S’more Sukkot Celebration

Mini-Graham-Sukkah-for-Sukkot-1On behalf of the The Little Minyan Kehilla, an invitation from Randi and Bill Cohen:

We’d love to have you join us for a good and meaningful time as we celebrate Sukkot – Saturday October 11th, 4:30 to 9:00 at our home with a potluck and bonfire.

At 4:30 p.m., we’ll decorate the sukkah in our backyard. Feel free to bring gourds, sukka_leavespumpkins, cornstalks, or any other autumn item that you could hang in the sukkah.  

At 5:00, we’ll have a brief service stressing the two themes of the holiday – giving thanks for the harvest and recalling how impermanent our houses and our lives actually are.

At 5:30, we’ll enjoy the food everyone has brought to share. We will have paper & plastic place setting products. If you want to bring your own, please feel free to do so.And as the sun sets, around 6:45, we’ll celebrate Havdalah, light 100 candles and our bonfire. S’mores, wine, and folk-singing will increase the merriment. s'mores

Feel free to invite friends and family who might enjoy this event. No need to RSVP. Just come to our house at 90 Westwood Road; come around the back. If you can bring a lawn chair, that would be helpful. 

As always, there’s one caveatif it’s raining, we’ll have to cancel the event. The backyard is a mess and no fun when it’s soggy.

Randi and Bill

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Yamim Nora’im ~ Days of Awe and Beyond with the Little Minyan Kehilla

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You don’t need a ticket, an invitation, or even clarity of purpose … Just join us and take it from there!  Click here for our Days of Awe Schedule of event descriptions, times, and locations.  If you would like to … Continue reading

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S’lichot 5774 – Turning in Earnest Toward the Days of Awe

“S’lichot” refers to additional liturgy requesting forgiveness and compassion which ushers us into the Yamim Nora’im ~ the Days of Awe from Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). In Ashkenazi (Eastern European) tradition, these prayers begin on the Yom Rishon (First Day/Sunday) before Rosh Hashanah.  Some of us began this work on Rosh Chodesh Elul … some of us are just digging in … some of us don’t even know where to begin.  Wherever you are in the process, the doors are open and your participation is welcome during this season of raising our collective voices and individual hearts in pleas for forgiveness (from ourselves, our fellow humans, and the Source of Blessing), prayers for compassion, and resolve to improve.

The Little Minyan’s Jessica Shimberg will join the clergy at Congregation Tifereth Israel in providing a pre-Selichot contemplative study on our care for the Earth TOMORROW EVENING.  Traditional S’lichot prayers begin at midnight with Cantor Jack Chomsky and the choir.S'lichotChasingIce

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The Little Minyan Kehilla’s Mini Minyan Open House – Sunday!

Join The Little Minyan Kehilla on Sunday, August 24th,  2 to 4 pm, for our

Mini Minyan Open House

Little Minyan Kehilla LogoOver the Fence Urban Farm, 151 East Dominion Blvd. North Clintonville 43214

(Don’t miss an intergenerational activity at 2:30)

Mini Minyan is the Little Minyan’s interactive, nature-based, and Judaically meaningful youth education program for learners pre-K through teen.

Accepting enrollment now for weekly programming beginning in October 2014.

For more information, follow this link to our Mini Minyan page.

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Teach Us to Treasure Each Day ~ Limnot Yameinu ~ In Deep Appreciation of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

Here in central Ohio, we are in the midst of unseasonably mild and gloriously sunny days, further blessed by low humidity and gentle breezes.  I am humming a new* tune that Rabbi (and gifted cellist, I am compelled to add) Yitz Husbands-Hankin created to hold the ancient words of Psalm 90:2 – “teach us to treasure each day, that we may open teachusfeinbergour hearts to Your wisdom.”  I am aware of the treasure that is THIS day – an “ordinary” Thursday in July.

As an emerging rabbi and spiritual leader, it is my way and holy work to treasure each day with sensitivity to the Judaic rhythms of life and time. There are myriad sacred vessels to be found in our liturgy, Torah, rabbinic and modern writings, traditional and creative Jewish ritual.  It is through this lens that I choose to view the interplay of humanity, the earth and her non-human inhabitants, and the Divine Mystery some of us call God.

