Koli Kulanu ~ June 3, 2019
I’m proud to be a member of a small club that is not particularly inclusive.
I was privileged to participate this past year in two extraordinarily meaningful activities that touched me on an emotional, spiritual, and intellectual level, and above all taught me the meaning and benefit of being part of a sacred community, a kehillah k’doshah.
I’m inviting each Kol Shalom member to join this club.
The two activities seem unrelated, yet have much in common.
The first is not surprise. I am a proud Purimshpieler. I’ve been fortunate to participate in many Purimshpiels since the founding of Kol Shalom. I love writing clever songs, I love performing, it’s true. But that’s not the point.
The second is not as well known. This year Kol Shalom partnered with Hadar, a Jewish educational organization based in New York City and now with a presence in Washington DC, to field Project Zug. “Zug” is the Hebrew word for ‘couple,’ implying a partnership of two people (or more) pursuing something of value. It evokes the classic Beit Midrash (study hall) where pairs of students study texts and debate their meaning. Project Zug offered Kol Shalom learning in small groups on a wide range of topics; for Kol Shalom we chose topics on Bob Dylan, Psalms, and Mindfulness.
I am so thankful to have been part of both Purimshpiel and Project Zug, and the small club I’m in consists of people who were in both.
From Purimshipiel I got to be silly, sing, dance, remember where to go, wear a silly costume, write a song, and perform, all in the name of bringing meaning and fun to the wonderful holiday of Purim. I get to help make memories for myself, the other Purimshpielers, and the congregation. Erev Purim is one of the highlights of the Kol Shalom calendar, and I get to be one of the people to make it happen. One of the high points is just being around each other, and especially the young people. We have performers from age 4 to 84 and beyond.
I’m inviting you to participate next year. We start rehearsing typically in January. And, with no affront to the other Puirimshpielers, I can tell you that talent in singing or dancing is not a prerequisite! You just need to be willing to attend rehearsals and perform. The good times and warm community feeling is priceless.
Project Zug is entirely different, and so much the same. No prerequisites, no talent or intellectual rigor required. Just a attend the sessions, and be willing to listen, learn, and share.
One is silly performance. One is quiet study.
In fact both share two compelling similarities, and this is why I am so proud to be in the small ‘club’ of people who did both.
First, vulnerability. When I am in rehearsal, on stage, or engaged in study with partners, I make myself vulnerable. My talent (or lack thereof) is out there for all to see. The other performers can see for themselves whether I can perform, my Zug partners can see whether I bring anything of value to the table. In contrast to so many other of my endeavors, however, these pursuits are reaffirming. The other performers and study partners support me, embrace me, validate me. They tell me I’m ok, whether I am or not. It’s a beautiful thing to be supported. It doesn’t happen everywhere, but it sure happens at Kol Shalom.
Second, community. Both pursuits are Exhibit #1 and #2 on what it means to be part of a kehillah k’dosha, a sacred community. These are different from golf, or attending the theatre or a sporting event, or exercising. I engage directly with my Jewish heritage. I learn from my ancestors. I connect with other wonderful people. I feel close to others, and I feel we are pursuing a worthy goal together. It feels great.
OK, one is more silly and demonstrative, and the other is more intellectual/emotional and quiet. Both feel great. And it feels great to be part of both.
Kol Shalom offers many educational and social activities. With summer and the new Jewish year approaching, make a resolution to plug in to these activities. And specifically why not try Purimshpiel and Project Zug next year? I can promise you won’t regret it.
I want to be in dialogue with you. You can click here to send me a message, or you can email me at [email protected]. I am thrilled to hear from you, to get to know you better, and to hear your suggestions on continuing Kol Shalom’s growth and value to you.
Thank you for your help and for your part in our kehillah k’dosha, our sacred community!
Marc Lieber, President