XGH has a typically amusing post up about how the National Council of Young Israel is a waste of time. He concludes with this: The NCYI provides nothing for it's members except for the name. And going forward, that name might just be an embarrassment.
Going forward? In the pious precincts the name already is an embarrassment, a catch all sneer for everything the very holy dislike. Just last week I overheard the King of the Shul in conversation with one of our senior, shtrimeled members.
KOS: Yeah, a few of us thought a Carlbach Shabbos might be nice while Shabbos is still starting early
SSM: Are you sure we should do that? We wouldn't want people to think we're a Young Israel.
We wouldn't want people to think we're a Young Israel.
Doesn't that just sum up everything that's wrong with the hyper-Haredi hashkofa? Even the good ideas are verboten, or at least suspect, and not because we've talked them over and weighed out their pros and cons, but because of what the neighbors might think. Fear, panic and insecurity rule the day rather than careful thought and review.
And this isn't unique to my current shul.
Once many years ago, I was part of a debate about Yigdal. [Longer version here] Some of had started davening together, and a few of us wanted to end Friday night services with Yigdal. "Uh-uh, not gonna happen," promised the owner of the house. "We're not a Young Israel!" Again the facts of the situation itself were irrelevant. Yigdal has been part of Friday night services for at least 300 years, but all that mattered to the host was that nowadays Young Israelniks do it. And so :"Uh-uh, not gonna happen" To do otherwise, would be to risk calamity.
I don't know how to solve this problem, short of providing the offenders with irreversible lobotomies....