experiments, instruments & measurement book

A Happy Coincidence: My Third Josh Nelson Performance will be at Yachdav

2/26/15

By Jessica Rothbart

“You’re from Toronto? Do you know my friend Jared?”
“ I know you from Boston University’s Hillel!”  
“Don’t I remember you getting bat mitzvahed with my baby cousin?”

Jewish geography is an amazing game. As I have moved through my life, Jewish geography has been a common theme. I was brought up in an involved Jewish home, then I chose Jewish extra-curricular activities and now I work at a non-profit Jewish organization. How do I continue to be surprised when familiar faces pop up?

Lucky for me, one of those familiar faces is Josh Nelson. Heading up the Josh Nelson Project, he is a singer, song-writer musician who is leading the charge of making beautiful, creative music that defies how Jewish music fits into the modern landscape. He will be performing as our “opening act” at this year’s Yachdav Gathering. I was excited to hear that he was chosen to kick off our wonderful day of communal learning. Yachdav is our annual day of learning with member congregations from the Coalition of Innovating Congregations. We welcome education directors, lay leaders, clergy, and teachers to come together to network, learn, celebrate, and grow in a cumulative experience that shares our accomplishments from the year and builds connections to each other. Some people may know Josh from his recent turn as Shlomo Carlebach in the Broadway musical Soul Doctor. Others may recognize him from his shock of jet black, curly hair. josh nelson

Good news, fans. I don’t think the hair is going anywhere. In fact, I remember that hair in two distinct performances from my adolescence (as a curly girl myself, I’m always on the lookout for others in the curl club). The first was at camp. One Sunday at Camp Ramah in New England, we were told there was going to be an evening performance of a band called Yom Hadash. This band featured two brothers who were not trying to make Jewish music cool – they were actually doing it! The rock infused beats got hundreds of campers off their tuchases and had us dancing until what felt like the wee hours (probably 9pm). A fan was born!

The cover of the Yom Hadash album “When We Were Young” featuring the red sun that was featured the band’s shirt.

The cover of the Yom Hadash album “When We Were Young” featuring the red sun that was featured the band’s shirt.

The next time I saw Josh with Yom Hadash, it was at a USY event in Weston, Florida. There was a critical mass of us high school aged, Floridian Ramahniks who piled onto the yellow school bus to get a dose of the excitement that Yom Hadash had brought to camp. We danced in the social hall with other audience members, hearing a mix of original Yom Hadash songs and some fabulous covers. “Mustang Sally” stands out in my mind – it was the first time I had heard it. At the end of the night, I bought a black t-shirt with a glowing red sun, the design from their album over. I’m pretty sure I still have it somewhere.

Now as a professional and mother, it’s so exciting to be able to relive these memories for the first time watching him perform as his solo act. I’m especially excited to hear his piece L’Dor Vador live, which rings especially true now  with two infants at home. Thanks to the good fortune of Jewish Geography I doubt this will be my last run in with the performer.

Hope to see you at Yachdav!

 

All Greek To Me

2/18/15

By Susie Tessel

Have you ever asked yourself why do we pray in Hebrew? Why do we pray in a language different from our native language? I have heard the following answer: We can pray to God in any language, and we know that our heartfelt prayers will be heard voiced in any language. But there is something special about Hebrew that other languages do not have, and Hebrew has a spirituality not found in other tongues. Moreover, many concepts and ideals of Judaism are best expressed in Hebrew, and translations can be inexact. For some, praying in Hebrew allows them to explore the richness and layered meanings that each word conveys. However, many people feel confounded by the different alphabet, and don’t speak Hebrew at all! Is there really a difference in using Hebrew or English in Jewish prayer and ceremony? Does the Hebrew language enable us to relate to God and the Jewish people differently from the way we might in Spanish or French or English that each word conveys? The following story helped clarify some of these questions for me.

download (1)I spent my “Junior Year Abroad” studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Each holiday break, my friends and I tried to explore, a different country or place. Over winter break, we went to Greece. We had been to other countries, but Greece was a completely different experience for us. All of the signs were written in Greek letters. NOT ONE of us spoke Greek, and seemingly none of the locals spoke English. There were no signs in English except for trademark logos like Coca Cola. It was very difficult to get our bearings. We got lost repeatedly! When we finally decoded the intricacies of the subway system, we felt thoroughly triumphant! Athens is a physically beautiful city, and standing in front of the Parthenon, the birthplace of Democracy, was very inspiring. But, all in all, we were foreigners exploring a foreign land, and nothing about that changed. Everything felt different. The people seemed to be warm and friendly, but they spoke so little English and we only spoke the couple of words in Greek our guide book provided. By the end of the week, we felt like we had gleaned about as much as were going to from Greece. The Parthenon at Dusk

