A large part of my adult life has been in working with others to create "conscious Jewish communities" or "intentional Jewish communities".Life, for many of us in the 60's, moved us to question old life patterns, corporate and authoritarian institutions. Young Jews felt increasingly alienated from Jewish life and its institutions. Many of us created Havurot, fellowship communities.
The Jewish Renewal Movement was birthed as well. We still need to create or re-create a Judaism in fellowship with others for the sake of a more just and compassionate society; such Judaism continues to be our goal. It is increasingly a goal embraced by other movements in Jewish life as well.
At the heart of our people's ancient Torah story we see the very beginnings of this yearning. In the Book of Leviticus, VaYikra, that we begin reading anew this Shabbat, we become reacquainted with how our ancestors set about creating "conscious community". It begins with a detailed description of the Korbanot, or offerings that "bring one near" (Kiruv) to the Transcendent.
The intentionality of these offerings and the clearly inclusive nature of this practice stands out. Offerings, coming near to the Divine, did not depend on wealth. A grain offering from a poor person was as acceptable, and according to our sages, even more beloved than the large animal offering of the rich. The entire Book of Leviticus is devoted to how we create a more meaningful, just and beloved society/world.
This coming week we celebrate Purim. We are in the middle of the month of Adar and can taste spring! The crocuses and other perennials are re-emerging. At Sanctuary this past week Rick's team of grounds workers have been hard at work with our spring cleanup. We're getting ready to plant in our Gene Lippman Garden. Most of the veggies are donated to shelters. The Shechina Labyrinth will soon be ready and the trails are looking good.
We're looking forward to a busy spring at Sanctuary. Our kick off is March 29-30 with our first Renewal and Wellness Shabbat. Up with Joy! Reb David