One of my favorite things about New Year's is making resolutions. Every year for the past several, I've taken some quiet time on the morning of the 1st to think about changes I'd like to make from the previous year to the new one, and record my resolutions in a journal. (The fact that I take resolutions seriously doesn't necessarily make me more adept at fulfilling them; after making the same resolution for numerous years in a row, I made a resolution to not make the same resolutions over and over again. It didn't work. Flossing is a hard habit to start.) Anyways. Moishe House Providence recently had an awesome program called "Open Source Moishe Programming." The idea was simple: we create programming to serve our community, so why not include our community in the process of creating our programming, which not only teaches us more about what our community members want, but gets them more invested in Moishe? (Duh, right?) So of course we talked over bagels and lots of fabulousness came out of the conversation, but there was one thing in particular that's going to make it into my New Year's resolutions. I've noticed that our Shabbat guests enjoy when we take time before eating to do more than prayers – sing other songs, talk about the meaning of Shabbat, introduce a discussion or activity. Besides helping to further distinguish Shabbat from regular dinner parties, this 'more than prayers' enables young Jews connect to Judaism through other young Jews, rendering Judaism more accessible and exciting, to the point of cool. But as it turns out, the facilitator of 'more than prayers' is usually Nathaniel. So, one of my New Year's resolutions for 2010 is to prepare more for our Shabbats – e.g. read about the Torah portion for that week, or the meaning of a particular ritual – so I can also facilitate Shabbat activities beyond prayer. And in the spirit of crowdsourcing, we'll also be opening this space of facilitation up to our community members.
Dear Moisheniks: may you also make meaningful (and possibly Moishe-oriented) resolutions, and have a glorious New Year!