Being part of a community

To be a Jewish community is to be a community.  It seems like a sentence with no point, but it is THE point.  We must be together, support one another, help one another, and most importantly, KNOW one another.  This morning, I was privileged to have a wide-ranging conversation with a very diverse group of our CBI membership and friends.

We visited a local coffee shop in historic Old NorthEast Saint Petersburg.  There we had great coffee and a moving conversation.
I forgot to take a photo of people, so you are stuck with the outside of the building.
Discussing Torah, Rambam (Maimonides), Aramaic, Jewish law, history, Talmud, a little politics, community and what we would like community to be like--oh yeah--and schmoozing, we got to know each other.  We touched on lived anti-Semitism and what is best for Israel and America.  Most of all, we shared our perspectives, our stories.  In the weeks to come, I hope to hear more stories.  We are our stories.  We are the lives we have lived, the experiences we have had, the time we share.  To build a community, we must know one another, yet we cannot assume that we ever entirely know one another.  We always have more to learn, more ways to grow and connect.

My vision of our community is that we are a place that is never afraid to learn, never afraid to ask questions, never afraid to ask a name we have forgotten (I'm guilty of that sometimes).  We must be bold and open.  We cannot be afraid of being wrong.  

The whole world is a narrow bridge, the most important part is not to make ourselves afraid.