We were going to leave early Sunday morning. On Friday night, we went to the large Athens synagogue. It was beautiful. We picked up the siddurim provided and it was, of course, in Hebrew and Greek. Needless to say, the Greek pages were useless to us, but the Hebrew was strangely comforting and familiar. As the Hazan started chanting the Friday Night Service, a spell was cast. We felt like we were surrounded by a warmth we had not felt. Everything looked brighter and felt friendlier. We knew we were finally at home. Most of the tunes were unfamiliar, but we could follow along, and learn the unfamiliar tunes to prayers we said in Atlanta and Chicago and New York and Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and sing along together with the locals. The new tunes were fun. The words bound us together.

We exhaled a sigh of relief. This was better already. Then, the Hazan got to the Shema. The entire congregation shouted out the words with such fervor! We knew the Shema! We could participate just as fully as anyone else! And we did! And when we did, the congregants sitting around us moved closer, and smiled wider. We had met new friends. We were all one people and, at that moment, language did not divide us. Instead, language united us!

It was such a wonderful and powerful experience – and one that I would have missed if I had not learned to pray in Hebrew.
The following morning, a family who lived in Athens invited us to join them for lunch. It was the highlight of our trip.

I felt like a member of the global Jewish club, and it was amazing!!!

Tu Bishevat Analogies

2/4/2015

By Susan Tessel

Tu Bishevat, the Jewish New Year for the trees, is here.  Since Biblical times, the Jewish People have been compared, at different moments, to one of a variety of trees.  Such comparisons abound in the book of Psalms and may be found throughout Biblical literature.  The date palm, olive trees and even walnut trees all evidence characteristics which we, as a people, also exhibit.

There are olive trees in Israel that are 1,000 years old and still produce fruit. It is very difficult to destroy an olive tree. The roots of the olive tree go down deep into the soil, anchoring it and preventing erosion. If the branches are cut off, and only the stump remains, that stump will send forth new saplings to grow again. Tu-BShevat

The date palm is also an extraordinary tree.  Every part of the date palm can be used, and every part is needed. That means that no part of the date palm tree need be wasted. The dates are for eating; the lulav branches are for Sukkoth blessings and for thatched roofs, its fibers for ropes, its leaves for sieves and its resilient trunk for building. The date palm is able to bend with the wind without breaking.

Rabbi Tarfon compared the Jewish people to a pile of walnuts in a most singular fashion:  he observed that if even a single walnut is removed or falls, every walnut in the pile is shaken. When a single Jew is in trouble, every Jew is shaken and affected (Avot de Rabbi Natan chapter 18).  Likewise, when a single species is endangered the entire ecosystem is shaken and affected.

What do you think about this analogy?

I have used these analogies successfully in a variety of settings, asking both young and old to select an analogy describing the Jewish People that resonates most.  I have also added the following questions for a gallery walk and follow-up discussion.

The Jewish people have a special relationship with olives and dates – just as olive oil brings light into the world, so do the people of Israel bring light into the world –Midrash Shir Hashirim Rabbah (1:2).

What are some ways we bring light onto the world? How are you like an olive tree?  How are the Jewish people like the olive tree?

Give an example when you felt like a date palm.  Which do you feel like more –a palm tree or an olive tree – and why?

I ended the discuss with the following bracha:

May we be like a date palm, buffeted by the winds of challenge and change, so that we bend but do not break.   May we know when to accept what cannot be changed and let it go with the wind, and know when to stand firm.

Upcoming!

Introducing Project 613

1/29/15

By Ellen Rank

We often hear, “It takes a village.” At a recent Long Island Educators Peer Network meeting, Faye Gilman of The Reform Temple of Forest Hills shared the fascinating story of her community coming together to imagine, design, create and implement a new way of learning and building Jewish identity. Faye described how a team of educators, parents, clergy and students have created Project 613, a new digital badging program that extends Jewish learning from the religious school into homes. Part of the process is to continually ask: “Where are our families? Where can we get them to?” Faye underscored that the congregation understands and values experimentation.  To learn more about Project 613, visit: www.rtfh.org/Project613

Congratulations to The Reform Temple of Forest Hills for receiving a Covenant Foundation Signature Grant to continue developing and implementing Project 613.

