The sacred mess that is often our local community calendar is the consequence of having so many organizations, each of which needs events, meetings and fundraisers to sustain its individual mission. We try to coordinate so that events don’t collide, but we don’t think that a free day should be just that: free, with nothing on either side — with no expensive ad to put in a journal that only honorees and guests will read; no chicken dinner with a fish and vegetarian offering to not get a tax deduction on; and no gift that may soon be returned or exchanged for something that someone actually wants.
Free is not only a “price”; it’s also an expression of redemption, a sense that our time belongs to us to spend as we see fit so that when we go to an event, we really want to be there. And we’re not seeing all the same people we saw a few hours or days earlier now all dressed up and uncomfortable.
In the aggregate, our breathless community schedule is hurting us. People just don’t want to come out. Most dinners and happy occasions today lack originality and spark.
Erica Brown, “Running On Empty”, The Jewish Week (7 June 2013), 54.