Rabbi Arthur Waskow
THINKING TWICE/ TWICE ABOUT Y2K
by Rabbi Arthur Waskow
From January 1 till about February 1, 2000, there are four possibilities:
a. Synagogues do serious preparation, and Y2K in some areas does become a serious problem.
Result: Community does reasonably well in coping, neighbors have gotten to know each other much better over period of preparing, not just January crisis. Neighbors and congregants are very happy they took the trouble to train and prepare. Synagogue has less money in bank (having bought some items for preparedness) but when the neighborhood bounces back after the crisis, people are grateful to it, see their down-to-earth lives bound up in it.
b. Synagogues do serious preparation, and Y2K does not become a serious problem anywhere.
Result: Extra stocks of food, water, etc are gradually used up, or used for soup kitchens, any longer-term equipment purchased is stored away for other possible emergencies like hurricanes, etc. or used in camping trips or an adventurous Sukkot for b'mitzvah kids, or sold at a loss to surplus stores; community members get to know each other much better and more deeply (from sharing information about skills, life situation, etc).; some people sneer at synagogue leadership for taking all that trouble; others feel good about the communal connections ; "the day nothing happened and we REALLY made Shabbos" becomes a congregational memory and joke. Synagogue has less money in bank.
c. Synagogues do nothing, and Y2K in some areas does become a serious problem.
Result: Some people who need medicines that are not available get very sick, people flee from hardest-hit metro areas, some old people die from lack of fuel or water. Synagogue stays as (ir)relevant to people's real lives as it has been before, but other institutions (Red Cross, National Guard, maybe church soup kitchens), become much more important to them. Synagogue has same money in bank that it did but there may have been damage to unprepared building, etc. Some congregants mutter that they wish someone had urged them to prepare.
d. Synagogues do nothing, and Y2K does not become a serious problem anywhere.
Result: Nothing changes.