We “kvetch” and complain about umpteen things in our lives which create a never-ending stream of frustration, anger, and other, hot sweaty emotions. It’s a sweatshop of the lowliest kind, feeding deep into our fascia and paving the way for future sickness and suffering. We savor our hostilities, feeding our stress, almost as we gorge ourselves to forget our troubles, yet another lose lose game.
Not competitive by nature and can’t fathom why anyone would want to play? Surely there is a better way.
It is common knowledge that giving back is one of the best ways to gift ourselves. A good deed reaps big returns: a boost of happiness, multiple health benefits, a flood of gratitude, and a sense of connection. And even better – what goes around comes around: it’s downright contagious!
Good Deeds Day
It seems that the chosen people, the very same “chevre” who brought us “kvetch” also delivered Good Deeds Day. Shari Arison, Israeli businesswoman, philanthropist, and author launched Good Deeds Day in 2007 via “Ruach Tova” or Good Spirit, part of the Arison Group and the largest organized Israeli NGO for volunteering. The initiative has grown rapidly. At last count (2018) it included 3,500,000 participants from 100 different countries. “Being a light to the nations” – this is it.
At the core of my being is a vision in line with Shari’s; I seek to ignite change. How? By converting separation into connection, chronic sickness into vibrant health and despair into joy – a lofty vision, indeed! And yet any vision, as grand as it may be, begins one block at a time.
My proposed vehicle for change begins with a “playshop” (1) bringing together two or more diverse groups of people (2) at a location which invokes beauty and inspiration (3) to explore and discover portals leading to self-discovery and movement towards positive change.
Good Deeds Day 2019
- The People
A – Midreshet Shiluv Natur: gap year program for Israeli youth (religious, traditional and secular): fostering Jewish identity, spirited community action, connection to nature, in-depth study, social integration and meaningful army service.
B – Health volunteers from the Golan Regional Council.
- The Place
Ein Keshatot (in Arabic Um El-Kanatir or Mother of Arches), Ramat Hagolan: the ruins of an ancient Jewish village which flourished during the Talmudic period. During the 5th century a magnificent synagogue was erected and stood as the center for prayer, study and communal use. In the middle of the 8th century, a deadly earthquake destroyed the village.
To our good fortune, till modern day the collapsed synagogue’s walls remained in place as they fell. The first floor of the synagogue has been excavated and reconstructed through ultra-modern-day technology by Chaim Ben David and Yeshu Dray: the integrated effort of computer technology (3D laser scans and microchips inserted into each stone), a huge crane and two passionate partners – a fifteen yearlong endeavor. This ambitious reconstruction project was completed last year and in October 2018 the magnificent site (a must-see!) was opened to the public.
- The Subject
Microbe Mania – the topic at hand, exploration of the illustrious world of the microbiome as a key to health, happiness and a good life, through nutrition, movement and the courage to dare.
What a better place to begin than with the symbiotic relationship between some 100 trillion critters that make their home within our bodies? If they can flourish within the tight constraints of our form in commensalistic (symbiotic) and mutualistic relationships, certainly you and I can too?!
It was Tuesday (“yom shlishi”) April 2nd. We drank a fermented green smoothie; learned about the decline of infectious disease alongside the rise of chronic disease and how this relates to our microbiome; explored fecal transplants and other nouveau treatments; sampled curious microbe pleasing delights while playing, dancing, laughing, and connecting.
And it was good. And it was good.
If I may, I would like to give a big shout out to Dafna Meir and the staff at Ein Keshatot for generously opening up their doors to this project. They were at my call for every wish and need – even prepared to host the whole “playshop” inside as a contingency plan for rain.
To Yael Galmor, head of the volunteer department, Michal Naor, head of the health department, at the Golan Regional Council – Aviha Rozen, head of the “midrasha”, and Liat Shaked, of its educational staff, my heartfelt thanks for aiding to give my vision wings.
It is my hope that more and more national parks, cultural centers, and the like will open up their doors for future projects like these on a regular basis, all year long.