Topic: Shavuot

Calling the Congregation – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Jacob Weiss – Hazon at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center Parashat Beha’alotcha “Make thee two trumpets of silver; of beaten work shalt thou make them; and they shall be unto thee for the calling of the congregation… And when they shall blow with them, all the congregation shall gather themselves unto thee at the door of the tent of meeting.” Bamidbar perek yud, pasuk bet (Numbers 10:2) I recently recalled to a friend— just after our festival of Shavuot — that I had now been in attendance at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center for all three of the Shalosh Regalim, which are the three main pilgrimage festivals. Shavuot, Passover, and Sukkot all took on very different energies at Isabella Freedman. There remained a constant, though: the spirit, joy, and sheer heart that was poured into those festivals by everyone who attended, and by everyone who worked so tirelessly to make those retreat and community gatherings manifest. An incredible sense of community occurs during Jewish holiday retreats at Isabella Freedman, where I am currently a JOFEE Fellow. After spending the seven weeks of the Omer preparing ourselves, the Jewish people traditionally celebrate the festival of Shavuot to commemorate the receiving of […]

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Walking Behind Kindess: Parashat Naso | D’Varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Jaclyn Kellner – Coastal Roots Farm; Encinitas, CA “I’d like to go to the fields and glean among the ears of grain behind someone who may show me kindness.” This statement, from Ruth to Naomi in the Book of Ruth, holds so many aspects of what a Jewish Community Farm can provide. This week’s parsha, Naso, spells out the different functions distinct groups and structures had while traveling in the desert. Naso begins by taking census of and detailing the specific duties assigned to each family line of Levites and ends by listing each tribe’s offering for the inauguration of the alter in the Mishkan. This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of co-organizing a Shavuot Festival at Coastal Roots Farm. Over 300 people attended, of all ages, both Jewish and non-Jewish. It was incredible to see an event have such strong Jewish content and influence while remaining a welcoming and accessible festival to all. The festival focused on exploring the story of Ruth and on Shavuot’s agricultural roots celebrating the start of the summer harvest. Participants danced to live klezmer music; learned how to make cheese and tend to their tomato plants; and painted, created, and wore exquisite flower crowns in celebration of the […]

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A Heart to Know, Eyes to See, and Ears to Hear – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Danielle Smith, Eden Village Camp – Putnam Valley, NY Parshat Ki Tavo Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Be sure to check back weekly!  P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions!  In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, Moses speaks reflectively and instructively to the Israelites as they approach the Promised Land, finally nearing the end of their forty year journey through the wilderness. Here at Eden Village Camp, we may not have spent forty years wandering the wilderness of Putnam Valley (though sometimes the packed days and weeks at camp can feel almost as long #jewishcamptime), but the transition into the fall season is the perfect time for deep reflection and exhalations. It was a fast leap from summer into the slower pace of the fall, and after two months of […]

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Omer Week Five: Olam Shana Nefesh

Wisdom from Rabbi Shir Yaakov Videography by Deana Morenoff and Michael Arginsky Rabbi Shir Yaakov is a teacher, singer, composer, designer, producer, and “aba” (Dad). He is the leader of an emerging spiritual community in the Hudson Valley, Kol Hai. In addition, he is a lead teacher in DLTI, and he serves both Romemu and ALEPH as Creative Director and is well known as a stage artist and liturgist performing with The Epichorus and Darshan. Working in both Jewish and multi-faith contexts, Shir Yaakov weaves a tapestry of Kabbalistic wisdom, contemporary songwriting and deep personal spirituality to offer a spiritual cultural Judaism that is contemporary, alive, and innovative. He has recorded and released four albums of original music. shiryaakov.com The 7-week period between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot is called the Omer. For each of these 7 weeks, we will be making available one offering per week from 7 leaders of our upcoming Shavuot Retreat. Join us Memorial Day weekend for the Shavuot retreat to go deeper and get higher with these wonderful teachers. (Use early discount code EARLY10 through April 24th for 10% off.) In the meantime, enjoy our Omer experience!

