Bonfire-inspired phone bucket challenge (let’s call it #PBC), and the initiation of our phones into a weekend of captivity. A sizeable amount of us committed to handing in our phones on Friday afternoon and letting it rest there till after Shabbos. We figured they deserved a break too. Pictured below are the first few brave ones.
This past Shabbat was what we’ll call Shabbat a la Bais Chana. Cooked and supervised by us, the culinary experts. Lara made dafina (a first for most of us), a Moroccan version of cholent or stew. Emanuella mixed up some chocolate chip cookie dough. Sara Miriam made her detailed, savory chicken. Kira master minded some peanut butter-chocolate goodness. And the rest of these smiling chipmunks chopped onions, braided challahs, stirred up the rest of the foodstuff and, most importantly, made sure everything tasted okay.
Now, hold my hand as we enter the Friday afternoon cocoon. Right down the short, whimsical path to the Artagon, you’ll find a small group of artists, heads leaning over the magic they are busily creating. They are chemists in a lab, which is to say: Artists In A Forest. No one can resist this captivating energy. This sweet, simple serenity. Led by the freest, most passionate of artistic women.
We welcomed the Shabbos by discussing our favorite part of it, and found a common thread throughout: There is nothing like putting down the phone or planner or pen and sitting peacefully on the sofa and looking someone in the eye. On the 7th day, G-d rested, and He wants us to rest too.
Shabbos day was spiced up with some improv games, real, hard talk about modesty and the best food.
After Shabbos: TALENT show. (Caps intended.)
Chana Rochel floated through one.
Rachel dug her song from someplace way beyond her throat.
Pesha and Menucha softly harmonized each other’s voices.
Shani taught us to thank G-d for everything, even a couch potato existence. Yael slammed to the tune of Rachel’s beat boxing. We stumbled to bed, awed.
Sunday was a fast day, so we woke up to learn some Tanya, laid low and cozied up in the lounge for Rabbi Friedman’s movie, Patterns of Evidence, followed by Freedom Writers, the story of racial integration into top white public schools. Watch ’em both.
We hoisted our canoes onto the lake and rowed to the point where the water got kind of misty and the line between tree and water got blurred by the shadows. It looked like paint.
But life is not a painting. (Deep stuff.) The current was taking us in the opposite direction of the shore and only dead fish follow the current.
So we revved up our voices and dipped in our ores, syncing our yelled numbers to execute a smooth, (mostly) painless arrival at shore.
Don’t define yourself by anything. Don’t be secure in any “talent”. Acknowledge that fact that you struggle everyday to be thoughtful, but don’t consider yourself Thoughtful. Mess up once, and you’ve undermined your whole identity. You may be someone who usually chooses good, but that doesn’t make you good. It makes you someone who makes a consistent effort to choose good. You have the capacity for both. Neither one is your identity.