Community: An Introduction to an Idea in the Making

Community: The origin of the word “community” comes from the Latin munus, which means the gift, and cum, which means together, among each other. So community literally means to give among each other.

This is the beginning of an introspective series on community. This word, the idea, has come up a lot in relation to education, but more recently it has emerged on many other levels. So I wanted to delve into it as a question. It must be a question because as a writer, and artist, I don’t have any answers. Having a question about what community can be, leads me to many answers. Many of those explanations lie in different areas of my life: spiritual, sustainable, educational, astrological, planetary, familial and many other subsections that I have not yet even thought of. For now, we will just settle on a short introduction.

Yesterday, I received a very unpleasant phone call from a very close business associate. Close in the fact that we have worked together for over 15 years, and have come to respect each other in a manner that goes beyond work. In a matter of speaking, he is like family. The phone call was regarding one of his 10 children. His son, 25, had just died the previous evening of a drug overdose. My friend is a deeply committed orthodox jew of the Frommer Community (hence my lead in.) To say the least, the news hit me like a Mack truck.

I never take the news of a child’s death, even an adult child, very well. It is the most painful of things that I know of. With all the other stresses we had been dealing with, they paled in comparison to this. A young man’s life has ended, and it ended so close to home. And when I think of drug addiction and young people, I begin to have questions about community.

At the moment, I do not want to delve any deeper into this as it is highly personal, and there are other peoples’ feelings to think of. But I just want to put it out there that community may be more than just having a few things in common. What we all have in common is humanity. And this needs to be our starting point. America has been based on individualism, and the results are everywhere to be seen. Now we are in a time where real help will be needed. And can I extend my own hand even though I myself may be suffering. This is where the discussion on community needs to begin.

I will continue on this in the days to come. But first I must pay my condolences to my friend.


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