High Holidays 2022/5783 Q&A

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Like all Kavana programs, this event is powered by partners, staff and participants.
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Q&A for Kavana High Holidays 2022/5783

The venue sounds pretty great, but what will happen to all of the outdoor programming in the case of rain (or cold, heat, smoke, etc.)?

We’re hoping for a repeat of the beautiful weather we had last year; if that happens, these High Holiday “urban retreat” days are going to be amazing beyond words! If the weather is less-than-ideal, we’ll need to be flexible, which may entail some last-minute location changes within the venue, and/or a request for attendees to come dressed for the weather. We strongly encourage you to register in advance so that you can stay in the know with any possible last-minute updates!


I’ve never been to a High Holiday “Retreat” before. Should I really plan to stay for the whole day? What do I bring?

We are so excited to be hosting all of our High Holiday offerings at one location! This allows us to create a singular container in which we can really focus on the reflective and introspective work of this season, and we’re definitely taking advantage of it. In that way, we are treating the whole thing as a “retreat” of sorts! We invite folks to come and plan to spend whole days moving in and out of services, discussions, and programs. There are many naturally beautiful spaces to explore, including both gardens and trails to the water; there are shady nooks where you could hide with a book; there are courtyards where small groups can hang out and chat. 

In terms of what to wear and bring, in order to set yourself up for success, here are some ideas:

- Dress comfortably and for the weather (whatever it may be). We suggest sturdy shoes for walking. Kavana’s vibe is more casual than fancy, but Rosh Hashanah will feel a little festive and on Yom Kippur, many people choose to wear white.

- Bring a tallit (prayer shawl) if you wear one.

- If you’re planning on participating in some of the outdoor events, think about what you will need to feel most comfortable. You’re welcome to bring a picnic blanket or camping chairs to sit on, if you like, or a yoga mat or towel to use for yoga.

- On Rosh Hashanah, we want everyone to be well-fed and happy! Kavana will have some snacks and drinks available, and we also encourage you to bring your own water bottle to carry with you as you move around throughout the day. If you’re coming with kids, we encourage you to bring along whatever else might make for a great day for them-- snacks, card games, sunscreen, etc. We have a couple of spots in our schedule for a BYO-meal picnic, so keep an eye out for those and make sure you and your people have the food you need to fuel you. 

- On Yom Kippur, many adults will be fasting so we will not be providing food. If you need to eat/drink, though, please bring whatever you need and make yourself at home.


Why is the cost for non-partners so high?  (Or, common variations on this theme include: What if I am only planning to attend the online events? What if I’m only coming for Yom Kippur? What about for children - do I need to pay for them too?  What if I just want to come check it out?)

We recognize that the requested registration amount of $250/person may seem like a lot. In truth, this amount reflects the real costs of the infrastructure Kavana needs to be able to offer our holiday services and programs (think: providing rabbinic and other staffing, educators, administrative support, renting venues, hosting Zoom accounts, procuring prayer books and materials, etc.) -- and as a non-profit organization, we are simply aiming to cover our costs. We ask Kavana partners to pay significantly less at the High Holidays because their annual contributions already help to cover our operating costs. Ultimately, we hope that everyone who wants will participate in Kavana's High Holiday experience. We would much rather have you attend than pass up the opportunity because you are concerned about the cost!  We hope that you will consider paying the "fair share"/requested amount if you are able; this is the time of year to be generous and communal-minded, and it is your support that allows us to keep our services and programs open to the community.  But, if the requested amount feels daunting for whatever reason, please think about what you can afford and enter that amount on the registration form.  (We don't need to get into the details of your finances; we trust you to figure out an appropriate amount for you.)

Is this a good time to join Kavana as a partner? 

Yes, we would much rather have this be a long-term relationship and not a transaction, and for many people, the High Holidays are indeed the perfect entry point! If you've already explored the Kavana community as a participant and have a sense that this is a good fit for you, by all means please email us about becoming a partner.  (We'll send you a Partner Intake Form, get a meeting for you on Rabbi Rachel's calendar, and then of course you can register for the High Holidays at the partner rate.)  Or, if the High Holidays this year will be your first Kavana exposure, we actually would encourage you to register as a non-partner, check it out, and then decide whether this community is the right fit.  If you choose to join as a partner before the end of calendar year 2022, we will happily credit any High Holiday payments you’ve made beyond the partner rate of $18/person towards your first partner contribution.

How can I help?  

Yes, please! Kavana is a cooperative, and we consider everyone a volunteer!  This year, we’re looking for volunteers to help us welcome and direct folks on-site (outdoors) at our venue.  In addition, we anticipate needing some support setting up and taking down the venue before and after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as well as support with with schlepping/transporting of materials (prayerbooks, food drive contributions, etc.) Take a look at the registration form to see what else we need support with, and let us know what you’d like to do to help out. Whether you end up with a formal volunteer slot or not, please join into the "community spirit" of Kavana by pitching in whenever you see an opportunity, building relationships with other attendees, and sharing your feedback with us. 

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