Four Tips for In-Person District Conventions

By Marsha Moller, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, Massachusetts, WRJ Northeast District Treasurer
February 24, 2023

Just as the Israelites struggled with their post-slavery life after leaving Egypt, so do we find ourselves facing uncertainty as we navigate our post-pandemic freedom. Which parts of our Zoom world do we want to keep? Which parts do we want to cast away? What skills have we honed and which habits should we cast aside?

Here are four things to consider as we gather together in person at the upcoming conventions in March, and at upcoming Sisterhood events.

Physical distancing: For some individuals, hugging, kissing, and close contact puts them at risk or makes them feel uncomfortable. Be sure to ask before approaching someone that you have not seen in a while. Everyone has a different risk tolerance, and we all need to be respectful of individual health choices.

Active listening: On Zoom, there were many opportunities to turn off our camera, sit back in our chairs, and cast our eyes away from the speaker. In our face-to-face encounters, how we react to what someone is saying will be on full view. Let’s try to bring back active listening to all of our encounters. Those smile lines or wrinkles of concern around the eyes convey to the speaker that we understand what they are saying. We show active listening with our bodies. When we lean in closer to the other person, when we smile, or nod our heads, for example, we demonstrate active listening.

Mute on/off: For those like me who love to talk, the mute button was good because it ensured that those less talkative had space to make their voice heard. This was a “positive” about Zoom meetings and gatherings; taking a bit of this into our face-to-face world might be a good thing. I am going to try to have an internal mute switch to continue to manage my “air time,” since we are no longer automatically muted at in-person meetings and events.

Turn off distractions: Limit distractions, such as the beeps and pings from our electronic devices, during face-to-face gatherings. Use your judgment to decide when to look at your phone. Perhaps even put the phone away for a few hours on Shabbat, at a convention, or at a sisterhood gathering, unless an emergency is brewing in your life. Be present and let others know that you value the time together.

To everyone who is attending your District Conventions, may you have a wonderful time being together again! 

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