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.
In a summer where there is more than enough hard news to go around, this Sunday's victory by the US team at the Women's World Cup is a wonderful cause for celebration in and of itself! If it had just been a win by the US Women's Soccer Team, with a couple of Seattle players in pivotal roles, dayeinu, it would have been enough! But it was so much more than that, and a great reminder of what we're trying to embody here at Kavana.
In this week's Torah portion, Sh’lach L'cha, the Israelites near the end of their 40 year journey through the wilderness. As they stand on the eastern banks of the Jordan river, wondering about the promised land that lies on the other side, God instructs Moses to send out twelve spies (one from each tribe) to scout out the land and bring back a report.
This week's Torah portion, B'ha'alotcha, begins with a command to Aaron, that as preparations for use of the Tabernacle (mishkan) are completed, he is to "set up the menorah, and let the seven lamps give light." Perhaps you can picture the seven-branched menorah, famously featured on Israeli coins and also in a carving on the Arch of Titus in Rome. The menorah is a central symbol of the Jewish people, dating back to ancient times. But why are there seven branches, and why is it emphasized that each of the seven lamps must give off its own light?