Once upon a time I lived in a tight-knit, somewhat parochial community. It was probably a little bit more diverse than some Jewish communities. We were on the South Side of Chicago; but our synagogue, affiliated youth groups, and families were the main centers of our concern. I moved on, went to college, broadened my horizons, became an activist – I’ve talked about that before. Right now, though, I’ve been reflecting about my human connections outside of family and realize that I am webbed!
What do I mean by webbed? The word is best explained by example. The other night, my husband and I finished a TV series called Shtisel, a show available on Netflix, but filmed in Israel. We were moved in the way one is moved by a good novel. I looked and found a Facebook page of people who like to discuss this program. In a day, I was part of the Shtisel community. The questions that people pose on this site are often deep and meaningful. It’s a pleasure to have a dialogue with the diverse group of people who love this show. I am Shtisel webbed!
I’ve been trying to find a local Jewish community with shared values, not always an easy task for a humanist Jew, such as myself. I want to start an in-person community that meets on Shabbat for meditation and singing for anyone, independent of belief, but I also want to connect with other like-minded Jews and friends of Jews who share a humanist perspective. As you know I joined SecularSynagogue.com and each week I realize that a great choice this was. The sharing, the camaraderie, the inspiration from our rabbi, all make it a great community. I am SecularSynagogue webbed!
I meditate weekly on Skype with the Middle Way Society, and attend classes and meetings with other members. I’m Middle Way Society webbed!
There are activist, Buddhist, education, parenting; so many web-based communities out there. I am grateful to those who created them.
There is much talk lately of the crimes of the Internet; the influence of Russia on the U.S. election, the trolling, the fake news, and other problems with social media. But I would hate to paint a totally negative picture about the Internet when I have been so successfully webbed! People control the Internet. Let’s web ourselves together in real communities. Who knows? Maybe we’ll influence each other to help change our current situation. We’ll give each other the courage and strength to move forward.