For the second year, Kolot members are organizing teshuva circles, groups that will meet weekly for 2-3 or 4 weeks during this month of Elul, the month before Tishrei and thus before Rosh HaShanah, the new year. It is traditionally a month of reflection, repentance, forgiveness. Through various lenses, these member-led circles will explore this forgiveness and repentance work. Last year, some groups linked the political and economic realities of our day to the personal issues the participants confronted; others stuck strictly to the personal.
The circles meet in homes, and use materials provided by the Rabbi or find their own, and spend as much time as they wish exploring their own questions of return/repentance, forgiveness/wrong-doing, and more.
See below for this year's offerings, and contact the leader of the group you would like to join!
GROUP 1: Led by Rabbi Lisa Grant at her home in Gowanus on Wednesday evenings, starting August 30. Folks will prepare their own "soul curriculum" - a personal list of middot (personal ethical qualities) they want to work on for the year (a taste of mussar). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GROUP 2: Led by Joseph Hayden on Mondays or Thursdays at 6, at their home in Ditmas Park (5-floor walk-up with a cat named Moses). This teshuvah circle will focus on a short excerpt from Rabbi Alan Lew's This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared as our grounding text. Together, we will use Lew to guide our conversation about preparing spiritually for entering the High Holy Days season. We will also read excerpts from The Book of Legends, Kol haNeshamah, Michael Strassfeld and other writers. Most reading will be done during meeting time. Contact: email@example.com.
GROUP 3: Led by Stuart Garber on Tuesday, Thursday evening or Sunday afternoons in Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, or Prospect Heights (We need a volunteer for a place.) The High Holy Days are our time to renew our covenants – with G-d, with the people in our lives, and with our deepest selves. Our mystic teachers tell us that we’re born into our lives with certain gifts and that we participate in the ongoing renewal of the world by finding the courage – the heart strength – to bring these gifts forward in the ways we live our lives. What gifts are you wanting to bring forth in this coming year? What missions or projects are you wanting to dedicate yourself to? This teshuvah circle will support you in bringing focus to these reflections. We’ll make a sacred space of deep, respectful listening, to ourselves and one another - and to the One beyond names that is calling to us - so that each group member may begin to imagine steps to bring what we hear and see into being, in the year ahead. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GROUP 4: Led by Tammy Kremer in Bedstuy on two Monday evenings, September 11 and 18, at 7pm. This teshuva circle is a mindfulness and meditation-based space aimed at folks in their 20’s and 30’s, but open to all. There will be a short text study with English and Hebrew, but no prior Hebrew knowledge is necessary. Efforts will be made to facilitate a space where participants can bring their full selves across all spectrums of experience, identity, and ideology. The building has an elevator. If you are interested in co-facilitating or leading a portion, please let Tammy know. Contact: email@example.com.
GROUP 5: Led by Jocelyn Cohen, beginning with Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday, September 1, at 6:30pm at her home in Ditmas Park. Bring a potluck vegetarian dish to share, and welcome Shabbat with good company and good words and thinking about teshuva. Jocelyn can bring writing prompts from the Sefat Emet on teshuva, and others are welcome to bring their own. We'll write for a while, talk/listen (open ended but in the spirit of personal accounting, a kheshbon hanefesh) for a while, and then write again. All who are willing to write on Shabbat are welcome. Bring a musical instrument because we are going to sing, too! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.