You can learn more about the Project 613 Badge Categories below:

 

 

Riding the wave of change in part-time Jewish education

1/28/15

By Rabbi Phil Warmflash and Anna Marx/JNS.org

Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences.

The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also means making the necessary investments to further models that already have proved successful.

Pictured here, the Rimon Initiative at Philadelphia’s Temple Sholom offers students project-based chugim (electives), an example cited by Rabbi Phil Warmflash and Anna Marx for an innovative new model in Jewish education. Credit: Provided photo.

Pictured here, the Rimon Initiative at Philadelphia’s Temple Sholom offers students project-based chugim (electives), an example cited by Rabbi Phil Warmflash and Anna Marx for an innovative new model in Jewish education. Credit: Provided photo.

On the ground, these new models resonate with today’s learners and their families. Such educa-tional approaches build relationships between families, integrate technology, and move the learn-ing outside of classroom walls. This is big change we’re talking about, and big change takes part-nerships and collaboration across the Jewish community—partnerships with synagogue profes-sionals and lay leaders, educational agencies, funders, and most importantly, parents.

Nancy Parkes, director of congregational learning at the Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y., recently offered important recommendations to advance the congregational educational experience. We would like to call attention to two of her suggestions: “stop the negative narra-tive” and “be our partners.” Opting for part-time “supplementary” Jewish education has been a very good choice—indeed, the right choice—for thousands of families. But it’s time to tell a new story. One of experience, of possibility, of real impact. It’s time to work together.

Five Jewish education agencies from around the country—including New York, Cleveland, Hou-ston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco—are engaged in these important efforts through “Shinui: the Network for Innovation in Part-Time Education,” created with the support of the Covenant Foundation. The stories coming out of our communities are inspiring real change that other com-munities can model and adapt.

One example of an innovative model is the Rimon Initiative at Philadelphia’s Temple Shol-om, whose premise is to offer students project-based chugim (electives). One parent comments, “My son retains so much more because teachers now focus on a few core areas for a longer peri-od of time. And the fact that he can choose a chug makes for a more personal experience and gives him a chance to explore a subject that he wants to.”

In San Francisco, Shalom Explorers is a vehicle for families to form neighborhood learning groups and customize individual lesson plans. Now in its second year, the initiative has expanded to multiple sites in the Bay Area. An Explorer parent says, “Shalom Explorers provides parents with an amazing toolkit of resources to bring great lesson plans to life. We were able to select the activities and content that worked for our group of families, and the children were able to learn in fun and exciting ways—through drama, art projects, outdoor activities, and more.”

Anna Marx

Anna Marx

These stories show that part-time Jewish education presents one of the greatest opportunities to engage, inspire, and connect with families. No longer are students learning prayers and stories simply to “check them off the list.” Instead, educators across the country are wrestling with how the learning experiences they offer can best support children and their families, and make a true difference in their lives. In those precious few hours of part-time programs, teachers are parents’ partners in raising children to become mensches.

With this understanding, more and more congregations around the country are trying new models to invigorate the educational experiences they offer. The Jewish community still must do more to help this change happen in a serious, sustainable manner. Fortunately, many are answering this call, and important changes are happening in Jewish education: learning experiences that involve the entire family, deepen connections to Israel, teach Hebrew in more meaningful and relevant ways, and bring the summer camp experience into our schools.

Rabbi Phil Warmflash

Rabbi Phil Warmflash

We see these changes in the Shinui-affiliated communities, and we invite others to be a part of this change—to help build today’s narrative of part-time Jewish education. Together, we can cre-ate and sustain major changes across the country.

Rabbi Phil Warmflash is executive director of the Jewish Learning Venture in Philadelphia. Anna Marx is project director of Shinui.
This piece was originally posted on JNS.org. See full article here.

