Last week, Kavana deepened our efforts to help address Seattle's homelessness crisis with an opportunity to learn more. Two dozen people gathered to watch a screening of Trickle Down Town, a documentary that sheds light on roots of the homelessness crisis, introduces a variety of people working to address the problem, and, most importantly, reminds us that people experiencing homeless are people with complex and rich lives.
Last week, Kavana deepened our efforts to help address Seattle's homelessness crisis with an opportunity to learn more. Two dozen people gathered to watch a screening of Trickle Down Town, a documentary that sheds light on roots of the homelessness crisis, introduces a variety of people working to address the problem, and, most importantly, reminds us that people experiencing homeless are people with complex and rich lives. Shockingly, there are 12,000 homeless people in King County, and this film showed us their real faces and stories, including many you would not expect, from an employed mail carrier to a laid-off machinist to an artist.
After the film there was a lively discussion with the filmmaker, Tomasz Biernacki, and Josh Castle from the Low Income Housing Institute, which runs many of the Tiny House Villages around the city. Attendees got to learn more about how these villages provide an important step towards permanent, stable housing by providing safety, community, and support.
At the end of the evening, we captured reactions to the film and discussion in writing. In these "word clouds," you can see the mix of emotions that confronting homelessness stirs in us, and the overwhelming desire we felt to do something!
Seeing this film made me feel:
As a result of seeing this film, I want to:
In that spirit, we invite you to join us as Kavana hosts and shares a potluck dinner with residents of the Northlake Tiny House Village on Sunday, April 28th from 4:30p - 6:30pm. This is a way to meet some of the real people experiencing homelessness in an interactive setting, and to expand our sense of community to include those who are often marginalized. It's also a great way to respond to the Passover seder's call to "let all who are hungry come and eat" (and this activity is conveniently timed to be the day after Passover ends!). Sign-up here.
This potluck will be followed by more opportunities for action around homelessness and housing issues. Email Rabbi Josh if you'd like to get involved in these efforts!
The Torah is usually terse and concise, but this week's parasha, Chayei Sarah, centers around a long story that is anything but! All 67 verses of Genesis chapter 24 are devoted to a single narrative: the tale of Abraham sending his servant on a journey to find a wife for his son Isaac, and returning with Rebecca, a woman of great agency, strength and generosity.
We Jews know how to wait. That is, we deeply understand humanity's imperfections, and that the presence of injustice or cruelty in our world cannot undermine our steadfast focus on trying to achieve our vision of a more perfect, more just future. We have lots of historical experience to draw on, and much language for this kind of spiritual resilience. One line that's been swimming through my head this week is from the prayer "Ani Maamin": "v'af al pi she-yitmameah, im kol zeh achakeh lo." Translating loosely here (and transposing what we're waiting for from a messianic figure to a time characterized by messianic ideals), this means: despite the fact that it's taking a long time for the world to change in the ways we believe it should, still, we are undeterred; we will wait - and work - until we arrive at an era of peace and justice.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the violent attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Its memory casts a long shadow for me, and this year, the anniversary feels like a powerful reminder of the very high stakes of next week’s election.