The last Sunday of every February is now Ethical Culture Rejuvenation Day. This holiday was created to be a holiday that is exclusive to the Ethical Culture movement. Holidays exist to bind a community together by celebrating shared values and traditions. Ethical Culture does not have many holidays that it can call its own. It seemed to me that it was important to create one.

Ethical Culture Rejuvenation Day is a day for members of Ethical Societies to get in touch with the heart and soul of Ethical Culture. In our platforms, we spend a lot of time dealing with ideas and issues. They are important and I wouldn’t take that away from us. But the balance seems very tilted toward the cerebral and not so much toward the emotional. By celebrating together we deepen the bonds between each other and between the society. That is what holidays do.

Our emotional attachment to the ideas behind Ethical Culture is very important. It is what binds us together. Felix Adler said that each person must search for their connection to the universal. For many of us this seems like spiritualism and we don’t emphasize it much. This new holiday is a chance to celebrate our connection to each other. It is also a chance to renew our commitment to continue to bring these ideas to life outside of our societies.

At our society we celebrate with music that expresses our shared values. Music is one of the easiest ways to get to the emotional core. As we watched each music video, I took a brief moment to highlight the values expressed by the artist.

Finally, I took a little time to reflect on the idea that our way is not the only way. Since we are committed to reaching out to others, it is important to remember that most groups believe that they have the best ideas. We are no exception. In order to build a larger community, we must get comfortable with other people having their own ideas. That is the way to build bridges.

– Jeff Grippe