This year the world lost an icon in the Israeli music world, Arik Einstein (z”l). With his passion for social change and idealistic spirit he composed the well-known song Ani V’ata Neshaneh et Ha’olam (You and I will change the world). As my fellow PresenTense fellows and I looked to this song for inspiration in a seminar on Visioning, one line in particular jumped out at me. “Ani v’ata ne’naseh mehatchalah” (you and I will start at the beginning). As we progressed through the seminar and attempted dreaming, designing, and articulating our visions, it became very clear to me that my visions for The Akara Project are long range and riveting. With my suitcase full of plans for my venture, I am very much at the beginning of a journey. According to Einstein, a very appropriate place to start.
However, the beginning is not always the most comfortable and pleasant place. In this seminar, we characterized beginnings as Egypt—the place that one must leave in order to travel through the wilderness and arrive in the Promised Land. I see and hear this Egypt often. The other day I stood next to a woman struggling with infertility while another woman asked her advice about what to name the child she was carrying in her womb. Shortly thereafter, I was with another woman who has been trying to conceive for years and witnessed another woman ask her how long she’s been married, express surprise when hearing the high number, and go on to share with great pride that she bore three children in three years. These women are in Egypt. As long as we remain a community in which we cease to educate ourselves and our members towards a greater level of sensitivity, we are all in Egypt together. It is time to get out and begin our journey.
As political philosopher Michael Walzer said, “The only way to the Promised Land is through the wilderness—there is no way to get there together except by joining together and marching.” I have begun marching, holding tight to The Akara Project and leaping into the wilderness. I am deeply grateful that this wilderness is not one that I need to traverse solo. As part of the PreseTense cohort, I have entrepreneurs, business professionals, and visionaries to march alongside me. I anticipate that as I continue to progress with my venture there will be times when my marching will be heavy and slow, and others when it will feel light-footed and graceful. There may even be times when I find myself marching circuitously as the Israelites did for years on end. However, I hope that throughout my journey, my marching steps will always be echoed by others. I hope that while marching alongside colleagues, mentors, and coaches, our footsteps will share moments of unison, harmony, syncopation, as well as dissonance, making music that will inspire social change. Ani Ve’ata ne’shaneh et ha’olam (You and I will change the world).