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First Week of Masa

10/13/2021 12:44:23 PM


Rishe Groner


Shavua Tov!

Our first full week of Masa is complete, and with it, our first ever Havayah experience; a bunch of awesome Ma’agalim learning circles; and several of our Kehillah community gatherings. What magic!

Our Friday Kehillah community meetups have been going strong for the last three weeks, from our gathering in the Sukkah; to celebrating and illustrating the Creation of the world, to last week’s record turnout for a grand ark-itectural experience. Our Masa team of ark-itects measured out the full 300 amot (cubits) by 50 amot (cubits) of Noach’s teyvah-ark – going all the way back to the woods! We added the skylight called the tzohar, built the door and the bow of the ark and all three levels, and brought a huge plethora of animals – two by two, and of the kosher animals, seven! – onto the ark with squawks, roars and a lot of excellent embodied action. When Noach and his family exited the ark, we saw a beautiful rainbow, crafted out of nature, and learned to clean up after ourselves after having a ton of fun playing in the hay.


At our first ever Havayah experience this past Sunday, we gathered as families for the first time in a long time to embody and experience the fall with gratitude for the abundance. We sang, prayed, hiked, adventured, crafted, and spent time gathered together as a community, in the midst of the glorious fall foliage of Fahnstock National Park. We opened with the blessing of “Shehechiyanu” – for the newness of being together in community and at our first ever Havayah, and what a blessing it was! 

We adventured in the woods with Rabbi Brent and sang of our gratitude for God giving us all our needs; made gratitude beads with Julia and thought of everything we’re grateful for; and sang and prayed together with Cantor Ellen. We learned of the ancient magic of the Hebrew letters and praised God with “Halleluyah!” for all the wonderful things in our lives, and heard about the importance of making blessings before eating so we can “pay” God for our food. We even learned a new prayer and tune –birkat hamazon, or bentching in Yiddish, the blessing after eating, with a lot of fun table-banging and hand motions. 


To all the children and their families who joined us, it was so wonderful to be back together in person, with nature, and best of all – we missed the rain by mere minutes!

Updates from the Ma’agalim:

All Questions, No Answers: We’ve gotten onto a great start with lots of questions, and maaaybe a few answers, but definitely more questions! In our first week, we practiced asking questions of one another and what we wonder about. We started our ‘Questions Scroll’ and are already excited to learn more about the origins of Hebrew, the reason for religions, and what exactly is the book Rishe has called “Tanakh”.

Our Backyard Ma’agal met in Rabbi Brent's backyard and learned the Shema jumping on the trampoline and heard a story about Beautiful Yetta the Yiddish Speaking Chicken.

Over on the trail, our Forest Trails ma’agal began learning about the twelve tribes of Israel and how they can help us learn our way around the forest and our own hearts. In the coming weeks, we will focus on The Tribe of Reuben, who comes from the first born of Jacob's sons. This tribe has the power of being first, and is compared to water, which is both vital to life and also a potential source of destruction. Reuben is paired with his sister Tammuz, who loans her name to one of the summer months on the Hebrew calendar, and with her, embodies the growth and connection of all life, with water at the core. Spiritually we're going to bring our attention to focus and self control so as to see the connections that we would likely blow past if we go through the forest too fast.

Finally, the Ritual Art and Craft ma’agal talked about what makes an item Jewish, and how something might be ‘kadosh’, holy, or separate. The group are looking forward to making a ‘play’ Shabbat set for lots of re-enacting and creating ritual at home!


More Masa News:

  • Masa Ma’agalim continues this week. If you haven’t yet registered and would like to join, there is still space in all of our Ma’agalim and we’re looking forward to getting started with Hebrew learning in the coming weeks! There is still some financial aid available, and we welcome all to register here.

  • Kehillah happens Fridays as always from 4.00 - 6.00 pm at the University Settlement Camp. Grown-ups can join Rabbi Brent for Torah learning at 5.00pm, and we all come together for Kabbalat Shabbat at 6.00pm. 

  • Our Masa Calendar dates can all be found on our Masa page – check them here and please add them to your calendar!

  • Coming up: Masa B. Mitzvah and post B. Mitzvah meetings; Parent Orientation; and plans for Chanukah celebrations. Dates and times to come!

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784