There's something in the air in New Orleans -- and it's not the smell of beignets. It's the constant "hum" of voices, excitement and enthusiasm of community leaders, students and political figures coming together at this year's Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly to share their ideas and their energy.
It's not people kvetching about everyday life (okay, sometimes it is). If you listen closely, it's the sound of questioning. It's the sound of protest. The sound of inspiration. Of praise and gratitude.
More often than not over the past two days, I have heard many speakers stress the power of the Jewish community, and the power of numbers. It's the power of our people who have continued the repair of a broken city when many of its struggling inhabitants thought that they had already been forgotten. It's the power of our people to protect Israel to pursue peace. It's the power of our people who both acknowledge and accept that there is no such thing as "their problem," but instead take on every issue on as "our responsibility."
What's the buzz? It's the sound of the future. When we leave the Big Easy the real work will resume: We will repair and improve our Jewish communities and the world at large.