3. Place – December 2014/Tevet 5775



You Are Here Now.

Or so your GPS tells you. Or your Dreidel.

Modern technology connects us across great distances, but sometimes at the expense of our grounding and connection to our physical location and the people we are with. This month I want to think about the notion of ‘place’, the idea of ‘local’ and how Shmita reminds us to reconnect to our here – and now. Or as Douglas Rushkoff’s says it in his second command – it’s really healthy to ‘Live in Person’.

According to Jewish Law, the practice of Shmita applies only to farming in the Land of Israel. But what about all of us who are not farmers and not living in Israel who still want to reclaim and reimagine the essence of a year of release and letting go – around the world, and beyond the literal meaning of the practice? This too is part of this month’s conversation.. OH – and it has to do with Hanukkah – and the real secret of the dreidel…

Amichai Lau-Lavie

“If exile is the story of fear and isolation, Shmita is the story of trust, of faith, of community, of resiliency.

Ultimately, to return from a sense of exile, we first must be able to envision a home to return to; a home not just for ourselves, but for all peoples and for the many generations ahead; a home whose foundation is humility, generosity, hope, beauty, compassion and love; a home whose root is deep within the rhythm of the dynamic cycles we exist within, and the calmness and stillness flowing from their center.”

Yigal Deutscher, Tikkun Magazine

“Digital networks are decentralized technologies. They work from far away, exchanging intimacy for distance. This makes them terrifically suitable for long-distance communication and activities, but rather awful for engaging with what—or who—is right in front of us. By using a dislocating technology for local connection, we lose our sense of place, as well as our home field advantage.”

Douglas Rushkoff, Program or be Programmed

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