Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Kavvanah, 8/18/2011 - Building Relationships Between Individuals

The second level of relationship-building that a faith community should be committed to is finding ways to connect people to each other, bein adam le-havero. One way of doing this is to build affinity groups; that is, to feature activities that bring together people with commonalities. Synagogues have traditionally done this through groups that categorize people by age, gender, or stage in life: seniors, young couples, men's club, sisterhood, and so forth. There are other groups that we can try as well: professions, hobbies, reading groups, and so forth.

Looking around the room at the minyan (morning service) attendees today, I saw that everybody who was willing to give an hour of their day, beginning at 6:45 AM, was fairly well-connected to others in the synagogue community. Only very rarely do we get somebody at morning minyan who is not.

But it is not enough to put similar people together in the same room. We must then offer ways for each person to share his or her own story. Telling one's own story, and listening to those of others, helps to build those personal bonds. We need more of this.

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