Tag Archives | fellowship

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Parashat Vayeira | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Brittany Feldman – Hazon – Detroit, Michigan This week’s Torah Portion, Vayeira, discusses circumcision, birth, destruction, disobedience, and devotion. With so many themes in one portion, I’m choosing to focus on one that stood out to me the most, disobedience. In this particular text, “Abraham pleads with G‑d to spare the wicked city of Sodom. Two of the three disguised angels arrive in the doomed city, where Abraham’s nephew Lot extends his hospitality to them and protects them from the evil intentions of a Sodomite mob. The two guests reveal that they have come to overturn the place, and to save Lot and his family. Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt when she disobeys the command not to look back at the burning city as they flee.” I found the last line of this text to be extremely powerful in many ways. For me, it brought up thoughts about destruction and violence- if something bad happens should we choose to just move on with our lives without looking back? Although Lot’s wife disobeyed G-d’s command can her decision be justified? I started thinking about why she would choose to disobey this command. Was it just out of […]

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Gathering Men for Transformation and Fellowship: The Jewish Men’s Retreat

The Jewish Men’s Retreat, or JMR for short, isn’t a kiddush club or a poker night among pals drinking bourbon and smoking cigars (although there is whiskey and there are cigars after Shabbat for those who partake). The JMR is a grassroots, multi-generational lay-led gathering which, over the last two decades, has evolved a structure for helping Jewish men pay attention to the unique aspects of their gender identity and spiritual expression. The twenty-second retreat of the JMR will be taking place this October 25th-27th at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut. Over seventy men from all walks of life and streams of Jewish observance and non-observance are registered to attend this year, a third of which are new-comers. According to long-time participant Allen Spivack, “the reason most new people come is because someone tells them about it. We don’t really talk about the normal things, sports, cars, my mortgage, my colonoscopy, we talk about different stuff. Men come for fellowship and it’s beautiful.” Spivack, a carpenter and social-worker, has brought both of his sons to previous JMR retreats and believes they would be different men had they not had come. Allen’s son, Lev, explains, “I feel […]

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