Star Wars may be fantasy, but one thing it gets right is that our interconnectedness is the fundamental starting point for everything. We see in our world today that there is a desperate need to recognize that interconnectedness: In out societies, we have gone over-board with a kind of individualism that creates the illusion of freedom and convenience, but in fact creates loneliness, depression and loss of a sense of meaning. The environmental crisis at its source is a loss of feeling kinship with the intricate networks of animals, plants, soil, air, water-our living planet and all of creation. For at least three hundred years, since the Scientific Revolution, we have been deeply influenced by the metaphor of nature as a machine, something to be objectively observed, manipulated, taken apart and controlled. Because we are starting to feel the negative effects of this paradigm, we are only recently starting to come back to feeling the earth as an amazing, living network, of which we are one part.
And, today there are also some who are drawn to the dark side of this deeply ingrained interconnectedness: exploiting people’s need for belonging and purpose to whip up fears that aliens are threatening their homeland, communities or values.
No matter if you call it The Force, or the Indwelling Presence of God, we are in an epic struggle in our day to rediscover that sacred interconnectedness and let it guide us toward a thriving, living society and planet. The rediscovery is happening both in the world of modern science, with systems theory and ecological thinking, and in the recovery of ancient traditions that are based in this natural, sacred connectedness. We need the old and the new to come together if we are going to turn the tide and change the way we think and act in the world.
Organic Torah is trying to do just that: bring together the ancient wisdom that Jews call the Tree of Life: the living Torah-together with the cutting edge of modern, paradigm shifting thought to create new integration of mind and spirit. We have re-launched Organic Torah this year with our Webinar series: “Paradigm Shifting Conversations: Healing Ourselves and the World.” A few weeks ago we held our first webinar and it was a great conversation. About sixteen of us got together online and talked about how art and creativity come together with deep Jewish learning. Next week we’re holding our second webinar, a conversation with ecologist Tom Wessels. We are also holding days of learning, classes and workshops in person, here in the Boston area and around the country.
We have also opened up a new model for Organic Torah: a membership model that lets you not only contribute but become a part of our growing community. We have both individual memberships and institutional memberships. We started this membership drive last summer, hoping for 100 individual members by the summer of 2018. It’s only half way through the year and we’re already at 81 members. If we can reach 100 members before the New Year, perhaps we can aim for the stars and reach 200 members by the end of June! But, its not about the numbers. Its about you joining us, adding your ideas and energy in this quest for a thriving world. It’s about taking a small step in joining or contributing to Organic Torah and being a part of this adventure. This is not a fantasy, but it is exciting! Happy New Year and May the Force be with you!
Natan and the Organic Torah team