ME to WE

me > we

me > we

During Yom Kippur we pray the “Al Chet” confession of sins ten times. ” On the sin we have sinned…” We repeat again and again.  While there is a lot to be said about the particular sins that we are trying to atone for with this prayer, it is notable that the prayer is not in the voice of me but in the voice of we.  Enforcing collective punishment is unjust, but taking collective responsibility is transformative. Before we can talk about repairing our sins, we have to spend some time repairing our sense of being part of a collective. We might struggle to get into the rhythm and tunes of the High Holidays because we have spent the rest of the year listening to our own play lists. In many ways we are all still bowling alone. Judaism might have lost being sticky because society in general has lost its glue. While we are struggling to attain capital to work our way out of the economic crisis, we also need to figure out a stimulus package for social capital.

I was recently looking online for some teachings from the Rebbe of social capital, Robert Putnam.  When I saw his list of 150 things you can do to increase social capital, I thought that this might be a good supplement to our “Al Chet” prayer. We need to learn to walk before we can run. I personally found it very meaningful and relevant.  Instead of just thinking about all the bad things that I did last year, we can together plan out what we hope to do together this coming year.  May we all have a very meaningful Yom Kippur.

So please think of printing this out and reading it ( not 10 times) on Yom Kippur.

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