How To Communicate Belonging

It’s Friday, Sept. 2nd, the end of the first week of school. I’ve been watching Rachel, my 7-year-old across the street neighbor get off the bus all week. But today is special.

Jennifer, her mom is standing in the driveway holding balloons in her hand and looking in the direction of the approaching bus. Rachel steps off the bus, gets a hug and is handed the balloons. She skips down the driveway with them bouncing overhead. Jennifer’s celebratory greeting is for her daughter’s first week of 2nd grade.

In Judaism, greeting guests is called Hakhnasat Orkhim which invites us to elevate our connections with others, offering our full attention, and helping them feel comfortable.

Why greetings matter?

By giving your attention and offering a welcome, you are saying, “I see you. You matter. You being here is important. You belong.” That’s a message that matters.


This week, be deliberate to greet, acknowledge and attend to people: colleagues, children, clients and cashiers to name a few. Practice your own version of Hakhnasat Orkhim.  Balloons are optional!