Journeys in Time
by Rabbi David Kasher
In this period between Passover and Shavuot, we are engaged in the yearly ritual of “Counting the Omer.” Once upon a time, this counting served as a way of keeping track of the time between two Temple sacrifices; today, all that remains of the practice is the verbal counting itself: every night, for forty-nine nights, we stand up and announce where we are in the Omer progression of days and weeks.
Dear Kevah friends, fans, current and former staff and board members, donors, Federation and foundation program officers, and Kevah Educators, group hosts, and group members,
Nine years ago this month, I had an epiphany: I had everything I had ever wanted--a loving husband, three young children with the oldest in kindergarten, a good job, a comfortable home, a synagogue I loved--and yet I felt surprisingly lonely. How could that be?
I reflected back on the things in life that had made me feel most complete, and I realized that two things were missing. First, I missed regular Jewish learning, which I had engaged in sporadically over my adult life. With so many other demands on my time, it seemed hard to prioritize any me-time, let alone time for Jewish learning.
Second, I missed seeing friends. When was the last time I had sat around a living room on a weeknight with a group of friends and just hung out? I couldn't remember. It had to have been years ago.
Being an entrepreneur by nature, I began to think about these two missing pieces, and wondered if perhaps, one could address them both by joining a small group of friends for regular Jewish learning.
Through that "peanut butter and chocolate" epiphany--that maybe one could learn Torah and connect with close friends at the same time--Kevah was born with the support of friends around my Berkeley kitchen table.
Nine years later, Kevah is leading the charge to make American Judaism more relational and more Torah-centric. We've launched well over 100 micro-communities, partnered with dozens of Jewish organizations to help them create Jewish learning communities, supported around 2,000 learners, and created a Jewish co-working space and a teacher training program to boot.
We are excited to launch our first video contest where we invite you to share a short video - three minutes or less - about your Kevah experience. Please feel free to include members of your Kevah Group and your Kevah educator - we invite you to be as creative as you would like. And yes - there are prizes!
Videos should be submitted in the following categories - feel free to submit as many videos in as many different categories as you would like:
David Green to Lead Kevah’s Next Stage of Growth
Berkeley, CA. –
Kevah, a national organization empowering individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities, is delighted to announce the appointment of David Green as its new Executive Director. David will be responsible for the organization’s overall management, operations and development. His position starts on January 2, 2017.
When something is working extremely well, it appears to take no effort at all. That is precisely the feeling participants often have when they walk into their first Kevah group: that everything just fell perfectly into place.
But the truth is, behind the scenes, a tremendous amount of effort goes into the launching of every new group. Kevah's Group Support team is constantly laying all the groundwork to make sure your experience with Jewish learning is as smooth and easy as possible. So here is a peek behind the curtain, to give you all an understanding of how a Kevah Group is “made.”
Group Names: N’shay Kevah, Mill Valley Torah, Congregation Beth Sholom Group, Professional Women
Locations: San Francisco, Mill Valley, Berkeley
Topics: Midrash, The Five Megillot, The King David Story, The Concept of "Avodah" (service)
Teaching with Kevah since: 2013
To say that Rachel Brodie is a beloved educator is a understatement. Rachel is one of the Bay Area's most revered and sought-after Torah teachers. So universally respected was she, in fact, that a unique position was created around her - she was appointed the San Francisco JCC's first CJO (Chief Jewish Officer), where she served for the last five years.
Rachel recently left that role, however, to get back to her primary love: teaching. "I'm hoping," she said, "to devote more of my time to studying, thinking, writing... and laughing." Kevah was thrilled to hear that, because the more studying Rachel does with our learners, the better.
The feeling is mutual, reports Rachel, as she spoke fondly about her experience teaching for Kevah:
By Jeff Tiell on August 11th, 2016
The original article can be found here.
Earlier this summer I spent a half-day with this year’s cohort of Kevah Teaching Fellows. Kevah is a nonprofit that empowers individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities by creating Kevah Groups matched to an outstanding Kevah educator.
July 26, 2016
To start or join a Kevah Group, click here.
KEVAH LAUNCHES IN COLORADO!
Denver, Colorado - Kevah – a Bay Area-based organization that empowers individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities– is coming to Colorado. Kevah has received a three-year, $150,000 grant from Rose Community Foundation to help support their launch of a network of 30 Jewish learning groups in the Denver and Boulder area. Rose Community Foundation will be joining the Jim Joseph Foundation and other local and national donors in supporting Kevah’s operations in Colorado.
Kevah, selected three years in a row by The Slingshot Fund as one North America’s top innovative Jewish organizations, offers an innovative approach to adult Jewish education. Instead of specific classes offered at a set time and place, individuals get to bring to life a learning group of their own design. With Kevah's support, each group host brings together 12-18 people from her own social network and chooses a topic, time, and location. Kevah provides an outstanding educator and ongoing administrative support to help each group thrive.
“Rose Community Foundation was an early champion of Kevah’s grassroots approach to organizing and supporting ongoing Jewish learning experiences for adults. This grant will allow us to strengthen and expand our work to Denver and Boulder,” said Kevah’s Founder and Executive Director Sara Bamberger. Bamberger, a 6th generation Coloradan, has long wanted to bring the DIY model of Jewish learning circles to the place where she grew up.
“Kevah’s approach provides an accessible entry-point for learners at all levels to engage with Jewish texts and ideas surrounded by like-minded peers. The Foundation sees this model to be especially promising for engaging young adults in meaningful and relevant Jewish learning,” said Lisa Farber Miller, Jewish Life Senior Program Officer for Rose Community Foundation. “Kevah’s ability to recruit outstanding educators, coupled with its DIY approach to Jewish learning will really resonate with people in Colorado.”
Rose Community Foundation’s grant will partially fund Kevah’s start-up costs in Colorado.
So far, there are three Kevah Groups up and running, including one in the Highlands, one in Hilltop and one in Lowry. According to Andrea Salzberg, one of the organizers of the Highlands Wine, Women, and Mindfulness Kevah Group, “I have enjoyed connecting with friends and our teacher, Dr. David Sanders. The meditations and teachings opened a fresh avenue of Jewish learning into my parenting, my relationships and my work life. The logistical support Kevah offered and the connection with David Sanders made this wonderful additional to our West Side Jewish life a reality.”
Kevah has two goals for this year. First, it will be partnering with 3-5 organizations (day schools, synagogues, JCC’s, etc.) that are interested in becoming the hub of an innovative adult learning program. For each successful group, the partner organization receives $500 from Kevah. “Our goal is to incentivize collaborations with as many local synagogues and organizations as we can, who want to have more adult engagement and would benefit from Kevah’s support,” says Dr. Julie Lieber, the Colorado Director as well as Kevah’s Director of Education.
Kevah’s second goal is to continue to build Kevah Groups that are not affiliated with any specific institution, but rather are built around the host/organizer’s own interests and social network and involves participants who may be on the margins of institutional Jewish life. According to Dr. Lieber, “Kevah supports all sorts of interesting Kevah Groups in our national network: a group for entrepreneurs, a group for couples interested in studying parenting through the lens of Jewish texts, a group for lawyers studying Talmud, a group for empty nesters, a group for professional Jews interested in learning about Jewish approaches to God, and many groups for young adults who like Kevah’s customized, DIY approach. The beauty of the model is that Kevah provides the educator and administrative support, but each group has a personality and flavor all to itself.”