Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sustaining Values

I work for a Jewish communal organization. The only one of its kind in North America, the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts promotes Jewish unity. We strive to strengthen congregations and engage their members in pluralistic dialogue, learning and social action. 

 It's a mission I have come to love. Why? I've aways believed that first, we are a family. In Yiddish, Mishpocha. I describe it this way:

 You're a Jew and I'm a Jew; what's the next question?

  "Where's your family from?"

 Inevitably, we know people in common. It's reassuring to hear that in your city or in mine, in Europe, Israel or the US, we have crossed paths. Our friends, family and ancestors walked together once before, and continue to do so.  It doesn't matter what denomination we identify with, or whether we are a "Jew by Choice." It doesn't matter which temple we attend or where we or our children received their Jewish education. It matters not whether we answer no to either of these inquiries. We are all Jews. We have the same history and the same triumphs and tragedies in common. We endeavor to make the world a better place by living lives of meaning: to love life, to do acts of loving kindness, and to raise our children to be charitable and caring souls.

I am proud to help encourage and sustain the belief that we are more alike than not, to change the perception that we can't all get along to one of respect for differences. I am proud that our efforts continue to bring new perspectives to the fore where none existed before.

 I work for a Jewish communal organization. I am a Jew. So are you. We are a community.

 So tell me, where's your family from?