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!
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...":