n recent years, I've become more cognizant of how often my answer to the question "how are you?" is "busy." Being busy -- multi-tasking, moving from one assignment to the next, juggling many commitments at the same time -- seems like the dominant paradigm in our 21st century American society. And, this condition is only exacerbated by the non-stop inputs we get from media and technology... sometimes to the point of overload!
In recent years, I've become more cognizant of how often my answer to the question "how are you?" is "busy." Being busy -- multi-tasking, moving from one assignment to the next, juggling many commitments at the same time -- seems like the dominant paradigm in our 21st century American society. And, this condition is only exacerbated by the non-stop inputs we get from media and technology... sometimes to the point of overload!
As human beings, we are hard-wired to need rest: the rest that comes with our daily cycle of sleeping and waking, and also the rest that comes when we take time to recharge our own batteries.
One of Judaism's central "spiritual technologies" is that of Shabbat: the radical notion that one day in every set of seven, we are entitled to put aside the busy-ness and simply focus on being and connecting. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks once wrote: "Shabbat is the day we stand still and let all our blessings catch up with us."
In typical fashion for Kavana -- a community that's all about both pluralism and intentionality -- we know that there's not only one right way to "do Shabbat"... but also acknowledge that everyone could use some Shabbat, both at home and in community.
This Shabbat, we're offering options: our "Camp-Style Family Shabbat Service," if upbeat singing and high-energy feels like the right vibe for you this week, or "Shabbat as Spiritual Retreat," where yoga, meditation and chanting will bring Shabbat to life in a more contemplative mode. As we do during the High Holidays, these two opportunities will be offered in the same general time-frame at different venues in Queen Anne (all within easy walking distance), and our hope is that everyone can find their place to plug in. If this Shabbat doesn't work for you, we have yet other options coming up -- our Friday night service meets next on April 5th, and our Shabbat Morning Minyan returns on April 27th (the final day of Passover).
Here's to hoping that we all make it through our busy weeks feeling productive and fulfilled, and can create the space each Shabbat to let our blessings catch up with us!
Thank you for choosing Kavana, and for choosing to make this Seattle Jewish community the richly-textured one that it is! Before the month of June is over, we will close out our programming year with so many great options for ways to engage in Jewish community on your own terms. Whether you join us for tomorrow night's Friday night service (the last one of the year, before we move into summer mode in parks!) or Saturday night's inter-community Tikkun Leil Shavuot, or a family education program or a singing circle or a social meet-up, know that we appreciate the fact that you have opted in, forging your own path for "personalized Judaism in a community context."
Torah is true both that ancient Israelite texts have been preserved intact and lovingly transmitted from generation to generation, and also that at every time and place throughout Jewish history, our ancestors have interpreted and re-interpreted these words (sometimes quite radically!) to keep Torah speaking relevantly to each generation. In this way, Torah represents both tradition and change, and the act of Torah study is famously considered by rabbinic tradition to be as important as all of the other mitzvot put together ("talmud torah k'neged kulam").