better. so i put my nasty letter in the file and added a few more over the next decade. when i left, i buried the file in my filing cabinet. i wonder if its been unearthed yet. i hope that when its found, it makes someone feel a little better about the hits they've taken.

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