Many today long for a sense of belonging, from children & teenagers to young adults & adults. This sense of belonging explains why many from a church background see the Jewish community and long to be part of that community. The Amish Community is similar in many ways.
Prior to World War I, many towns had a similar sense of Community. As more people moved to urban areas, this sense of community was lost. The 60's & 70's stressed individuality over community, resulting in the acceleration of loss of Community. This left many individuals lost and alone, with little or no support.
So, why is this longing so important, and how can we increase a sense of Community?
Community provides stability, social interaction, protection, support, a sense of belonging, and knowing how the person "fits in." The Community provides many answers to the basic questions a person needs to know: who they are and how they relate to the world. The Community also provides a high sense of worth.
For teenagers and young adults, the Community often seems restrictive. As they seek to determine their place, they often push against Community values. While this is to be expected, it is important the teen or young adult understand what the Community provides. They may choose to reject the Community short-term, but most return once they realize the allure of the world is a vapor.
So, how do we build Community?
... to be continued
Blessings - Rabbi Gavri'el