“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?”
~ Rabbi Hillel Pirkei Avot 1:14
What is the role of Havurah and the Jewish Community in this new era?
How have you, as Jews or as people with Jewish loved ones, been handling the aftermath of the incredibly divisive national election? Have you felt a pull to connect more to your local Jewish community? Havurah is certainly not a political monolith. Some of us may be heartbroken while others are optimistic. The national rhetoric may trigger in some of us fears we know too well from our own history, while others may hope that these times provide a catalyst for renewed activism.
Within days of the election Havurah experienced our own hate speech event, which provoked a mix of fear, sadness and anxiety. But we also saw how valuable and resilient Havurah is, and were reminded anew of the important role we play within the broader multi-religious Addison County community.
Just one year ago, we had an excellent community meeting to discuss the needs of the local Jewish community and how Havurah might best respond to those needs. Since then, we have done a great deal to follow up on the ideas that emerged from that meeting, and Havurah has grown as a result, both in terms of numbers and diversity of experience.
However, in light of all that has happened, we felt a need to come together again as a community to share our feelings, and to consider how we can best respond, as a Havurah, to the new reality in which we find ourselves. Are there new needs that aren’t being met? Have our spiritual needs shifted as well as our political priorities? What can we do to create solidarity with other communities? What new possibilities for Havurah might emerge from this shift in our social climate? In short, what is the role of Havurah and the local Jewish Community in this new age?
Please join us at Havurah House:
Sunday, February 5th 4-6 pm
Please note the change in date from previously published materials.
This is an open-ended discussion, but we are fortunate to be joined by Matt Vogel, Ferrisburgh resident and director of UVM Hillel, who has recently done an organizational assessment of Havurah. Matt will lend his experience in Jewish community engagement and strategic planning to help us evaluate how best to focus our limited time and resources to meet the needs that come out of this discussion.