Elul Reflections: 26 Elul 5777

I was just reading about the beginnings of the MOTH, the storytelling evenings which have taken over the world. The phenomenon had humble beginnings in a living room in New York with its founder remembering days of sitting on the porch with family and friends sharing the stories of their lives whilst moths danced in the light. He reminisced about those days and wondered if storytelling, one human being to another had become lost. He writes “The world is becoming increasingly digitized: we sit in our little boxes, staring at other boxes, communicating through our fingers on a keyboard. Human beings weren’t meant to live this way. All our little devices and programs are supposed to connect us, they really don’t. They kind of connect us but there is always a block there--an electronic wall that keeps us from really experiencing each other in a human way.” The MOTH provides an opportunity for people to sit together and hear the stories of each others’ lives: some poignant, some humorous, some light others deep, but all of them revealing a little of the teller, uncovering a layer and creating a connection between people.

At Rosh Hashana we come together and tell our people’s story, we share the moments in our journey but sometimes we focus on the big picture and lose sight of the stories of all the people around us. At this time of year, we can be introspective, turning inward and looking into the depths of our souls. But it is important to not only look within but also to look around at the people who surround us, to sit together and share our stories. This is a season for stories, and our world needs stories now more than ever. People need to connect with one another, to see our common humanity, to find hope and inspiration, to laugh, to cry, to be together. So in the days to come, sit on your porch, on your balcony, in your garden, beside a roaring fire, at the beach, anywhere with friends or strangers and tell some stories, connect and help make this world a kinder, gentler place.

--Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio


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