Sunday, August 17, 2014

It doesn't take a rocket scientist

Many many years ago, when I was in the (Israeli) army, a friend of mine was a combat instructor for new immigrants. At the time, early '90s, many of the Russian-speaking olim (new immigrants) were starting to enlist in the army. This changed the nature of how the army saw itself. The army became more tolerant of lone soldiers, more understanding of cultural differences.

Meital, the combat instructor, told me once that she was taking a group of Russian-speaking immigrants in a 'shlav bet' basic training weapons course. These guys are the older recruits, who serve for maybe three months and then just do reserve duty. Often they're academics and professionals. Exasperated one night as she was trying to explain how to take apart and reassemble an M-16 rifle, she exclaimed, "nu, really, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand how to take apart an M-16."

"But we are rocket scientists," said one of the new recruits. "All of us."

Which (loosely) connected me to an inspiring visit I had recently at one of our flagship partners - the JCC of MetroWest, NJ. I went there to learn about our programs and the partnership we have. About high-quality professionals and thousands of participants. About ageing-in-place programs and special-needs day programs. It's a vibrant, Jewish home and center. And for its CEO Alan Feldman, the list of achievements and 'puff-points' (where you puff up your chest in pride) is long.

"We are the response to the Pew Report," he said. Connection, community, involvement, participation. It's all the stuff we know. But you have to do it. You have to be committed to it. And you have to inspire those who come in to explore their identity and feel comfortable doing so.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. 

No comments:

Post a Comment