Facebook Entry March 15, 2019. The preface: Today, we embark on a journey. Well, for some, you’ve known of this journey for a while. We’re feeling very nomadic. Our home, we have lovingly called Gesher, of the last 29 years (and its almost 5 acres in southwest Portland) is about to go onto the market. We have an agreement with the City of Portland, 3 years in the making, that someone (not us!) can build 17 homes on this property, while keeping one third of it as the beautiful forest that it is and that has made our lives and the experiences of all who have visited here feel so serene. Our home, as it has stood for a symbol of our connection to our life’s work and our village, the vessel of our deepest memories, transformations shared, the place where our children have grown up and where we have grown old, hopefully, in wisdom, is where Laurie and I have lived for the greatest number of years in our lives, where we have welcomed thousands to our family dinner table and immersed a generation and a half of strangers become friends and even family, in joyous Jewish living, is likely to be demolished. Seventeen homes will be in its stead. And while that thought brings substantial pain, it also makes us mindful of our nomadic world: nothing stays the same. Ever. All of life is mist, vapor. But to share our gifts passionately, to celebrate the stories that others have shared, to keep building a deep and abiding sense of village and home in a world that makes them elusive; that remains our mission.
You say, “How can you live for 29 years in the same home and feel nomadic?” The chutzpah. Yet, when I look at our lives, when I examine its underpinnings in the sociology of America (which is all about loneliness and disconnection), when I look at how the world has changed over those last 29 years—our neighborhood, our friendship circle, our family—when I examine the changes deeply, I truly think that we’re all nomadic. We’re all swept up in this world, wandering, encountering the unexpected, traveling more distance and faster than anyone identified as a “true” nomad, and, I contend, are truly in need of thinking of ourselves as nomadic: as travelers in a world that is
constantly changing, constantly confronting us, no matter how well situated we feel we might be, with significant challenges to our identity, to our sense of well-being, to our work and our play, to our sense of belonging. I believe, right now, most of us would describe ourselves as “strangers in our own land,” most of us struggle to feel deeply connected and are often alone, most of us are buffeted by “forces of nature” that make us feel terribly out of control, and yet, if there is anything that I have learned over the last three decades, I believe that we can move about in this nomadic world with a core value system and strategy for living that can allow us to flourish and to engage the sacred journeys of lives. It’s why I want to write this book entitled “FInding Home In a Nomadic World.” Why I am an optimist that we will find a way to continue to live fully engaged in the pursuit of home and village and continue to join others, and invite others to join us, in the search for connection in this nomadic world. I don’t know where our next address will be, or what the outcome of our listing our property will truly be. I feel buffeted by a kind of vulnerability, anxious, yet creative. And, for you, my readers, I will probe this journey with stories that I think speak to the heart of this experience. I will keep you posted.
This Passover will have special meaning. We will, likely, for the last time in our current home, welcome souls to join us on the edge of the desert of freedom, to contemplate wandering in the midst of the feast. We would love to have friends join us and share how Gesher has impacted their lives and that of their adult children. To let us know of where their journeys have led them. (We also, as always at Gesher, look forward to including newcomers to our celebrations.) We will mix our sense of displacement with the joy of freedom - and ask - isn’t it always a home (and homeland) that we are journeying toward? We will prepare for inevitable wandering. You can find the schedule for Gesher’s seders on Gesher’s Facebook page and on Gesher’s website: ourjewishhome.org.
We have intentially shared our home with so many others to inspire you to recover home in your own life. As I think of it, it’s time for us to “walk the talk” and to incorporate what we’ve loved about our home, our core values, our sharing our gifts, into our next abode and make it truly a home, which in its own unique way will be a home for building a new Gesher.