I'm currently in St. Louis, at a big Hillel conference, networking and making my pitch about Heart to Heart. Ton of fun.
I recently recieved an email from a friend which I think has such an unbelievably powerful message. This friend is the member of a Jazz band and performs at some local bars from time to time. As a college student, many of the friends whom he is inviting are minors, which recently posed a problem for an upcoming gig. Here's part of the email he sent out:
This is amazing - in order to allow minors to be present for their concert, they are going to include them in the performance! The concept of making the "audience" active participants is such a beautiful and deep way to include people in the experience of which you want them to be a part. I was recently in a session (at a Hillel conference in St. Louis) where they talked about facilitation, and compared it to conducting (highlighted by this fascinating video) There's a lot of meaning behind that - and I think a lot of what I strive to do is to facilitate Jewish experiences and encounters for others, often by directing them and other religious students. But when dealing with all sorts of "stakeholders" or "audience members", it's so important (and often difficult) to remember to include others in the experience, to help them make the moment real for them. For example, to have different people sharing ideas at the Shabbat table (on kiddush, shalom aleichem, etc.), or having everyone act out a part in the Seder. Besides for getting them interested and active, it's about them being part of the experience, not some "rabbi doing things for them", or something external happening around them. Sure, it takes a delicate methodology to facilitate that, but I think it's crucial for people to become committed or invested in something, and you never know what magic will occur!