I Admit It, I Miss Camp

1/21/15

By Abby Knopp

I admit it.  I have missed camp these past few months since moving from the Foundation for Jewish Camp to serve as Chief Operating Officer at The Jewish Education Project.  In fact, it has caused me no small amount of angst as I have come to understand how the ground beneath me has shifted.  Merely mentioning what I do for a living no longer elicits knowing smiles accompanied by comments like, “Oh, you have my dream job,” or “I loved camp – what a great way to bring more children to Jewish life.”  Now the conversation is much more complicated.  Because now I am representing parts of the Jewish educational sector that, though widely viewed as critical to our future, very often engender skepticism.  Is the high cost of day school really correspondent to its value?  Is it actually possible to provide engaging and inspiring learning in a synagogue setting? 

This past week I crossed an important threshold into understanding what is possible in synagogue settings.

That’s because last week I was privileged to sit among a group of parents of elementary age children and listen as they spoke with profound gratitude about their new found love of Judaism and about the strong Jewish community they are building, together with other families and within their synagogue, Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City.  As participants of MASA, a congregational education model that revolves around the family as the learning unit, these parents agreed to be part of a focus group and to share their experiences.  I hadn’t expected to be moved to tears but I was. 376372_10151116853179026_1763883360_n

There were parents in the room from a variety of Jewish backgrounds.  One gentleman acknowledged that he had been raised in a home that distanced itself from Judaism even though he was sent to Hebrew school.  He has chosen to become part of MASA so that he and his son can experience Jewish growth together and so that his son can be exposed early to Judaism.  Another parent, the mother of an 11-year old girl, talked about the fact that – for her – the time of day when MASA meets (3 – 5:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoons) connects her more closely to the change of seasons and, by extension, to the Jewish calendar.  During the winter months, she and her daughter leave for home in darkness and bundled up in hats and scarves.  With each passing week, it is just a little bit lighter when they walk out of the synagogue doors and, by the end of May, she said, they’ll join friends for ice cream and look forward to several more hours of daylight.

People often refer to camp as a place where “magic” happens.  How true that is.  And last week, I was reminded about the many other places where Jewish magic can happen, too.  For this group of parents, at least, their synagogue-based communal experience brings together a “magical mix” (their terminology) of Jewish learning, friendship, family, and community.  In their own words, they feel “enveloped by Judaism” for the first time in their lives.

And all of this is happening, not at a lake, but on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Building Community at Park Avenue Synagogue

1/15/15

Sarah Lipsey Brokman is an inspiring educator from Park Avenue Synagogue who actively participates in Titchadesh, a Coalition of Innovating Congregations Peer Network made up of Jewish educators who support innovative advancements in congregational learning. With the support of their peers, the Titchadesh network empowers young, dynamic professionals to experiment with fresh ideas and bring their visions to life. All of the educators in the Titchadesh network are full time educators in congregations.  This new staffing structure enables congregations to adapt new models of education – like fully engaging parents as well as children. Our network congregations now have a better capacity to launch programs that fulfill the hopes and dreams of their communities.  

 As the facilitator of Titchadesh, I have the pleasure of engaging regularly with these young leaders. Through our protocols and shared conversations, I witness the incredible work taking place at our participating sites. To widely share their successes, I recently asked participants to share their stories by submitting a blog post to InnovatingCongregations.org,  and I am so thrilled that Sarah heeded this call.

You will enjoy “meeting” Sarah in this post and you’ll gain a glimpse into the amazing model she and her colleagues have built. Here is her powerful story. 

– Suri Jacknis, Associate Director of The Coalition of Innovating Congregations

 

Building Community

By Sarah Lipsey Brokman with an introduction by Suri Jacknis

As a kid, I was lucky enough to grow up in a vibrant Jewish community.  I loved being in shul and spent many hours of my childhood feeling loved by my shul community.  One winter Shabbat, when I was nine years old, both of my parents went home separately after kiddush, thinking that the other parent had taken me home.  They arrived home twenty minutes later to realize that they had left me at synagogue.  My dad drove back in a panic, sure that I would be sitting outside of the building terrified that I had been left alone.  When he arrived, he couldn’t find me because I was inside playing hide and seek with all of my friends.  Since I was so comfortable at my shul, I hadn’t even noticed that my parents had left.  In the event that I had noticed my parents weren’t in the building anymore, there were a dozen other adults I could have gone to for help.  Being connected to this type of synagogue community is why I decided to become a Jewish educator.

