5/6 July 2019, 5/6 Tammuz 5779

Zoe Jacobs writes:

As a Harry Potter fan, I love a bit of magic and this week’s portion is full of it. Blood sprinkling, hyssop dipping, rock knocking and serpent sculpting.

It seems an odd moment in the Israelites’ story – where problems come up, God waves her metaphorical magic wand and the problem disappears.

This is not how it works any more. We might be grateful we are no longer likely to suffer 40 days and 40 nights of rain (climate change aside) nor do we think we should stone women who have been sexually assaulted. But neither do we have a direct line to God’s magic powers. If we want something to change, it is people who will make it happen.

This week I am on Citizens UK 6-day training in Birmingham. FPS is a member institution of Barnet Citizens and it is with, and through, them that we successfully petitioned Barnet Council to welcome 50 Syrian refugees to the borough and recently ran our listening week which led to our Barnet Citizens listening event.

As one of the leaders on the course just said, “We are here to make change … (I really must stop writing this and start listening again!). This week, along with 50 others from around the UK, I am exploring the best ways we as institutions, and groups of institutions, can create the ‘people power’ to make change. It is inspiring and exhausting. I think this is a remarkably accurate representation of the emotions we’ll experience as I – and I hope, we – move forward trying to make change in our local communities. It is challenging and difficult and can be frustrating but sometimes it will be extraordinary.

It is a shame we don’t have a magic wand, a shame we can’t change the world by clicking our fingers. But we can’t and this is the next best thing. I hope you join me on the Citizens journey.

Zoe Jacobs
Youth and Community Development Manager