The Story of Us: Growing Community and Inspiring Action

As Jewish environmental leaders, what drives us to do the work we do? Is it a single transformative experience? Or a longer build-up over months or years? Some of us grew up with an attachment to nature. For others of us, meeting someone whose father died from pesticide exposure, or participating in the first Earth Day back in 1970, or, more recently, watching Al Gore in the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” was a call to action. Or for some of us, maybe it was just finally becoming part of a group that also preferred stargazing over “Dancing with the Stars.”

At last week’s Jewcology personal-narrative leadership training, as part of the Teva Seminar, we explored the story of us — our own personal stories, and how those stories are connected to the lives and passions of those around us. By telling our personal stories, we can help people connect not just with us, but with our organizations and with our causes. The story of us exists in a place we all can share, in a place with which we all can identify.

“It’s not about ‘Come do my thing,’ ” one of our facilitators explained. “It’s about ‘Come do our thing.’ ”

We can transform the listening experience from being about the speaker to being about the community.

“The power of stories is so strong that it can move whole organizations,” one participant said. “Stories are alive. We can relate to them even after this workshop. They are part of our lives.”

Everyone has a story, but not everyone knows the best way to tell it. That’s where the Jewcology personal-narrative leadership training comes in, helping leaders to better communicate and tell powerful stories.

We all may be working toward the same goals, but we also all have different stories. What is your story of us?

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