This week we celebrated Shavuot, the moment when the Jewish people received the Torah - Gd's road map and love letter to us all. We learn that every year at this time we are given a renewed opportunity to receive Gd's message in whatever form/voice is most relevant to our hearts. My father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, taught that we actually receive two Torahs on this day. The first, the Torah of Sinai, is a gift that is given automatically and flows to us energetically, regardless of where we stand on a physical or spiritual level. The second is something he called “The Torah of Mistakes.” This Torah must be earned. It is only received when we fall down, break in half, and learn to stand again. The first gift is in our breath, in the air. The second comes when we cry for it enough and are ready to receive in a different way.
My father said that one of humanity's gravest mistakes actually happened at Har Sinai. When Gd appeared to us, we should have begged Him/Her to include the entire world in the revelation. We didn't pray for a “Global Awakening.” We didn't even ask. Now we are still working to heal both this mistake and our priorities as human beings. There is too much selfishness in our world, too much jealousy, too much pettiness.
We learn that we're supposed to love others as we love ourselves. This is a beautiful goal. I wonder what would happen if this year, post Shavuot, we could all acknowledge our past mistakes, and from that place begin to care for every person we encounter. It's incredible what you can see and feel when you open your eyes and heart to another.
BRING NESHAMA TO YOUR COMMUNITY!
To hire Neshama for concerts, private parties, fundraisers, Shabbat services, "women only" events, interfaith concerts with an incredible Baptist Choir, and in collaboration with Josh Nelson, please visit NeshamaCarlebach.com or send an email for more details.
Renna Khuner-Haber grew up in Berkeley, but left for the east coast to attend Barnard College. After completing her bachelor's degree, she returned to San Francisco where she chose the Mission District as her home, and became active in the Mission Minyan community. Sharon Shakked grew up in Tiburon with a more traditional Jewish upbringing, while her husband, Orr, grew up in Israel in a more secular setting. When the two met, Sharon was active in her congregation which Orr soon came to claim as his own. In this segment, both Khuner-Haber and the Shakkeds consider the thoughtful ways they observe Shabbat each week.
The decision to live in the Bay Area is personal and encompasses a wide range of experiences and motivations—some have moved here because of love, others to attend university, to seek a new job, to escape persecution, to establish new rituals, or just to dream a little.
In this documentary commissioned for the exhibition "California Dreaming: Jewish Life in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the Present", filmmaker Pam Rorke Levy interviewed a wide range of individuals who call the Bay Area home and identify in some way with being Jewish.
Learn more about "California Dreaming"