By Rabbi Micah Buck-Yae;l
If you reached out to us at Keshet last week, you received an auto-responder letting you know that we were out of the office. Yes, all of us. At Keshet, we periodically take time to gather as a full team, move away from our inboxes and meeting schedules, and do the work of dreaming up the world that we are building together. And we take the time to strengthen our relationships with one another, as colleagues who work in four time zones across multiple departments and programs. Every year it is joyous, tender, and a chance to fill our cups.
Setting aside this kind of time together is sacred and precious. Last week, we asked how we can make the biggest difference for LGBTQ Jews and our families — in the Jewish community and the broader world. What needs are we encountering day to day? Where are the new trends, challenges, and opportunities? What are the big ideas that would stretch us and meet these needs? How can we better collaborate with one another?
This year in particular, we also used this time to listen to and support one another through a deeply painful time. During our time together, we spoke openly and vulnerably about the horror of the October 7th attacks on Israel, the current war in Gaza, and our grief and our fear for the hostages, their families, and civilians suffering in Israel and Gaza.
Taking this kind of time is integral to the work of making change. One of my Rabbinical school professors, Dr. David Kraemer, taught me that taking time to dream is central to Jewish practice as we know it. As he understands it, Shabbat is a weekly invitation to move out of the day to day tasks of creating a better world and instead imagine that we can already taste and experience that world. He teaches that this is a core practice — when we engage this capacity to imagine what could be, we are able to find the strength, persistence, and audacity to build it.
We hope that even during this time you are able to carve out spaces of rest and inspiration, to replenish and refill your cups for your own sacred work.