The other day a fellow Board member was telling me about some of the changes and challenges facing another organization in which he is involved. “I appreciate our DJC community so much,” he said. “We don’t shy away from taking action to work through tough issues together.” He’s right. It is a sign of the strength of our community and the commitment we feel to the DJC that, instead of just stewing or fretting on our own, we choose to talk. Sometimes we kvetch and sometimes we cry but, no matter what, we prioritize staying connected and engaged with one another.
I was moved by the demonstration of this at the recent community screening of the film The Bridge over the Wadi. This event was organized by a committee formed during last summer’s Israel–Gaza conflict. Their goal is to create a space where DJC members with various viewpoints and experiences could learn about and grapple with issues related to Israel and Palestine. The committee membership reflects the diverse perspectives on the conflict of the broader DJC community; reaching agreement about creating opportunities for the DJC to explore these issues was itself quite challenging. But their work paid off. The mutual respect and willingness to work together that they upheld as a committee came through in the event. The film they showed was intense and complex, hopeful and heartbreaking. It did not serve to answer questions or resolve any disagreements. But by bringing the film to us and by helping us talk through some of the difficult parts together, the committee demonstrated how engaging with each other strengthens us, as individuals and as a community.
Talking and struggling and exploring with each other is essential for challenges that we face within our community as well as outside our borders. I have written before about how this is a time of transition at the DJC as we learn about the meaning and possibilities of having a rabbi who is so involved in leading this community. We want to move forward through this transition by learning with and from each other and staying engaged in discussion, even when the issues are tough and our opinions differ.
It is with those objectives that we invite all members to participate in a community conversation on Sunday, June 7, about the current and future directions for the DJC. We hope you will join us.