So often we will do for our children things we don’t make the effort to do for ourselves, no matter how valuable. Recently I read a string of emails on the Berkeley Parents Network in response to a mother asking for help in building a community for her child. One mom replied that she has lived in the bay area 12 years and has made no ongoing friends since finishing college. She wisely says, “I think ideally community for children would extend naturally from a community that you join for reasons other than kids.”
Are you familiar with these stages of expectation?
As a new mom, won’t I meet & bond with other moms in a mom’s group?
At the preschool stage, surely here we’ll bond with other parents at the preschool.
Or school age, we’ll go to PTA meetings and make friends with the other parents.
But the years slip away and we may or may not make a circle of friends that form “a community.”
Community forms when people have a common goal, repeated interaction, and a commitment to be mutually sustaining. It takes time to bond. And it takes more, it takes that a common goal.
The advantage to being Jewish is that joining a JCC or a synagogue is not about your religious beliefs. You can believe or not in God, in the story of the bible, heaven, reincarnation, souls, global warming. To quote one rabbi, “Jews have one God… or fewer.” After that you’ll basically buying into the idea that people are better off together than apart.
A synagogue or JCC has the structure to sustain and nurture their existing community, you just get on board.
How? It still takes time and commitment because you are creating a relationship. You have to BE PRESENT – it could be attending Shabbat services, joining the Men’s baseball team, baking for the oneg (reception after services), singing in the choir, serving on a committee, taking a class. In the midst of these activities you will meet people, laugh, eat, sing, and develop a relationship. They will care for you because you care about them.
Summer is a great time to cruise the options. Call if you need help planning your exploration.