Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Suri said: No Modeling


To Tom and Kate, our Suri had the name first.

Our Suri, Suri Jacknis, like your Suri is also known for her great taste in clothes and jewelry. But among clergy, educators, lay leaders and our consultants she has one more corner on the  celebrity market. "When Suri says something  it must be true."
In  a minute I'll share what she said that made us all pay attention yesterday.

Until then a little paparazzi
See a smile and then be greeted, but not with the ordinary "how do you do?" Instead wait for the hello that comes from her whole body that says:  I totally see and remember, I want to honor you. The words are more like: "How did that thing go you told me about last time..even if I haven't seen you for a month and that is so exciting and I genuinely care."

She's standing there in the midst of what ever is happening to her: Purpose to  lift you up. And you don't realize it until she's walked away and you say to yourself, "i feel just a little better, no coffee and yet...."

What's she doing in that act and all the ways she works: she's looking out for you and everyone else in the room. And that is why when she speaks folks listen.

When she is in a room, she's already taken every single person's pulse. And if even one person is unhappy, frustrated or confused, she is now wearing that emotion on her face trying to figure out how to turn that around.

Second reason she's the one we all listen to is she is just plain smart in a most Jewish way. Suri has spent her whole life passionately committed to Jewish life and learning. She knows the shoresh, the midrash, the Dewey and the personal story of someone who did something with that perek.

So yesterday when Suri said:
"We used to model and now we get that's not enough. Today learning has to be in authentic settings."
All our consultants, and me in a big way, turned their eyes to hear more. You do always want to hear Suri with your eyes she is full of animated color so you miss too much if you only listen with your ears.

"In my own teaching how many onegs did I do on a Wednesday. How many Shabbat rituals did I do on Thursday?" Today learning is not about modeling and hoping one day someone will live this. Today we are not modeling, we are creating the authentic living and that is where the learning takes place."

Yes my mind went to those "model seders" of yesterday. Save us now and move to the real.

What's most important? Suri's insight. Or the description of her as curriculum. Suri is what Heschel spoke about..yes she is a text person, no wonder we listen to her. Jewish Education Paparazzi, follow her around for a day and see Heschel's teaching come alive, and that's why we listen. Her word and deed, her words are the authentic embodiment of what we learn (not this is what you practice and try out one day), she strives to live what we learn and we viscerally get it. Being a text person is the kind of modeling we need.

Tom and Kate are on PEOPLE, our Suri is all about the Am.