Gravitational and Generational Waves

Last week’s newspapers (remember them) were full of headlines proclaiming “Einstein proven right, after 100 years“. Like that’s news to us! Longtime readers of @jcatoday will know that Einstein managed to imagine the inner workings of the Cosmos – and in this case the existence of gravitational waves – without the benefit of a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (or for that matter, a JCA Thermoclock).

Gravitational waves – in case you didn’t know – are disturbances in the fabric of spacetime. (Feel free to lob that factoid across your Shabbat dinner table to impress the machatonim). And some astronomers have likened their discovery to turning a silent movie into a talkie: “until this moment we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn’t hear the music.”

There are things that happen all around us, every day, even though we don’t see them or hear them – like gravitational waves – and it is as true for the Cosmos, as it is the microcosmos that is our community.

I was reminded of this on Monday night when I had the great honour of attending the first Board of Governors meeting of the year. I’ve written about this before, but it really is something remarkable to see 40 or so volunteer leaders sit around a big table, and work cohesively and collaboratively on the future of our community. I was thrilled when someone new to the big table came up to me after the meeting and said, “now I get it” because that was the moment she heard the music, of our community.

Cameron, Liane, Michael and Jonathan GrafJCA 15/02/16

Cameron, Lianne, Michael and Jonathan Graf

Following the meeting we rolled into the wonderfully inviting dining hall at the Burger Centre (thank you to Bronwyn Elbourne and the team) for a Thank You and Welcome for JCA’s volunteers and outgoing leaders. We had the opportunity to properly thank Michael Graf – who received a unique gift of a month’s run of PJ Library books in his honour (though we promised not to send all thousand to his home).

Speaking of the Burger Centre, a number of people came up to me and said how great it was to have the event there, because they’d never been in the building before. I heard the same thing at JewishCare when I was there for White Ribbon Day last year. And so many people drive past our schools – with their sadly much needed higher and higher walls – and really have no idea about the amazing creativity and energy inside. Of Moriah‘s incredible special needs program, or Mount Sinai‘s cutting edge Feuerstein Centre, or Emanuel‘s inspiring indigenous connections. And that’s just the bricks and mortar.

There is the look of amazement when people hear about the incredible programs our community runs thanks to your support through JCA: Not just PJ Library, but Mum for Mum, Camp Sababa and Sababa Lagamba, Talking about Israel, The Observership Program, LaunchPad, Moishe House, and so many more. We have an entire community of gravitational waves, of places and programs we know are there in theory, but we never really see them, or hear their music.

We are putting the finishing touches on our JCA Campaign for 2016, and this year we want to try to do something a bit different. Perhaps even brave. Maybe even crazy brave. This year we want through our campaign to tell the stories of our community. Of how lives are transformed by the work of JCA and our member organisations and their programs and people.

But we need your help. JCA needs to become more open and a platform for our community to express its passion for itself, and we may as well start with this newsletter. So this is an official call for submissions. We’d love to hear your stories of how our community has impacted the life of you and your family.

We will do our best to share your stories (anonymously if you prefer). And this is an endeavor far more important than any mere thermoclock contest. Through your stories you will help our community look at the sky, and hear the music.

Shabbat Shalom,

Daniel Grynberg, CEO