“Jewish unity exists as an idea. Why then should it not exist as a fact?” – Rabbi Lord

Jonathan Sacks, One People p. vii


Dr. George Vaillant, psychiatrist and Harvard medical school professor, summarized

the outcome of his sixty year study of 800 men and women in what makes humans

flourish, saying, “The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to

other people.” While most of us seem to intuitively know this, many of us do not

take the time to care for our relationships. Instead, we are driven by our desire for

self-gratification. This leads us to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion and try

to fulfill ourselves with the fruits of our labor, possessions that we don’t really need

that don’t bring us any closer to happiness. The irony of it all, as shown by Dr.

Vaillant, is that the people who value relationships over financial success tend to be

more financially successful, happier and healthier. The reason our desire for the self

does not bring us true fulfillment, is because our deepest desire is to love and

connect with one another. This is precisely why connection aids us in all spheres of



The High Holy Holidays are an opportunity to nourish ourselves with new values

and improve our relationships with the people we share the deepest roots with, our

friends and families. Whether the concept of getting together with your family

excites you, or it’s something you dread, the connection always leaves something to

be desired. There is always room for improvement. First, we must take a look at

ourselves and see what we want to change. After searching, we will discover that in

every place we feel a lack, be it spiritual or material, it is the result of our current

lack of connection.


Connected Wisdom provides an opportunity for transformation, and the holidays

are the perfect time, not just the perfect excuse to get things started. By using the

ancient wisdom of the circle, we have a clear method for reconnecting with our

heritage. The Jewish people share a history. Our ancestors were once connected, not

by language, race or nationality, but by an ideology to unite in their devotion to the

single God. If we are able to unite using the method of the circle, we are reentering

this process and rekindling the connection that lives within us.


The process of the circle begins with a series of questions, where different views are

added, but unlike a normal discussion, we make the conscious choice not to argue or

criticize each other. We listen to our friends with our hearts, not our minds. By

making these additions, we will come to a sum opinion and feel a new level of unity

and connection with each other that lasts a lifetime. Whether we know it or not,

these connections have a profound effect on our life and the world around us. We

break free from our routines and start developing a new perception of the world

that becomes contagious. We start becoming our true spiritual selves, a true source

of light for the people around us.