Inspiring intentional communities

New art in the old shuk: community redevelopment in Afula

New art in the old shuk: community redevelopment in Afula

Last week I was in Israel/Palestine, on a tour of intentional communities with Hakhel, Hazon’s intentional communities incubator, for which Asiyah was selected in the spring. Over six jam-packed days, our group of 12 community leaders from the US, Mexico, Ukraine, and Russia visited communities up and down the country.

The diversity of communities we saw was stunning—from a lefty urban kibbutz to a Druze youth-engagement collective, and from an arts-based community-revitalization movement to an eco-hasidic moshav. (Stay tuned for a blog post about some of the individual communities we visited.)

Two things captivated me as I made my way through these many places:

  1. The thickness of these communities. While we witnessed a variety of arrangements, an aspect common to many of them was the way the core community members came together … intentionally. The community was one of their top three areas of personal focus, often because it dovetailed with family and/or work. Perhaps they had an arrangement for after-school childcare or a car-share pool, or maybe they all worked at the same place, which leads me to…

  2. Mission-driven communities. What all of these groups had in common was that they were working toward a vision beyond themselves. An urban kibbutz runs a local school; a religious community offers free Shabbat dinners in their underdeveloped neighborhood; a university alumni group beautifies public spaces in Be’er Sheva. Though many of these examples rely on unique aspects of Israeli civic culture, the message was clear: community is built around an objective or a vision.

You can read about Asiyah’s mission and vision here. Is this something you’d like to help build? Our Villaging (i.e., community thickening) Committee is looking for a few excited folks to join us in this process. We warmly invite you to come village with us.