Sunday, August 3, 2008

Back from Opryland

Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel in Nashville at right
Well, the last few days have been a bit of a blur, mostly blurred images of cars being passed on my way to and from Music City U.S.A. The professional Scout Executives have all assembled in Nashville, Tennessee for the annual National Leadership Training event, known in popular parlance as "All Hands." This year is proving to be a most audacious one for the Boy Scouts of America. The new Chief Scout Executive, Robert Mazucca, is implementing some big changes in this hallowed organization, trying to change the public perception of Scouting as an old-fashioned and outdated institution and attempting to focus more on reaching underserved minorities like the Hispanic community. A report in The Tennessean tells all. So, what could possess a volunteer like me to make the eight-hour drive to Nashville on Friday, only to return on Sunday before the event officially opened? Well, it was my intention to meet with Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel, who graciously accepted an invitation to lead a morning prayer service for any Jewish Scout professionals there. Friday night I got to meet with the rabbi and his lovely wife Danielle, who is expecting their first child. Saturday morning I attended relgious services at the synagogue and enjoyed a tasty Kiddush luncheon there. Sunday morning we arrived at the Opryland Hotel, the largest hotel in the world without a casino, only to get lost for several minutes. We did make it, however just a few minutes late.
As it turned out, three Jewish professionals turned up for the service: Robert Altman of Amarillo, Texas, Jonathan Glassman of Milford, Connecticut and Leo Ney from my own Southeast Louisiana Council in Metaire who lives and services the Houma, Louisiana area. It was an inspiring service and afterward we enjoyed an impromptu bagel breakfast. A nice time, but an all-too short trip to a fascinating city.

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