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!
It is now the 6th day of Kislev, and our days continue to get darker even as the moon of this new month grows. Within this Hebrew month (on the 25th), we will arrive at Chanukah!
As the world continues to whirl around us, at times feeling chaotic and hopeless, we at Kavana are reminded to pause and appreciate all the wonderful moments of positive Jewish expression, learning, and identity-building that are happening in our own community. With all the turmoil out there in the world, having a community to serve as a "home base" is all the more important... and in our diverse Kavana community, we have a LOT to be grateful for this week!
In this week's Torah portion, we zoom in on Abraham and Sarah, the founding patriarch and matriarch of the family that will ultimately give rise to all of Jewish history. The Book of Genesis moves quickly here, and Parashat Vayera covers lots of ground!