With a full cup, inspired and engaged, I have just returned to Columbus and our Little Minyan Kehilla from the Pacific Northwest and the deep well of inspiration and energy photofound in time with my ALEPH (Alliance for Jewish Renewal) teachers and colleagues.  In that container of sacred community, among the tall trees, babbling rivers, soaring birds, and myriad dragonflies, we received word that our beloved Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi had taken his last breath in this world.  Although his health had been declining as he neared his 90th birthday, Reb Zalman’s presence was enormous, potent, KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAand enduring.  The thought of a world without his continuing insight and wisdom was and remains unfathomable to many. It was an abundant blessing (not lost on us) that he left us at one of the all-too-rare times when so many of those carrying forward his legacy were together in one place.  Our holy teachers – long-time students and friends of Reb Zalman, continued to teach and enrich us even as they began their mourning at a disconcerting distance from the levaya (funeral) and shiva minyans in Boulder, Colorado. Although Reb Zalman’s death is a painful reality, there is a vitality that remains to continue to renew Judaism – raising holy sparks and nourishment from the deep and meaningful well of Jewish tradition while nurturing experiential, egalitarian, environmentally-conscious, ecstatic, engaging, and non-hierarchical approaches to prayer.

The Little Minyan will continue to honor Reb Zalman, z”l, and his gifts to the world through our approaches to worship, eco-conscious practices and activities, social justice, study, and interfaith collaborations and inter-being.  One of Reb Zalman’s great gifts to the world was his love-affair with Judaism and his appreciation for all faith and wisdom traditions.  He didn’t believe that anyone has what he called “the exclusive franchise on the truth.”  “What we Jews have,” he continued, “is a good approximation, for Jews, of how to get there. Ultimately, each person creates a way that fits his own situation.”  What a shining example he was of “how to get there.” May Reb Zalman’s name always be for blessing and may his work continue to inspire Jews and other to connect, find meaning, care for the earth, create peace, and treasure each day.

Our Little Minyan will meet for Shavat Vayinafash - contemplative worship on Shabbat morning, July 19th, 10:30 a.m. in our space at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2070 Ridgecliff Road, Upper Arlington

*New to me, thanks to a rich learning intensive creating and leading Jewish funerals with Rabbi Marcia Prager and Hazzan Jack Kessler and other ALEPH rabbinic and cantorial students.

Jessica K. Shimberg, an emerging rabbi and long-time central Ohioan, is one of Reb Zalman’s many devoted students and a life-long learning and appreciator of the deep sustenance of all-streams of Judaism.  She is a founder of The Little Minyan and serves as spiritual leader of our Kehilla.

Artwork – Linda Feinberg from homegrownjudaica.com; Trees photographed at Canby Grove Retreat Center. Photo of Reb Zalman, z”l, from the ALEPH website.

z”l stands for zichrono livracha which means “may his name be for blessing” and is commonly written after the name of one who has died. Honorific appreciations for beloved teachers are also very common after the teacher’s name is written in Jewish texts.

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Sh’lach L’kha ~ Sending Us Out to Learn about … Ourselves

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In this week’s parsha, we learn a critical lesson in the Torah’s narrative – a big-picture “ahha” moment in our development as a People.  It could have been a relatively quick trip from Mitzrayim/Egypt to Eretz Yisrael/the land of Israel, … Continue reading

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Jewishly Themed Book List for Pride!

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A great reading list is offered through Keshet, Tablet, the Jewish Book Council.  Here are a few links: Jewish Book Council and Tablet.  Happy Reading and Happy Pride Month!!

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SHAVUOT CELEBRATION – Little Minyan-Style!

JOIN US as we will gather as a community to celebrate Shavuot and the ongoing Shavuot_Bracha_Lavee
revelation of TORAH as we did together at Mount Sinai … don’t you remember? We were all there ~ hearing and understanding according to our individual needs and abilities.

This year, we will meet on Erev Shavuot, Tuesday, June 3rd, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the north Clintonville home of  LM member, Jodi Kushins and her family, 143 E. Dominion Blvd., 43214. No need to bring food, just your favorite beverages and your plates and cutlery if you want to be SUPER green.  Our Little Minyan will provide cheese blintzes,
field Greens field greens, ice cream, and Torah of the earth at the urban farm growing at the heart of this family and our city.  Please RSVP ASAP and by Tuesday at noon to Jessica or Jodi. See you at Sinai …

Those wishing to continue our Tikkun L’eil Shavuot, we can move down the street to a local coffee shop. Bring a teaching or                                                   just come along!

Artwork is that of Bracha Lavee and photo of freshly picked greens from Over the Fence Urban Farm blog.

