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The Time of Connection

connector-inside

Orit Esther

ON SOLID GROUND

BS'D

"And you shall make the planks (kerashim) for the Mishkan of acacia wood, upright.” (26:15)
Many insights come from this verse in Parshat Terumah however one from the Besht stands particularly out. He explains that keresh (plank) is man. The letters for keresh are kuf, reish, shin which can also spell the words kesher (connection, joining) and sheker (a lie).

Each of us is able to make sacred connections with the supernal worlds through all that we do. Everything we want, think, speak, feel and do has a rippled effect in the universe. Each of us has the ability to form a mishkan, a holy space, in our life and enable G-d’s awesome presence to be felt in all of the worlds. All by simply wanting to form a close connection to Him.

When we chose to find and attach to Hashem in all of our experiences, we create a plank, a solid foundation on which we safely stand. Our continuous drive to find G-dliness creates the structure and becomes our temple, through which we function. Our mundane activities become holier thus more open to receive Heavenly blessings.

However, many lose focus of their avodah and find themselves lured into playing with the materialistic ‘toys’ of life which are transient and serve no eternal value. Their connections are false, filled with lies, their sanctuary built on faulty ground.

A Daily Dose of Emunah

Rosh Hodesh Adar

The Prospector

There is a wonderful and very unique theater in my neighborhood.

It has delighted me since it opened about three years ago and I could not wait until I had an opportunity to bring my elder son who has severe autism to a movie  I thought he would enjoy.

The Prospector Theater had a sensory screening of “Beauty and the Beast” the other day.

We went and we loved it!

You see, it is a place where all workers are called Prospects and they all fall in the society’s named category of people with disabilities.

It’s a place that is beautiful with a sparkle.

Its welcoming atmosphere goes beyond anything one could dream of: a place where everyone is extraordinary and proud to offer entertainment and respite from the world that is not always as accepting of differences as it should be.


My son immediately beamed at “Bonjour!” of course.

He then delighted in each and every musical scene and was elated with the ballroom extravaganza.

Thanks to the sensory setting the soundtrack was not overwhelming and we were never in complete darkness which helped me too!

There are so many beautiful things about the Prospector theater.

There, everyone is unique and working to make you feel happy and it is not in vain: I came out of the two hours movie as elated as when I was a kid, completely rejuvenated by the love story (I know, I am a total sucker for fairy tales) and by having been able to enjoy the sheer pleasure my very special son obviously experienced.

If you would like to support the mission of this very unique place, go now to their website.
Donate, become a sponsor or simply follow them on social media!
Thank you!

Read more about the Prospector Theater: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/nyregion/in-ridgefield-a-movie-theater-with-a-lofty-mission.html

What is a network weaver?

An interview from the year 2011 with Deborah Fishman on http://hachavaya.blogspot.com/2011/12/laurence-furic.html

What’s the difference between a network and a community?

A community is already there when you arrive at a place – either you integrate into it or you don’t. A network is something that has a life of its own. It’s like a living organism. It’s something you have to be active in; it doesn’t exist if there’s nothing done. I like the image of “network-weaving.” It brings to my mind something colorful, like Joseph’s coat, the coat that was weaved by his mother. I envision all the colors and possibilities in it.

What are some characteristics of network-weavers?

You have to have a lot of humility and you have to have no ego. Things shouldn’t happen because of you – even if they did happen because you were there, you don’t have to take credit for it. A network-weaver is a connector that electricity goes through; it isn’t the electricity itself. You also have to avoid doing things for people – you have to stimulate them to do things themselves. Everyone has to feel how important they are. In addition, you have to be very organized, available, like people, and to listen.

I think it takes humility to be a networker because we don’t control what’s going on. Some seem afraid of social media because they are used to having control and seeing the process, but with social media you don’t see where it’s going. I like it – I like the adventure of it.

How do you measure the impact of a network-weaver?

Personally network-weaving is working when I see that someone else has my own ideas. I recognize something and feel like it’s something I had in my mind, but here it is already existing somewhere else! Sometimes it’s not because of what you have done; it’s just in the air. Either way, I believe I am successful when something I believe in takes traction.

What networks have you helped weave?

I moved to the US from France 14 years ago. I belong to many communities – Jewish, French-speaking, hometown, family, and I’m also very involved in the autism community. Within all those communities, I’m a networker.

In 1994 – before Facebook was even born – someone in Israel started a small community of French-speaking olim. He put up a website where there was a discussion board, and I got very involved in it. I’m still involved – it’s a huge network now. At the same time, as a young mother participating in parenting groups in French, I was part of a group of Jews who got fed up because of anti-Semitic remarks. We decided to get out of that group and create our own group, Pilpoul. It still exists, we are all best friends, and we have meetups in Belgium, France, and Israel. Each of these has developed its own networks as well.

How will technology affect American synagogues?

Coming from France, I was a little taken aback by American synagogues. Belonging to a synagogue seemed more like being in a social club, and I wasn’t sure I liked it. I think this is what’s going to change because of the new tools: from belonging to a close club to really being involved in Jewish learning and discovery. In time, synagogues will definitely use all those tools in a more integrated way, and it may allow someone who is not observant to become engaged in reading things from the Mishnah or studying the weekly parshah.

I hope the tools will also allow for more of a blend between the denominations. In my networking efforts, I’m trying to advocate for less polarization between Orthodox and Reform Jews. I was raised in country where everyone was officially “Orthodox” but a lot would be called Modern Orthodox or Traditional. I think new networking tools will show that there are so many paths between people, and you have more in common than you might think. I’m a big idealist – I think in the end technology will allow us to make peace between different peoples, and to understand that we have more in common than what’s separating us. It’s something I’ve taught my children – I can see how open they are to other people, and I really love that.

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