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Junction

Connecting the dots

We have a saying in Romanian: “pofta vine mâncând” - it translates to “appetite comes while eating”. All Romanian kids have surely heard this saying throughout their childhood when they didn’t want to eat their veggies...

Growing up in a Romanian family, I’ve hated this saying. But I now see this saying has so much more value, especially when thinking about inspiration.

Many times an acceptable excuse we use these days is “I’m not inspired”.

But I’d argue inspiration comes once you sit your ass down and actually start working. Just like appetite.

Inspiration is not “something” that hits you once in a while, metaphorically speaking, thus magically turning you into a more productive and motivated self.

Right?

If you want to be inspired, you have to be consciously “cultivating inspiration”.

You might be asking: “Ok, so how do I do that?!

Truth is, I don’t believe there is a recipe. But one of the easiest and most fun ways to work on this would be to surround yourself with people that share common interests. And get enthusiastic around the same topics.

So that’s exactly what I got the chance to be a part of when the Junction staff invited me to Stockholm, Sweden, where they gathered thirty Multipliers for a three-day … I wouldn’t call it a “seminar”… or a “conference” … let’s call it a “three-day-inspirational-weekend” – Junction Multipliers.

You might now wonder what or who those exact Multipliers are…

Don’t worry, they are humans, just like you and me!

But what defines them is their ability to form communities around different topics, places and, especially, Judaism. They are do-ers, change-makers, usually people who already did or will soon apply for Junction grants.

Put people with common interests under the same roof and let there be magic!

And by magic I mean people who throw ideas back and forth, come up with new constant collaborations, interconnecting their local communities, and finally growing the whole European community.

I had the opportunity to listen to a lot of personal stories, family histories, and I was also able to figure out that each and everyone of us at one point discovered their Jewish side and then got involved somehow…

Those three days I witnessed unstoppable chatter, a huge amount of general enthusiasm and, hopefully, the birth of some big ideas I could actually imagine and envision … All those things gave me goosebumps.

Often goosebumps.

I asked myself: “Why would I get those goosebumps?

And the only answer I could figure out was the feeling of belonging.

Belonging to something bigger than myself.

Belonging to something I actually started belonging to way before I knew I was belonging to it – I mean those times when I was just a kid and went to Jewish camps.

Having the feeling that I’m not just a participant anymore, but more of a creator for the future participants, made me appreciate all the things I’ve learnt as a kid at Jewish events. And all those people who got involved way back when for me to be who I am today.

I would’ve never thought someone like me can actually have an impact on someone else’s life if it wasn’t for my own life being changed.

The “often goosebumps” were present probably also because I was able to connect the dots. They say you can only connect the dots of your life looking behind, understanding how everything formed your path throughout life…

And being in a room full of people who have very different personal stories, but very similar Jewish backgrounds and reasons for which they have an active Jewish life, committed to create experiences for others to be inspired and united in a community … that’s connecting the dots of my life. That’s my identity. And it’s funny how I was not really aware of it before being put in the same room with people like me.

Connecting the dots, getting to understand that every issue someone once had is now turned into an opportunity to help others … that’s the quintessence of Junction for me.

Check out our blog for more inspirational interviews with people that already used grants and don’t forget to join us in December 2019 in Athens for the Junction Annual, where there will be around 200 attendants. You should read here about how it was last year.

You can find here 100+ photos from our event.

Also, here is a short video about those few days:

Written by Ariel Constantinof

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