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Omer Week Four: Here’s to Life

Wisdom from Rebbetzin Eve Ilsen Videography by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Rebbetzin Eve Ilsen is our featured teacher for this year’s Shavuot retreat. For the past decade she and her late husband Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi זצ׳ל built this retreat into the amazing experience that it is today. Eve comes to us this year still in the first year of mourning for her beloved, and yet bringing an incredibly insighful and inspiring perspective on Life. This week’s video blog offers us a taste of her talents, her presence, and her power. Join us for the retreat and learn with her in person. Rebbetzin Eve Ilsen is a psychotherapist, teacher, storyteller and singer. She has studied closely with mythologist Joseph Campbell, Eutonia bodywork founder Gerda Alexander, and trained for years in Jerusalem in waking dream and the therapeutic use of imagery with Mme. Colette Aboulker-Muscat. Since returning to the United states in 1986, Ms. Ilsen has also worked in tandem with her husband of blessed memory, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi זצ׳ל, co-creating the Wisdom School, co-leading workshops and partnering at holy day retreats. In 2008, she was ordained as a Rabbinic Pastor. These days, Eve is invoking transformative states by performing in concert, […]

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Omer Week Three: Embodied Tiferet

Wisdom from Rachel Dewan, Certified Anusara Teacher, E-RYT500 Videography by Deana Morenoff and Michael Arginsky   Rachel Dewan, Certified Anusara Teacher, E-RYT500 , is a graduate of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training.  and in addition to a full schedule of yoga classes, has been teaching Yoga Teacher Trainings, Prenatal Yoga Teacher Trainings, Yoga Therapeutics, and a wide variety of workshops since 2004. She has studied many different yoga styles and regularly immerses herself in a range of both Jewish and yogic texts and practices.  It is Rachel’s ultimate goal as a teacher to cultivate a sense of community in her classes, bring a sense of fullness and joy to her students by inspiring them to expand to their highest possible potential both on and off the mat, and helping them to strengthen their connection to their own unique and divine nature.   Her classes infuse dynamic asana and skillful pranayama (breathwork) and meditation,  interwoven with deep teachings of the heart and spirit, designed to awaken the deepest longing of the soul to connect with it’s Source. Read Rachel’s thoughts on yoga and life. The 7-week period between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot is called the Omer. For each of these 7 weeks, we will […]

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Omer Week Three: Tiferet

Thoughts from Rabbi Ariel Burger, Designer of Adult Learning at PJ Library This article is from the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah Blog 13 Ways of Looking At Tiferet 1.  It was so beautiful I had to catch my breath. 2.  It’s not the blending of kindness and discipline; it’s the tension between them. It is the love and the abyss between a father and a son after the Akedah. It is a feminine word but it is always associated with Jacob. It is untranslatable, not just beauty, not merely glory, a moving swirling river of colors and feelings. It receives in one hand and gives with the other. Imagine a dervish dancing, one hand cupped upward to catch spirit, the other open and relaxed, letting go, sharing. In receiving, giving; in giving, wholeness. 3.  He didn’t give up when he saw he didn’t fit in, he had willingness to spare, so he wrestled with the angel until dawn. Yes he was wounded, I know, we all know, but wasn’t he beautiful as he staggered toward honesty? 4.  He is the kind of man who stands and stares at one painting in the gallery for an hour. He is the smooth talker who says […]

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Omer Week Two: Receiving the Torah

Wisdom from Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek Videography by Deana Morenoff and Michael Arginsky   Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek is the rabbi at Beacon Hebrew Alliance. Before that, he served as the Rabbi in Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York. He has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, and by Newsweek/The Daily Beast as “a rabbi to watch.” Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a masters in philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children, Noa and Abraham. A selection of Brent’s teachings are available here. The 7-week period between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot is called the Omer. For each of these 7 weeks, we will be making available one offering per week from 7 leaders of our upcoming Shavuot Retreat. Join us Memorial Day weekend for the Shavuot retreat to go deeper […]

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Omer Week Two: Gevurah

Thoughts from Rabbi Zac Kamenetz, Senior Jewish Educator at the JCCSF This article is from the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah Blog Once, a young man went beyond the walls of his city, with nothing but his pocketknife, and journeyed out to the tree line toward the horizon, until he came upon a wild jungle. He immediately delighted in the jungle’s overwhelming fructuousness. Stepping on and over mounds of plants vying for more space, the young man marveled at the vivid swirling colors—deep vertical browns, bursts of yellow and purple splashed on soft green, glossy orange and red specks dotting off-white, light sandy wisps poking out of loamy grey. While moving deeper into the jungle, the faint rustling of leaves gave way to a low humming, and as he looked, he saw that every shoot, leaf, and flower was slowly but audibly swelling and growing and pulsating. To the young man, the once-vivid beauty of the wilderness began to look grotesquely chaotic. As the young man looked back toward where he had entered, the low hum of the jungle turned to a wailing howl. Palm fronds turned to the sky and blocked out the little bit of light still shining through, […]

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