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Congregation Brothers of Israel

L'dor Vador - From Generation to Generation since 1883
לדור ודור


This Shabbat, we will complete the book of Exodus during our Torah reading and see the creation of a beautifulMishkan, Tabernacle in the Wilderness. This will be theplace where the Israelites and God will be present for one another, and it will help them build the ability to trust one another by being in the moment as they make asacred journey to the Promised Land. As I think about the intention of the Mishkan for the Israelites and God, Ishare with you a beautiful ELI talk by Karina Zilberman, the founding
director of the Shabbaba Network which began at the 92nd Street Y inNew York City. She talks about the difference between creating a sacred space as a play pen or as a playground. As she will share, she started with a dream of bringing more music to the 92nd Street Y and building a vibrant Jewish preschool program. She wanted to create a sacred playground, a place for children and their families to explore, to learn and to grow by getting messy and having the trust thatwhat they find will help them create a stronger Jewish life. What shefound, at first, was a play pen, meant to keep everyone safe and controlled in a particular environment. She started with a couple of parents and children in the lobby of the 92nd Street Y, where she was told that the guards would think she would be in the way and would create a fire hazard. By the third week, there were many more children and parents and the guard was waiting with his own tambourine to make music. Today, they barely fit in a room for 100. Karina set out to use the idea of a playground to
engage families with joy, love and compassion.
She listed four elements of the sacred playground – Welcome the unexpected; Be present; Be intentional; and Trust. When Moshe, Betzalel, Oholiav and all the rest completed the Mishkan in the Wilderness, I believe they built it to be a sacred playground for themselves, their families and the Israelites, allowing them to create a vibrant and vital Jewish life for themselves. And today, I hope we will continue this work at making our kehillah, our community, a sacred playground as well. It can be a place for us to explore our faith, to explore our ritual observance, and our questions. It is also a sacred space where we can get messy – literally and figuratively. It is a sacred space where we can have the kavanah, the intention to experiment with bringing more spirituality and holiness into our lives. Mostly it is a place we can be completely Present and Trust that our blessings will be shared with love, respect and compassion for each other.
This week, I ask you:

At CBOI and in your life, would you rather practice your Judaism and Jewish life in a playpen or a playground? Let's discuss!!

Shabbat Shalom

Sun, March 24 2019 17 Adar II 5779