I know many of us are in shock. We are terrified. We are sad. We feel vulnerable. Those families in Pittsburgh. Everyone who was there that Shabbat morning in the synagogue. The trauma. The hate. The violence. Also, the tremendous outpouring of support for Jews from the world over.
There are no easy solutions. There are no easy answers. It’s just gut wrenching. Spreading love. Talking with love. Getting to know people with different backgrounds and practices is good. Feeling grounded and proud in who we are and what we stand for is freeing and fortifying.
A New Idea:
CoHere has been one solution for unaffiliated families (I prefer to say, for Home-Based Jewish families) who want Jewish education for their children. I have loved coming to your homes and learning with and from you and your amazing kids. I think they have been exposed to lots of major Jewish concepts and have participated with joy and eagerness.
I have also had the honor of standing at the Torah with so many of your children as they mark their coming of age with our traditions.
What has been missing from our monthly family sessions is the communal nature of our civilization. Our kids need to prepare for their B Mitzvah (we’re getting away from reinforcing the gender binary by just say B as opposed to bar or bat…I think the future is non-binary, which is a conversation for another day or email. But, for our dual-faith families reading this…you break down binaries too!) by practicing the service in a communal way before their big day! And, for our children who have already marked becoming B Mitzvah, they may have no way to participate as prayer leaders again or to read Torah again.
So…drum roll…I am going to start ShabbatHere. This will be a once a month service in my home which will use the same booklets our children will use at their services. This will be a way to prepare all of our children, young and older for Jewish prayer. The best way to learn the prayers is to hear them over and over.
Even if you don’t think you’ll hold the ceremony for your children at B Mitzvah time, it’s a beautiful gift to participate in Jewish prayer and to feel comfortable with the words. And, for us adults, to have an hour of joyful spirituality, using traditions of old, singing songs, and feeling renewed and hopeful will be a blessing…
The first ShabbatHere will be Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9:00-10:00 at my home in Highland Park. We will have grape juice and challah and music! We will hold these services the first Saturday of the month going forward after that. If you or your child wants to lead a prayer, share a reading or a poem or read Torah, let me know!
I am asking for a $200 donation (or what is doable) if you are excited about this opportunity and think you’ll come to at least a few of them! Please go to: www.coherechicago.com and click on the donate tab.
I can’t wait to see you December 1st at 9:00! Come in jeans, yoga pants, pajamas, anything! All ages will be able to participate!!
Our October sessions were based on learning the names and functions of so many Jewish ritual objects! We made a hamsa, a good luck symbol. They came out amazing!
If you don’t have a November session scheduled, be in touch. See you soon!
May peace descend on us, on all Israel and all the world.
Rabbi Ari Moffic