We are all connected. In the world of Noel Cunningham the connections were strung together to create a tapestry of love. Food is one of the universal languages of love—and in his capacity as owner of Strings restaurant he would welcome the rich and the poor and feed them with love. I got to know Noel through his connection to Dr. Rick (Hodes) who saves and improves the lives of the indigent and homeless people of Ethiopia. Last year Noel spearheaded a dinner of unconditional love to support Dr. Rick’s work in Ethiopia. Rita and I were graciously invited by Robyn and Bob Loup and that evening I saw many of our KE community in attendance—supporting the work of Dr. Rick. Noel helped raise that evening over $500,000 for Dr. Rick’s hospital.
A string of life was severed this week. Noel Cunningham is dead. His funeral will be this Friday. I don’t know why he called his restaurant “Strings” but I would like to develop (in his honor) a notion of strings for our KE community. This is not a colored string some Kabbalah communities encourage individuals to wear, it is a string that we can develop—an invisible string– stronger even than any rope with knots.
There is a Jewish law, which on first observation seems to be a good example of finding, or better put, creating a loophole. On the Sabbath there is an injunction against carrying (anything) in the public domain. Yet, a community can agree to construct an Eruv (a string) around the boundary of the neighborhood and thereby allow the residents to carry—the string makes the public into a private domain. If you live within the Eruv you can therefore carry (which creates a wonderful convenience for people bringing food to each other’s homes and for children to be carried or strolled).
For those not familiar with Eruv (you can read a summary on Wikipedia) there are three in Denver—and the use of string to connect poles (telephone, electric or poles made for the purpose of creating a perimeter) along a neighborhood creates a symbolic enclosure. I mentioned that it seems like a loophole—for the ‘boundary’ the Eruv creates appears flimsy at best.
The word Eruv has many meanings in Hebrew including ‘collateral’ as in what one may put up as security for a loan. From this comes a well known phrase—“we are eruvs for each other”—we are each other’s collateral. If we understand fully the intent of this notion, the Eruv placed around a neighborhood is indeed a symbolic enclosure—but one powerful enough to string a community together—to make them collateral for each other. If the string holds around the neighborhood (and the Eruv is checked to see that the string is intact) then symbolically the relationships in the community are intact and we are then permitted to carry (each other’s load).
Starting this week we would like to extend to all of you an invitation to send us announcements of life events that you would like to share with your KE community. We have some other ideas about creating community connection and are interested in hearing from you what strings you would like to see us implement to create connection. We are each other’s collateral. Noel taught this. May we be blessed to carry on his work and his message—string together.