June 29, 2018


How can I be a good, Jewish professional? When should I go to grad school? Am I doing the right work? Am I good at my job? Should I work in the education world? How can I be sure that I am making a good impact with my life? How can I be sure that I am making a good enough impact with my life? How do I talk about Israel on my campus? How should I communicate to people about the work that I do? How do we honor students’ busy schedules and yet empower them to lead initiatives? How? Why? When?

It is the last day before we all head home tomorrow and there is a hunger for answers. These are all questions that I heard today, just from lunchtime until now. It seems as though so much learning has happened that there is a beautiful anxiety to tie it all up in a bow, make some final decisions before we all go back to the real world. What is it that we want to take away as we return to the real world?

These anxieties are a good thing. It’s simultaneously trying to savor the last bite of a delicious meal and asking the chef for the recipe on the way out. And the answers from DWELL staff and faculty that I keep overhearing are the equivalent of, “we actually have a free copy of our cookbook right here. Take it on your way out.”

Right now everyone is downstairs singing. It is a beautiful tish, lit up in fairy lights with DWELL song books on the chairs as people walk in. And it is the best thing to do on the last night after so much learning. Let the reflecting on the learning start tomorrow. For tonight, let us celebrate. Let us celebrate even before we know exactly what it is that we are celebrating. Let us celebrate that this week happened; that we gathered and we learned and we laughed. Tomorrow we can start to answer the questions with the new information that we have learned this week at DWELL.

But tonight, we can say that the week was a success and we can measure it in song. And I am going to go back and join in it.

Vanessa Zoltan is the founder and CEO of Not Sorry Productions and co-host of the podcast, Harry Potter & the Sacred Text. You can usually find her living in Cambridge, MA. but this week she’s DWELLING at Hope Lake Lodge.