Four years ago I began working at Park Avenue Synagogue (PAS) as one of the Assistant Directors in the Congregational School.  I walked into an environment of creative innovation and change at PAS, where the leadership challenged me to dream as big as possible.  I began to reflect on why I became a Jewish educator and I knew I needed to find a way to create that feeling of “home” for the families of PAS that I had for my home shul.  I envisioned a group of families with children in third and fourth grades who were looking for a deeper connection to both the PAS synagogue community and their own individual Jewish identities.  The goal would be to bring these families together to share their values, feelings and thoughts about raising Jewish families.  I decided to call this group, The Covenanting Group because, I wanted people to know that they were joining a group which honored their brit, their covenant, to their Jewish identities and to the PAS community.  I spent the summer reaching out to families and advertising to the whole community. By September, twelve families signed up.  Since I had already decided that I would have run the program with five families, this was a huge success!

The first Covenanting Group event took place in the sanctuary with Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove.  As Rabbi Cosgrove and I welcomed the group, a shiver of electricity ran through me.  The idea had come to fruition.  Rabbi Cosgrove asked each family to spread out in the sanctuary and discuss their goals for the year in The Covenanting Group.  The families all expressed one common value: community.  The group’s purpose became clear.  We spent the year learning together and creating a community within our already vibrant PAS community.

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As we began to plan for a second cohort of The Covenanting Group, I reflected back on the pilot group’s experience.  I realized that we needed to increase the time spent doing Jewish learning – so we partnered with ShalomLearning and made once-a-month online learning part of The Covenanting Group experience.  The communal programming was centered on Shabbat and holidays, a decision which helped our group connect to the Jewish calendar in a more meaningful way.  The biggest learning from that first year was the recognition that the group needed an immersive experience to culminate the year.

This capstone experience was a retreat that occurred in April filled with learning, food and fun.  The adults were able to schmooze, while the kids played and intensified their already strong friendships.  During one activity, the families created a “values map” using strips of paper with 15 different Jewish values, which each family ordered according to the importance in their family’s life.  These conversations were by no means easy, but the buzz of immersive family learning was one I had never experienced before.  After the families finished working with their own values maps, each family shared their map with another family.  I watched as a major goal of The Covenanting Group came to life: families sharing their Jewish values with one another. Since we grappled with big questions of Jewish identity, values and meaning, the families were now able share their answers with each other, in hopes of inspiring more meaningful Jewish engagement as a community.

As I work with the 21 families in the third cohort of The Covenanting Group, I remember being a 9 year old child playing in shul.  Creating a space within the synagogue community to play, learn and connect is a necessary component of Jewish life.  As we look to find ways to keep Jews involved in synagogue and communal life, these connections are at the core.   Helping people connect to one another on a deep Jewish level is the most rewarding and important thing I have done thus far in my career.  This group is a vehicle for connection, a way for families to find “home” at PAS.

Uncovering the Torah of Technology – An ELI Talk

1/12/15

By Rabbi Michael Mellen

I am fascinated by the intersection of technology and spirituality and, at the same time, feel as though I am in my infancy exploring the space that these ideas occupy.  I’m struck by the ways in which so many people work to articulate an intersection of or co-existence of technology and spirituality, and that conversation is what swept me up for my ELI Talk.

For instance, I love the story Martin Buber shares in which “Before his death, Rabbi Zusya said “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?” It’s a well known and, some would say, a well worn vignette.  Nevertheless, it has implications for our relationship with technology.

eli

Click to watch the talk!

 

Kevin Kelly, author of the book What Technology Wants, explains that technology has a responsibility to increase the opportunity for individuals to live a life in which each person is fully herself. As I ask in the talk, what would Annie Leibovitz be without her camera or John Coltrane without his saxophone?  When we best interact with technology, technology supports each of us in living our potential. Like Zusya, we will each face the similar question and will each need to answer.  Technology provides ever more ways in which we can come closer to answering, “I lived truly as myself.”

I also struggle to make sense of the places where I see spirituality and technology so clearly connected. In the talk, I note patterns of connectedness of both our electronic world and the Jewish mystical map of interconnectedness. Still, it doesn’t stop there. As many of you know, light is understood as both particle and wave.  Strangely though, when light is measured as a wave, it behaves like a wave, but when measured as a particle it behaves differently – it behaves as a particle. Our serving as witness to light changes the behavior of the physical world.

