This week we marked the one year anniversary since the 2016 election. Over the past year, so many of us have experienced feelings of disappointment, anger, grief, and (at times) despair, as our core beliefs -- values like justice, equality, human dignity, compassion, and love -- have been attacked from every angle. This week's election provided a glimmer of hope.
My word of the week is HOPE -- TIKVAH in Hebrew.
This week's parasha (Chayei Sarah) opens with Abraham mourning the loss of his beloved wife Sarah, grieving and crying over her. And then, after seeing to her burial, he turns his attention to the task of finding a wife for his son Isaac and ensuring a future for his covenanted family.
Our tradition shows us this pattern in countless ways. In the words of the Psalmist, we read "ba-erev yalin bechi, v'la-boker rina" -- "In the evening one may lie down weeping, but joy comes in the morning" (Ps. 30:6). As human beings and as Jews, we are hard-wired for resilience.
This week we marked the one year anniversary since the 2016 election. Over the past year, so many of us have experienced feelings of disappointment, anger, grief, and (at times) despair, as our core beliefs -- values like justice, equality, human dignity, compassion, and love -- have been attacked from every angle. This week's election provided a glimmer of hope. The results of an "off-year" election cannot undo the past (we still have our work quite cut out for us, if we are to ground our society in our positive values!). However, the fact that so many Americans across the country rejected racist, sexist, xenophobic and/or homophobic platforms, provides us with some hope that perhaps our values are shared by enough in our American society to turn the tide.
The Kavana community is far from alone in applying our spiritual lens to American society in this moment, or believing that our religious values can and should inform our engagement in the world. This week, I'm happy to be able to share this piece, assembled by Auburn Seminary, entitled "Surprising Surge of Hope," in which 12 religious leaders (from various faith traditions) answer the question of what has given them hope over the past year.
What gives you hope in this moment? For me, the photos below -- snapshots into recent weeks in the life of Kavana (specifically, the Green Team's environmental clean-up and kids learning about Abraham at Moadon Yeladim) -- fill me with hope.
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!