Sparks Brighter Than A Barbecue
On Father’s Day, a team from the NYC branch of Connected Wisdom (CW) presented the ultimate gift to fathers in the Mispacha program at the Brooklyn-Queens JCC and their families. The Mishpaha is a social program that brings together young Russian-speaking Jewish families for a variety of activities and holiday celebrations. It wasn’t the coals of a barbeque that ignited on that hot June 21st day, but sparks in the hearts of the approximately fifty people gathered at the Kings Bay Y. About the warmth of the flame that leapt up in the centers of the circles of friends gathered there, a participant remarked, “The audience opened up and connected between them in a way that was hard to believe.” The high-burn conditions were felt by the CW trainers as well, who said, “We had the feeling that they were ready for us, … and we came and ignited them.”
Lost Happiness Located
Not knowing what to expect at the Mishpaha event, fathers and their families were in for the connection experience of a lifetime. What they saw when they entered the JCC was three circles of ten chairs arranged and waiting in a large meeting room and circular connection games and activities waiting for the children on the grass outside. Connected Wisdom hosts, Anna Faktorovich and Kostya Kogan, gave an introductory glimpse of the Connected Wisdom gift to come and prepared participants for their Circles experience. Finally, participants took their places in the circles with all eyes to center to receive the Father’s Day surprise—an in-depth heart-to-heart exploration of the topic of fathers and family using the unique Circles Method, a method specializing in extracting united wisdom from groups of diverse people. Among the treasure of insights discovered during the Father’s Day CW workshop experience, the one perhaps most remarked about afterwards by Circle participants was “the happiness that we all are looking for is actually achieved in connection, when we are giving and doing for other people.”
The True Treasure
Using CW’s Circles method, people who had known one another for years discovered depths in each other they had never known existed. Participants connected in ways they had not experienced before. Said one participant of the CW Circles workshop experience, we had “a chance to hear such interesting aspects of people that we have known for so long and to discover how sensitive and deeply they feel and think.” This is exactly the true treasure that CW and the Circles method specializes in unearthing. As one of the CW team summed up the Circles workshop participant’s experience, “Mostly, the participants sensed some feeling so deep that they could not put it completely into words.” What better Father’s Day gift could there be?
Although the connected wisdom revealed about fathers and family during the workshops was enough to satiate the demands of the most discriminating participant, there were serendipidous spin-offs that were icing on the cake.
While adults participated in the Circles workshop, stiff winds and a wide disparity of ages among the children attending presented obstacles for the planned collective art project. Frustrated by circumstances and curious about what they could overhear from the parent’s workshops, the young people finally asked if they could do workshops too. They quickly learned the Rules of the Workshop and “applied them into their flow of conversation in the most natural way. It was very impressive and heart-warming,” said Inna Smirnova.
Conversation topics spiraled-off from themes of fatherhood and family to incorporate the need for family-like connection among the Jewish people generally. Ellana Burlan reported, “In our circle, participants spoke about the need and benefit of connecting all the Jewish people.” The benefits of connection and desperate need for it was deeply felt and broadened to encircle the entire Jewish people in one of the CW workshop circles.
Mishpaha member and book author, Olga Gilburd, summed up the Father’s Day CW event well when she said, “I never expected such a heart-warming connection among people. There was such a feeling of connection that nothing could interrupt it.” She then followed up her praise for the event with an invitation to the Connected Wisdom team to incorporate the CW workshop Circles into her book presentation event scheduled for the following weekend. CW will be featured on Olga Gilburd’s Facebook page as a collaborator in the event that features her book appropriately titled, Happiness the Jewish Way.