March 24, 2016
We're on the road again! The next stop on the ALEPH / Jewish Renewal Listening Tour is the one for which we'll be traveling the furthest: Vancouver, British Columbia.
Our weekend in Vancouver will be hosted by Or Shalom, Canada's Jewish Renewal community of longest standing. As their history page on their website notes, they began in 1982 as a havurah, a group of friends meeting in people's homes. Or Shalom's first rabbinic leadership came from Rabbi Daniel and Hanna Tiferet Siegel, with whom I studied (halakha and spiritual direction, respectively) in rabbinic school.
More recently the congregation was led by Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan, another dear rabbinic school teacher and friend. Today it is led by Rabbi Hannah Dresner, yet another dear friend from rabbinic school! I am delighted that all of these luminaries will be joining us for the weekend. This will be Reb Hanna's second stop on our Listening Tour, as she was with us in Boston last fall when we enjoyed beautiful morning davenen and our first open mike session at B'nai Or in Boston.
As has become our custom, the Vancouver weekend will be chock-full of a variety of different kinds of encounters. We'll have opportunities to daven with the Or Shalom community (and we'll participate in leading the davenen, too.) We'll hold open mike sessions, offering members of the community the opportunity to share their stories, remembrances, frustrations, hopes, fears, and dreams. We'll meet with congregational leadership and with young people. We'll talk about big-picture questions of the ecosystem of innovation, and smaller-picture questions of what Or Shalom and Jewish Renewal in British Columbia need from ALEPH and what ALEPH needs from Or Shalom and from Jewish Renewal in BC in return.
I imagine that some of our conversations in Vancouver will be parallel to the conversations we had in Montréal about the unique valances of Jewish Renewal in Canada. I imagine that some of our conversations will be unique to this place and this constellation of participants. And I imagine that some of our conversations will echo conversations we've had in other cities -- and also with other communities via videoconference when our lives, finances, and "day jobs" haven't permitted us to visit in person. (If you are in a place which is not on our itinerary, and would like to speak with us about your hopes and dreams for the future of ALEPH and Jewish Renewal, email [email protected] and we'll do our best to set up a videoconference!)
I know that our time in Vancouver will be too brief to adequately have all of the conversations we want and need to have. (And don't even ask me whether we're going to do any sightseeing. We're flying out today, and back via a redeye on Sunday night; this is the very definition of "short and sweet.") Our mantra has become "to be continued," because every conversation is inevitably only part of the story, and there is always more that we can learn. But even though it won't be "enough" time, I know it's going to be delightful. We can't wait to daven, listen, and learn at Or Shalom this weekend. To our hevre (friends) in Vancouver, we look forward to seeing you soon! And to everyone else, stay tuned; I'll aim to report back next week with notes from the road.