Homo Ludens, By Chaim Heller, Head of School
Our 36th anniversary soiree is now sold out. We rented out a huge space (an airport hangar!) filled it with chairs and table in every imaginable way and still sold out of tickets. The tickets were pricey – by our standards – and we still sold out.
Why? Why do so many people come to an event like the Soiree when we also grumble about “yet another dinner, who needs it,” and so on. Why give up an evening with friends or loved ones to come to an airport hangar, even if it is beautifully decorated? And its not just SDJA. This holds true for attending other community events, like AIPAC, FIDF, StandWithUs, JFS, Seacrest and so many more. I used to think it was just because we wanted to support the causes represented, and I’m sure that’s a big part of it.
But you’ll see that at most of these event people seem to have a really good time. We enjoy supporting SDJA, and the other causes that we find meaningful, but we also really enjoy being with each other. Dutch sociologist Johan Huizinga coined the term “homo ludens” or humanity at play. Huizinga showed that people are biologically wired to play from infancy and that need never leaves us. We look to have fun with no expectation of any benefit other than enjoyment. Huizinga had no idea that 75 years after his findings SDJA would have a 36th anniversary party that completely sold out ahead of schedule. But he likely wouldn’t have been surprised. After all, as Cyndi Lauper taught us, “Girls (and guys) just wanna have fun!” (And support their school while they’re at it.)
See you all next week at the Soiree!