Jewish mystical tradition also understands that like when measuring light, when we bear witness, we impact the outcome of life and living. Witnesses change the destiny of relationships when they affix names to a ketubah and impact divinity when bearing witness during Shema. When we serve as witness, we move from passive observer, simply reciting the words or watching a wedding, to active witness, changing the way the universe operates.

Our service as witness in the world asks us to hold both wave and particle or technology and spirituality when we observe. For, there are items in our world that are both spiritual and technological at the same time, just waiting for us to discover both – waiting for us to identify the technological or spiritual or, for the matter, the relational or political. The art of Van Gogh or the prose of Maya Angelou call us to see the artist’s craft and the magic of the art. A sailboat on a gently windswept lake or a child’s reflection in the myriad windows of a beautifully designed building ask us to see the majesty of the boat or building and of the beauty of creation in the same moment.

And perhaps this is where I am now – looking for ways into the conversation that are inherently one, yet can be seen differently depending on what I’m looking at. I hope that in the looking I am asked to step out of my head and into my heart at least some of the time.

I don’t aim to be Polyanna and while, in my ELI Talk I name three potentially positive ways to seek connection between technology and spirituality, I don’t believe technology is all cake and roses for spirituality.  I absolutely and strongly advocate that we need to make sure we are present in our intersection with technology and that technology used well can allow each of us to fulfill our spiritual potential in our lives.  Now, I’m also struck by those moments in which wonder and mystery and pausing to witness allow us to experience the wholeness of the world and step back with a different understanding of technology and spirituality.

Originally posted at sinaiandsynapses.org

Synagogue Table for 22?

1/5/15

By Cyd Weissman

Mark and Ilene’s suburban home is a hearth reflecting their heart and values. A big kitchen flows into a living area with a fireplace and dining table that seats sixteen and announces, “We’re really glad you’re here.” dinner-table-636

Last night, Ilene and Mark hosted potluck dinner for us and eight couples. Common among the couples enjoying soy-gluten-meat-dairy-free food (allergic reactions avoided) were a lot of hyphenated last names. These friendships that have flourished over twenty years. We also share belonging (belonged – ok we’re the exception) to the same synagogue since our children were tots.

Over the past two decades, we’ve witnessed our collective 22 children grow to be adults, some now have their own children. I know the 22 well. Each of them, I report, without hesitation, are menches.

Speaking for myself, and then brazenly for the others at the dinner table – we joined the synagogue for our children to get a Jewish education. We didn’t know at the time, that memberships would lead to friendships with people who would be there for one another in sickness and death, for crises, like 9/11, and for personal traumas, like scary diagnoses. We knew the memberships gave us a place to sit for the High Holidays, but we didn’t know it would include a circle of friends who would dance at simchas and celebrate with songs and flowers.

Back in the 1990’s, optimism and delusion led us to believe, with the right guidance book in hand, and our own cleverness, we could conquer all we would face as parents. We didn’t realize how necessary it is to have adults actively in ours children’s lives to model values of striving and caring lives. Those 22 kids grew to be mensches, in some measure, because of the loving hand and ear these dinner guests give, to one another’s children.

The synagogue, like Ilene and Mark’s home, made space and time for us to really get to know each other and celebrate together. We engaged in learning that bound us with a shared language. Torah helped us express and develop our values in word and deed. We loaded  buses to march on Washington, packed food baskets and raised funds for those in need. 1377000001000-A01-MARCH-ON-WASHINGOTON-63-20

The synagogue was like a hearth reflecting a heart – values, enabling surviving and thriving as parents and citizens of the world. In short, when we raised a glass of wine last night, we were toasting a group that has lifted up each other’s families in the good and from the crud. We were toasting people who had encouraged and inspired one another to live more intentionally.

Last night, someone said to me, “Our children’s lives are so different than ours. What will synagogues look like for them?” I’m sorry to say, even though I face that question every day as a professional, I don’t have the answer.

What we know is,  our adult children live in a challenging, and possibly more challenging world than we ever could have imagined. All the technology in the universe won’t be enough to help them conquer what’s ahead for them personally or what’s churning on the globe.

One wish, we all hold for the 22 is that they will grow to have a long table of friends to lift them up and navigate our crazy-ass world so they can leave it a little better and they can find wisdom, comfort and laughter. Our wish is for them to inherit their Jewish story, to enrich them, and the world.Capture

What’s the chance? What will it take?

geriatrics books