Continuing the journey: On to the next goal!

At Kavana, too, we pause for a moment to celebrate the achievements of the week -- the interactive and meaningful communal Kavana seder that took place last Friday night, and countless other seders in your homes, which we've heard contained creative games, meaningful discussions about contemporary issues (from racial justice to the global refugee crisis), delicious food, and wonderful company. And then, immediately, we pivot and look ahead to the programming that will take place over the coming weeks, while we wander from Passover to Shavuot during this Omer period.

Years ago, when one of my children was small, she had a motor delay and learned to walk with the help of a physical therapist. I remember how hard she had to work to achieve each goal. We spent weeks placing toys strategically along the length of the couch, trying to coax her to "cruise" from one end to the other. And then, as soon as she achieved that particular goal, we would celebrate the achievement for but a minute and quickly move onto the next goal, of trying to get her to pivot around a corner or take a step from the couch to the coffee table.  Each individual goal she achieved was a cause for celebration, but it was quickly replaced by a new goal and more hard work ahead.

So it is with this season on our Jewish calendar.  Over the past week, we have sat around seder tables and eaten our fill of matzah, in celebration and commemoration of yetziat mitzrayim, the Exodus from Egypt.  For our ancestors, this "going out" was a monumental goal in and of itself. The centrality of this journey from slavery to freedom cannot be overstated... it is the single biggest building block of our Jewish narrative! But, the minute that the Israelites crossed the sea and made it to the other side, they found themselves in the wilderness and the next chapter of their journey began.  `

And so, this week, we have already begun looking ahead to our next goal. In this season, Jewish tradition mandates that we count the Omer... that is, engage in a nightly count-up from Pesach to Shavuot, from leaving Egypt to the moment of revelation at Mount Sinai. This a journey that focuses outward, on the new grain harvest (omer), and also inward, on our spiritual preparation to embody liberation in our lives and in the world.  There are a plethora of amazing resources available online these days, if you want to count the Omer with a meditative niggun, a kabbalistic intention for each day, or just a simple reminder to recite the traditional blessing and count each day.  (And, for those who are interested in participating, today is the fifth day of the Omer; you can do the math and add one if you want to keep the count going this evening after nightfall.)

At Kavana, too, we pause for a moment to celebrate the achievements of the week -- the interactive and meaningful communal Kavana seder that took place last Friday night, and countless other seders in your homes, which we've heard contained creative games, meaningful discussions about contemporary issues (from racial justice to the global refugee crisis), delicious food, and wonderful company.  And then, immediately, we pivot and look ahead to the programming that will take place over the coming weeks, while we wander from Passover to Shavuot during this Omer period.  

This weekend alone, there are opportunities for communal prayer, for learning, and for community service (you're welcome to join us Sunday for the Green Team's Environmental Clean-up event, or to share a meal with the formerly-homeless residents of the Northgate Tiny House Village).  Special programming around Yom HaShoah, Lag Ba'Omer, and Shavuot will follow during the coming weeks, as well as our Annual Partner Meeting.

In many ways, this is the flip side of the coin of the Dayeinu song we sang at the seder. Although we have achieved so many goals and come so far, it is not enough for us!  The next goal is just around the corner, and we reach, together, as we continue the journey to even greater heights.

Moadim l'simcha - wishing you a joyous end to the Passover festival, and happy counting!