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.
Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum's Rosh Hashanah Sermon, entitled "Let Oneness Reign: A Sermon on Interconnectedness" is available to listen to or read.
This week, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Labor Day weekend is now in the rearview mirror! Time has moved very strangely for me during this pandemic period, but still, it has continued ticking forward, and we now find ourselves less than two weeks out from Rosh Hashanah. We prepare ourselves to conclude one cycle and to begin a new one, uncertain about what the new year will bring, but also with a sense of hope.
This week, Parashat Ki Tavo opens with a famous sequence. The Israelites are told that when they will enter into the land, possess it and settle in it, they shall gather the first fruits of the soil, put them in a basket, bring them to a priest, and make two declarations. The first declaration is an acknowledgement that this is the land that God promised to their ancestors. The second, longer declaration is an abridged telling of all of Israelite history in a few verses, beginning with the words "Arami oved avi...":