Reflections from Rabbi Josh's first Kavana Partner Meeting

I had been eagerly awaiting my first Kavana Partner Meeting. We brought the whole family, showed up early to help set up, and looked forward to being pleasantly surprised by whatever this much-talked-about event would bring.

I had been eagerly awaiting my first Kavana Partner Meeting. We brought the whole family, showed up early to help set up, and looked forward to being pleasantly surprised by whatever this much-talked-about event would bring.

The first surprise was seeing at least a dozen people there very early as we approached. The second surprise was that they were all outside!

For those of you who were there, you might be thinking that what comes next is a disappointment, as we discovered that the Community Center we had rented was still locked and that we couldn't reach anyone to let us in.  

But far from a disappointment, all the things that were out of our control turned out to be not only the most surprising, but also the most delightful, part of the morning! People pitched in to set up the food outside. People happily gathered over bagels and coffee to chat with other partners they hadn't seen in a while, enjoying the sunny morning. When we started the agenda outside, everyone gamely gathered in neighborhood-based groups to meet, share, and cook up plans. And when we finally gained access to the building, folks not only jumped in to set up in a hurry, but the Board's presentation unfolded in what felt like an unhurried way, despite the late start, with the full attention and engagement of a room full-to-bursting with Kavana partners.

In addition to it having been a gorgeous day, I got to see so many of Kavana's great qualities in action:

Flexibility! The fact that everyone rolled with the lock-out and easily made it into a fun impromptu picnic speaks volumes. Not every community would roll so well with that kind of surprise! (This is an understatement!) From our pluralistic nature, to the variety of ways we offer to opt in to Jewish life, to using multiple spaces, this is a uniquely flexible community!

Forgiving! I didn't hear anyone search for somewhere to place blame for the snafu. Even when the Community Center staff member finally came with the key, those who interacted with him were nothing but gracious.

Fun! We had fun with it all! From eating and chatting outside, to the "state of the union" presentation and questions, to the kids playing in the hall and in the park, everyone approached the whole morning with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and positivity.

Add to that a beautifully musical Friday night service, a jam session for the High School program, and a fantastic-as-always Havdalah Club, and it was another wonderful weekend at Kavana. Precious few rabbis and their families are privileged to be part of such a flexible, forgiving, and fun community; I'm grateful that we are.

L'shalom,

Rabbi Josh Weisman