Common Purpose Now, co-founded by UW Professor David Domke, is organizing teams of volunteers to travel from Washington to 18 states, to partner with local organizations to Get Out the Vote for critical national and local elections.
Hello Kavana community members:
As Rabbi Rachel alluded to in her President's Day Torah email, many of us are wondering how to get involved politically in a way that is meaningful to our Jewish values, as well as impactful outside Washington state. I would like to bring a local organization to your attention that is focused on many of the issues we have been discussing -- helping members of traditionally disadvantaged communities across the US exercise their voting rights, getting out the vote in strategic locales in battleground states, and training the next generation of diverse civic leaders. Common Purpose Now, co-founded by UW Professor David Domke, is organizing teams of volunteers to travel from Washington to 18 states, to partner with local organizations to Get Out the Vote for critical national and local elections. I have attended one of the introductory meetings (offered monthly) and an advanced workshop regarding how the state teams operate, and I am overwhelmed - in a positive way - by the passion, organization, thoughtfulness and energy of the entire staff and current volunteers.
There are many ways for people to get involved in this effort on an individual level, but I would be happy to be a point person if there is any interest in having a group from Kavana participate together. While we must be mindful of our tax-exempt status if we act as a group, we can readily just select a trip where we can partner with non-partisan groups on the ground to work on non-partisan voter registration and GOTV efforts that are not affiliated with any particular campaign. And there is of course, no prohibition of any sort to individuals deciding to travel and volunteer together, if we are not formally going under Kavana auspices. There are Common Purpose Now volunteer groups leaving for South Carolina next week, and trips have already happened in Florida and other states; there is lots of work to be done this spring and summer -- and then a massive ground game blitz from September to Election Day.
If you are interested in learning more about Common Purpose Now, I urge you to visit the website: www.commonpurposenow.org. (Don't forget the "now" part). It has a WEALTH of information!
AND the next step for anyone considering traveling would be to attend one of the short introductory meetings. They are currently held monthly on Saturday mornings. (Next ones: March 14 and April 11). This is problematic for those observing Sabbath, but if there is substantial interest, I suspect we can arrange a private gathering, or we can record and rebroadcast one of the meetings. There is a huge important emphasis on doing this civic work in community, (which is why I think it aligns so well with Kavana's values) so gathering together to explore and prepare for volunteering is a critical component of the experience.
Please ping me by email if you'd like to learn more. I find being around the Common Purpose Now team to be the most uplifting, positive and hopeful way to spend time connected to political and civic activism, and I would be honored to share this effort with some of you.
As I sit down to draft this week's message, I pray that you and yours are okay, and weathering this current wave of the pandemic with as much ease and comfort as possible. We know that so many of you have been isolating with Covid or quarantining because of exposure, and others dealing with school closures, work disruptions, and mental health challenges. Please know that the Kavana community is here and intact (even if our activities are online for the next few weeks!); we're all moving through this turbulent time together. If you need support, please don't hesitate to reach out through the Kavana office or to me directly.
Like many of you, I'm feeling the stress of this particular moment. Only a few short weeks ago, the mood felt very different: my household was finally fully vaccinated(!), Kavana was busy planning for a January return to many more in-person events, and there was a generally positive energy in the air... an optimistic zeitgeist. And then (as I'm sure I don't have to explain), this latest Omicron wave hit, like a dark cloud, complicating everything.
As we reflect back on 2021, there is no doubt that this year has been filled with ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. That said, our community has made the most of it, coming together through a wide array of in-person and online events. During 2021, Kavana deepened focus on meeting people’s core needs for communal, emotional, and spiritual support. And when we did find ways to gather -- whether in virtual space, in backyards and parks, through our powerful High Holiday experiences, etc. -- it was magical! See below for snapshots of some incredibly beautiful experiences that we shared during 2021.