What is Community?

CommunityHow often is that word mentioned in conversation on a daily basis? Just today, I noticed “community” come up in conversation on no less than 19 occasions (of course, that likely had something to do with my attendance at services / davening at Congregation Or Torah in Skokie, a synagogue that prides itself on its diverse membership). While I thought nothing of it in context, it’s clear that people from different walks of life consider community at different levels of importance.


Everyone has their set of priorities and causes they consider championing. For some its raising money while for others its grassroots advocacy. Many have an individual skill set that they can utilize for their issue of choice which can be a social issue, education, or their local house of worship. In my opinion, the reason “community” is so important is because we have a commitment to the people we spend time with (friends, family or neighbors) or get to know, directly or indirectly.


According to Wikipedia, community has two definitions: 1) A group of people living together in one place, esp. one practicing common ownership: “a community of nuns”. 2) All the people living in a particular area or place: “local communities”.

I was taught as a child that the highest form of charity is helping one earn their own livelihood. We all know the old proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. I’m proud to be a part of a community that has been developing solutions. The Jewish United Fund / Jewish Federation has partnered with Jewish Vocational Service / JVS Chicago to focus resources on retraining the long-term unemployed and putting people back to work.


Some people have greater resources, but everyone has the ability to give. Whether it’s volunteering, advocating, or donating – you have a responsibility. Get involved.