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Taking Account Bamidbar ~ In the Wilderness

The Little Minyan Kehilla holds many Jewish principles near and dear to our hearts, wilderness with mountainsmany aspects of our individualities which we bring to our sense of being B’nei Yisrael ~ of the Children of Israel, the Jewish People.  If someone asks for a description of our kehilla and its members, an “elevator speech” always includes creativity, inclusivity, social justice initiatives, healthy, local food, musical worship, and care for the environment among our defining characteristics.

This week in the cycle of Torah, we begin a new book, the fourth – called “Numbers” in English.  And as with each of the five books of Torah, the parasha ha’shavua ~ Torah במדברportion for this week takes the name of the book it begins: Bamidbar ~ in the wilderness. Parashat Bamidbar opens with the the Ineffable Name (יהוה) which we so often call God telling Moses, in the wilderness of the Sinai desert, to once again take a census of the Children of Israel according to their mishp’chot, their families, by the number of their sheimot, their names, and by their tziva’ot, their legions.

As our kehilla entered this week, we too took a census.  We held a community meeting to “count” our families and our individuals.  We counted by numbers, and we counted by actions, resources, aspirations, and gratitudes.  We counted our substance ~ what makes us sacred and what we wish to do better in the coming cycle of time.  We talked about who we are individually and as a kehilla, and as part of k’lal Yisrael, all of our People.

tamar messer bamidbarThe Little Minyan began eight years ago as an experiment in grass-roots Jewish community-creation and care.  Today, as we continue our journey b’midbar/in the wilderness, we count our blessings that kol-adat, our entire assembly (as God refers to us in Parshat Bamidbar 1:2) is energized and full of hope for the continuing journey.

For stories about our individual and collective experiences of The Little Minyan, click on the new section of our website, under Who We Are, entitled Our Stories.

Artwork, bottom left is that of Tamar Messer, an amazing Israeli artist whom I met over a decade ago. Her work can be found on her website.

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Shavat Vayinafash

ShalOMIn today’s cultural context, we are increasingly pressed for time, encouraged to multitask, prompted to respond quickly, asked to produce immediate results, and engaged in multiple directions. Unless we are outstanding at creating boundaries, prioritizing, focusing deeply, and practicing vigilant self-care, we run the regular risk of depleting ourselves of our very selves.  We have so much within ourselves to offer, but without a practice of getting in touch with our core and “re-filling the tank” we diminish that light complete ensouled self.Kateand essence.  An oft quoted line from Emerson reminds us that “what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” What comes from within us is what Rumi called our “second knowing.”  Rumi wrote of two kinds of intelligence, characterizing what is “already completed and preserved inside” of us as “a fountainhead from within.” And long before these words were penned, Torah instructed us to “re-ensoul” ourselves weekly with Shabbat.

In Shmot/Exodus 31:16-17 we first read the words that have become familiar to us in liturgy and song – V’shamru b’nei Yisrael et haShabbat … Shavat vayinafash.  We are instructed to keep and observe Shabbat throughout the generations as a continuing covenant, a sign forever, between us and the One we most simply call God.  Why?  Because creation – doing, making, working, producing – occurred for six days and on the seventh day, on Shabbat, God “vayinafash.”  This word is often translated as “rested,” but if we look at the Hebrew root we find the word Nefesh, which means soul, breath or life-force.  As Rashi says in his commentary on this passage, “God restored God’s own soul and breath by taking a calming break from the burden of the labor.”

אבMeditativeOur tradition gives us many instructions about how to observe and keep and remember Shabbat, and even if we only do one of these on a given Shabbat, “vayinafash” seems essential.  How might we re-ensoul ourselves?  Many restorative practices exist and Judaism has a long tradition and deep well of contemplative practice. Anyone looking for a re-ensoulment practice is welcome to join us for our contemplative Shavat Vayinafash service on Shabbat morning, May 17th/Iyar 17 at 10:30 a.m. and at other Little Minyan events. More information can be found on our calendar.

The gorgeous rendition of the V’Shamru features the angelic voice of my dear friend, brilliant artist and new ima, Elana Jagoda Kaye, with soul-refreshing harmony from her husband and creative collaborator, Saul Kaye, and can be found on her album, Im Ruchi, and on her website, elanajagoda.com. The link on contemplative practices in Judaism is to the amazing Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, and the ensouled self artwork is that of Kate Iredale.
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