Sep 08 2013

Back in the Swing of Things

by at 9:25 am under Uncategorized

By now, everyone is back in the swing of things following the Labor Day holiday weekend. Needless to say, the past work week has been consumed by preparations for the CCSG site visit. We are rounding into shape, and our next milestone is a mock site visit on September 11.

My week was truncated by the earliest start to Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) that I can remember. We had the most interesting sermon – not on Syria or the Middle East, but rather on the components of religious identification. The key elements were described as the three B’s – Belonging, Behavior and Belief. Many religions are grounded in an orthodoxy of Belief, but in Judaism the senses of Belonging (a shared cultural identify) and Behavior (cultural values translating to actions, and for some, ritual observances such as the Kosher laws) are for many Jews more important than Belief. So, it was a most thought-provoking way to commence a new year – in many ways, each person can consider the relative proportions of each of the B’s in their own lives.

I think this way of parsing religious identification resonates for the work we do here at Georgetown. Certainly there are elements of belonging (to the university, to the cancer center, and to each other), behavior (how we interact with each other) and belief (our shared conviction that we are here to do something important and special). However, each of these components can and should be strengthened. Each of us will decide which of these components matters most, and can think about how to strengthen it. This can occur in many different ways – individually and collectively. And we have a great opportunity to make common cause with our MedStar colleagues. On Sunday and Monday there is a joint GU-MedStar research retreat that represents a step towards creating a commonly shared sense of belonging. Unfortunately, I missed the Sunday sessions because Harriet and I needed to attend two separate funerals in Philadelphia, but I look forward to very interesting sessions on Monday.

The coming week promises to be very busy. I hope your week is productive too!


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