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The Wisdom of Human Connection

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This story comes to us from TableMakers, a Schusterman initiative that helps young Jews to create and host dynamic Shabbat experiences for their peers. The experience described below was organized by Meghan Holzhauer and Wendy Wecksell, Co-Founders of CANVUS.

Meghan Holzhauer is a catalyst of community and human connection. With a background in hospitality and real estate development and a passion for bringing inspiring, purposeful people together, Meghan has an eye for creating spaces and experiences that allow people to focus on what matters most. 

Wendy Wecksell considers herself an experience and relationship architect. Her professional background is vast and diverse—from Tribeca Film Festival and Pencils of Promise in New York to The Battery in San Francisco and Harvard University in Cambridge—all are bonded by her deep love of people, hospitality and generosity.

On February 19th in San Francisco, the tech capital of the US (and potentially the world), a group of approximately 40 entrepreneurs, dreamers, healers, spiritual practitioners, musicians and activists got together to do the unthinkable...we turned off our phones.

This was not just any Shabbat (although every Shabbat is a sacred practice in reflection and connection), it was the Shabbat before Wisdom 2.0, a conference that celebrates the intersection of technology and wisdom. Schusterman community members from around the country and the world gathered to disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with one another. It was a global gathering of Jewish life that lit the room with joy and wonder.

With three large tables in a beautiful, mahogany setting, Yaakov Lehman led the Shabbat service. He journeyed from Israel and became a catalyst for sharing and L'chaim's!

After the service and appetizers of hummus and challah, both of us posed a question to the group in order to create a space for sharing and connection among the attendees:

When was a time you had to disconnect from your everyday life in order to reconnect to yourself?

We heard stories of dancing across the country, conquering body image challenges, traveling to Southeast Asia, gravitating to one’s calling and many more. Each story reflected decisions that reinvigorated, renewed and resulted in deep gratitude.

Our lives have many junctures that require us to use our wisdom and faith in order to make the "right" decision at the right time.

To help guide our thinking, we learned to ruminate on:

  • Gratitude - Be grateful for the gifts we have been given.
  • Wisdom - Embrace the knowledge we build within our lifetime and reflect the on the ancient wisdom from many lifetimes ago.
  • Action - Carry your full heart and mind towards action. It's our responsibility to DO something to better the world with the gifts and knowledge that we hold.

This exercise helped us to reflect on the Jewish community’s inclination to action, as well as the need for sacred rest.

The evening continued with a moving musical performance by The Kid, who visited us from Austin. The Kid offered a special performance and gave us the gift of his poetic words, the inspiration of his soulful voice and the offering of his effortless musical talents.

What started out as a simple dinner turned into a whirlwind of conversation and meaning. It was beautiful to witness a group of people who did not know one another, from a wide variety of faiths and geographies, all open up their hearts in the name of Shabbat and community.

It was a magical and mystical evening of human connection.  

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.