Last Shabbat, Jewish communities everywhere read Parashat Yitro, which tells the story of the giving of the Ten Commandments and describes revelation at Sinai, a peak moment of closeness between the Israelites and God.
Last Shabbat, Jewish communities everywhere read Parashat Yitro, which tells the story of the giving of the Ten Commandments and describes revelation at Sinai, a peak moment of closeness between the Israelites and God. Here in our Kavana community, this revelatory moment continued to reverberate at our Winter Spirituality Retreat, held at Camp Kalsman! One participant described it as a "wonderful weekend full of intentional movement of mind, body and heart," and another called it "a joyful and truly generative experience." Special thanks to retreat leaders Stacy Lawson, Julie Kohl, Nicki Sadow-Hasenberg, to staff leaders Rabbi Josh Weisman and Traci Marx, and to all of the participants who made this experience what it was... a peak spiritual experience, and perhaps a small taste of thetranscendental moment of Sinai!
Of course, no retreat can last forever, nor could the Israelites remain at the mountain forever.
This coming week, the Torah pivots into Parashat Mishpatim, a Torah portion chock full of detailed laws. Most of these deal with "mitzvot bein adam l'chaveiro"... that is, thecommandments that govern human relationships. While many are seemingly quite mundane and even technical, these laws serve as the building blocks of society, as "Torah" (in its highest sense) manifests in the everyday.
Similarly, here at Kavana, we return to our "regularly scheduled program" this week -- all sorts of experiences designed to help our community members learn and grow, navigate life decisions, and find holiness in each and every week. You're invited to join us for any events below that catch your eye, of course, but in particular, we want to highlight two:
a) the musical Shabbat service scheduled for this Friday night -- a great way to end your work week with a taste of the transcendent,
b) the End of Life and Advance Care workshop on Feb 10th. We're creating a safe space for important but hard conversations, and hope you will join us. Making decisions around your wishes is truly the best gift you can give to your loved ones!
As we "come down from the mountain" and move into the rhythms of life's continued journey, we look forward to seeing you and being in community with you.
I had been eagerly awaiting my first Kavana Partner Meeting. We brought the whole family, showed up early to help set up, and looked forward to being pleasantly surprised by whatever this much-talked-about event would bring.
Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my head around the time scale of Jewish history. A week and a half ago, we recalled the Exodus from Egypt, an event that took place some 3500 years ago, while sitting around seder tables much like our rabbinic ancestors might have done 2000 years ago. Our Jewish tradition connects us to the ancient past, and that is part of the great power of it.
Yesterday morning, many in the Kavana community were marking the 8th day of Pesach with a truly beautiful and uplifting Shabbat/Festival morning service. Unbeknownst to us at the time, 1250 miles south, Jews similarly gathered were experiencing a terrifying attack on their synagogue. Just six months after the attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, it leaves a pit in our stomachs to think that perhaps this is becoming a pattern.