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Table of Contents:
- Community Wisdom
- Netivah Messages
- Connection Points
- Embodying the Middah
- Journal Inquiries
- External Offerings
TEACHING by Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet
In the world of Mussar, kavod is translated as honor, respect, or dignity. I think Edith Brotman phrases it beautifully in her book Mussar Yoga:
Honor means to recognize the Divine presence in another, to see the intrinsic value and worth of another being.
Kavod is about having fundamental respect for the existence of a being — simply because that being exists. This not only refers to other beings, but also to ourselves. Tied up with Kavod are the ideas/soul-traits of “judging others favorably” (dan l’kaf zechut), humility (anavah), and love (ahavah). Like all soul-traits too much or too little is not ideal. Healthy kavod means that you are not always asking “what about me” or “why not me” or judging your follower count against someone else’s or truly coveting some award or external recognition. Healthy kavod also means that you respect yourself and set clear boundaries and practice self-compassion, self-love, and self-care.
So why kavod (כבוד) in the month of Cheshvan, what does this have to do with the Mekonenet (Mourning Woman)?
The month of Elul is the month where we, in theory, search and scour our souls for the ways we missed the mark in the year that is coming to an end — and hopefully practice self-compassion and acknowledge where we did okay too. Then comes Tishrei — it’s a flurry of activity! First is Rosh Hashanah, then Yom Kippur, then Sukkot, then Shemini Atzeret, then Simchat Torah. We spend the month (especially the beginning) focusing on t’shuvah, tefilah, and tzedakah — working to adjust or set how we’re written into the Book of Life (or not).
Then there’s Cheshvan and everything stops.
In Cheshvan, we’re left with ourselves. All those goals, affirmations, resolutions – now we see if we’re going to live them or if it was really just performative. This is the month where it comes home. Will we honor all that we said we’d do? Do we respect G!d/dess and ourselves enough to really make change? Do we not just spiral into self-doubt and judgement? Do we judge others and go back to craving external validation?
The best way to honor a blessing is to be a blessing.Mpumi Nobiva
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CONTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH
Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet
Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet, founder of Devotaj Sacred Arts, is a maker and teacher of the sacred arts. In 2009, she received ordination as a Kohenet as well as a Celebrant of Becoming, a spiritual community she co-led in Washington DC from 2002-2012. She is the creatix of Kesharim K’doshim Mussar and the Eht/Aht: a netivot wisdom oracle, as well as author of several haggadot and a collection of poetry, prayers, and midrash. Kohenet Ketzirah is also known for her work crafting fiber art and mixed media amulets, altars, and shiviti. Learn more about her work and creations at www.devotaj.com, and you can find her regularly on Instagram (@devotaj_arts) and Facebook/devotaj.arts.
Kohenet Alumah Schuster
As Shomerit Eish Lavananh, Guardian of the White Fire, Kohenet Alumah ardently witnesses, and gently guides . She enters, explores, delves and honors the often silent vast expanse of potentiality that exists in the innermost spaces between. Whether that be the space between bodies as she works as a Hospice Chaplain and end of life doula, or helping to find the wisdom hidden deep inside the body as both a somatic practitioner and yoga instructor, or in the body of Torah as she parses thru the letters and the spaces they inhabit . As a certified aromatherapist her ability to scent and sense space helps her to help others deepen the arc of devotion with both reverent and irreverent methods. Her deep commitment to learning through embodiment and text opens others to remove and drop their outer garments and reveal their inner light, under the skin, revealing the true nature and bringing them ever closer to Self and self.
Rav Kohenet Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, and the co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute. She is the author of a number of books, including The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for all Seasons, The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women, The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (with Taya Shere), and The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries.
Her forthcoming book is titled Return to the Place: The Magic, Meditation, and Mystery of Sefer Yetzirah.
Poet. Performer. Author. Practitioner. Ceremonialist. Seeker, Dancer. Jew. Teacher. Artist.
TEDx Poet Rachel Kann has been featured on Morning Becomes Eclectic on NPR and as The Weather on the podcast phenomenon, Welcome to Night Vale. She’s received accolades from the James Kirkwood Fiction Awards, Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Awards, LA Weekly Awards, International Poetry Slam Idol and Write Club Los Angeles. She’s performed from The Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe to Disney Concert Hall with people like Marianne Williamson and DaKAH Hip Hop Orchestra. She teaches poetry through UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where she is the 2017 Instructor of the Year. Visit her at rachelkann.com.
Kohenet Bekah Starr
I am a Sacred Artist.
In creating visual art & ritual I weave the magical, mystical, often hidden, wisdom of the Hebrew people, and the Divine Feminine, in a way that allows me to be a translator for you. I use embodied artistic practices to assist us in being present to spiritual moments.
Kohenet Nancy Wolfson-Moche
Kohenet Nancy Wolfson-Moche (Kindler of Sacred Sparks) guides people and communities to awaken, connect and celebrate through transformative embodied practices including soul-to-table cooking, eating and yoga. www.youarebecauseyoueat.com