The Lekutei Pshatim was advertising a speech about the Jewish perspective on international law, and, as I have little else to do with my time, I decided to go. So did Mother, Mike, and Dad, but this post is going to be mainly about me. For a change.
So what the ads neglected to say was that the thing was mainly a part of the RCA convention and therefore mostly for rabbis. As we walked in five minutes before it was supposed to begin, there were masses and masses of men in black suits (now that would make a great movie) sitting about listening to some telephone hook up thingy. There was one female, and thank goodness she was there or else I would not have realized that it was a mixed event. (I think she was the wife of one of the organizers). Later, more women trickled in and there was the actual speech. Very nice, good speech, very interesting actually. Then they announced a ten minute break followed by a speech about, and I quote, "Lighting the Menorah in the Shul". Grrrrrrr. There ought to be some sort of truth in advertising rule. Because if there had been maybe, just maybe, they would have mentioned the fact that it was a twenty minute speech followed by a chat about the role of the RCA for a shul rabbi. And therefore, maybe I would have guessed that all the WOMEN and actually, all of the laymen, were going to be leaving. And then maybe I wouldn't have been stuck all alone in the women's section, hoping that nobody would come along and yell at me. Which of course, they didn't, because they were all very nice people. The only -person who noticed me was one man who came over to offer source sheets. And then I had to sneak out of the speech after the shiur part, because I do not happen to be a shul rabbi or care all that much about the RCA. I don't think anyone noticed, even the speaker, who did not go to the effort of making eye contact with my half of the room, for which I was profoundly grateful, becuase that would have meant that he would be staring at me a lot.
But that is not the point of this rant, actually, inasmuch as it has a point. The point is that I wish that the organizers had made it clear exactly what each part of the process was going to involve, and exactly who was invited. I know that it might have been uncomfortable for them, but frankly, it's a lot more uncomfortable to cower on the women's section, hoping that you aren't accidently crashing an event that is not supposed to be mixed.