Weaving our Community: the Weft and the Warp

I write this post from Ben Gurion Airport at Gate C-9, waiting for the flight home to be with our OJC community for Shabbat. I look forward to sharing with everyone the depth of learning I experienced during the past four days in Israel.
Thirty committed Jewish lay leaders and professionals from Rockland County sat in a beautiful room overlooking the Mediterranean in the ancient town of Jaffa for many hours each day. We represented twelve different Jewish organizations and with the assistance of SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking), we learned to innovate, discuss, plan and activate. But most of all, we learned to weave.
The purpose of our seminar was to weave the Rockland Jewish community together with enough strength and beauty to last m’dor l’dor, from generation to generation.
How exactly were we weaving? What did we hook onto the wood and anchors of our loom? How did we interlace the warp and weft of the threads? Our warp was our call, our strivings, actions and teaching. Our weft consisted of our anchors, the safe people and places, our Jewish homes, our synagogues and schools and organizations.
The trick about weaving is that from where we stand below, it looks like chaos. There are knotted threads, frayed or cut, mistakes, uneven spots, mismatched colors. But on the front side, the top side, the side that is hidden from our view, perhaps even the side that God sees, there the weaving is perfect. The patterns are clear, the colors blended, the stitching precise. Our work thus requires just a little bit of faith.
We went to Israel to learn how to weave because our homeland has been the wellspring of Jewish inspiration for thousands of years. We were inspired indeed by start-ups and innovators and programs for social justice . We learned to pull out the essence of the ideals undergirding the innovation and collaboration and imagine putting it to use in Rockland.

We heard from the company SpaceIL that is building Israel’s lunar rover and from TOM, Tikkun Olam Make-a-thon. We learned about Dror Yisrael, urban educational kibbutzim and Ruach Chadasha, program to revitalize young artistic life in Jerusalem. And so much more…
Inspired by the innovation all around us, I look back across the ocean toward home just before boarding and start thinking about ways to make the life of our Rockland Jewish community strong and vibrant. I am grateful to my OJC partner on this journey, Matt Schiering as well as fellow OJC congregants representing Federation, Carol Blau and Andrea Weinberger. We all invite all of you to join us!

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The weaving work has only just begun…
Shabbat shalom, Rabbi Paula Mack Drill

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