Saturday, November 27, 2010

What does it mean to be a real community?

Over the past two weeks, I've been thinking about what an honor it is to serve as a Moishe House resident, to have the chance to be there for people for key momemnts in their lives and to watch our community support each other in times of joy and of need.

Last week, Moishe House Boston experienced a major first - our first baby. When Moishe/Kavod House member Katie went into labor, Evan, the soon-to-be-dad and former community board president, sent Moishe House Boston's key leadership an email telling us to root for them. Within minutes, a flurry of emails started racing back and forth - our chesed team sprung to action, planning who would coordinate meals for the new parents. I got email updates during the labor, in which Evan shared how grateful he was to be going through this experience supported by friends and community. Now that baby Gavi has entered the world, the whole community is celebrating her as our own, bringing meals, laughing with the parents, and working to create a baby naming/blessing ritual.

Then, in sad news, on Thursday, the father of one of our members passed away. I'll call this member Josh, for privacy's sake. During Thanksgiving dinner, I received an email from Josh to share the bad news. A few hours later, I found myself sitting in his family's living room in Westchester, on a detour on the way home from visiting family in CT. Though I love Josh, if it weren't for Moishe House and my leadership role there, I never would have been to his home. But as soon as I heard, I knew that this is what I needed to do, because that is what it means for me to be in community - to be there for people through joyous and painful times. And I wasn't the only one - two of our other leaders contacted me right away to figure out how they could get to the shiva. Even though of course I wish I didn't need to go and I wish Josh wasn't in pain, I felt immensely blessed to be invited in as a friend and comfort during this painful time. I also felt blessed to have something to do - letting our chesed/caring team know that Josh needed meals when he returned from shiva, and thinking about a way to welcome him back into community and give space to honor his father's memory.

Everyone knows that Moishe House is worthwhile because of the interesting programs we throw and the dynamic young people we attract. But it is in weeks like these, when we comes together to witness joy and pain, to support each other and give space for whatever people are going through -- that is when I know we are really a community.

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