KAVANA

Rating: 4.91 stars   32 reviews

Issues: Religion

Location: P.O. Box 19666 Seattle WA 98119 USA

Mission: Kavana is an independent Jewish community in Seattle. We strive to create a supportive communal environment in which individuals and families can use “kavana” - intention - to create a Jewish life that is spiritually fulfilling, intellectually satisfying, fun, and meaningful. Kavana has a unique approach to building Jewish community: Cooperative Model - As the first Jewish cooperative of its kind, partners share in the task of creating Jewish life for the group. Non-Denominational & Pluralistic - Kavana draws participants from highly diverse backgrounds and allows for multiple entry points to Jewish involvement. “Personalized Judaism in a Community Context” - Kavana acknowledges and embraces the dynamic tension between an individual’s interest and needs, versus the desire to create community. Local Pods - Kavana believes that Jewish communal life will best thrive in settings which are local, organic and intimate.
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Kavana provides a spiritual and supportive community environment adding important dimensions to our lives. Our grandchildren are becoming aware of their heritage by being part of the children's programs and our lives are enriched by the activities we can take part in.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

having the sense of being part of a strong, supportive Jewish community.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the people we have met and their committment to a global world view of community.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

fantastic!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

develop more programs and activities.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Kavana is a creative Jewish environment where participants can shape their own Jewish journey and the community. Members seek out the programs that are of interest to them and then help plan, organize, support, and/or run the events. Programs are often driven by community desire. And, the programming is incredibly diverse. If you don't like services, how about the book group, the movie group, the cooking programs, the Hebrew Immersion play group for children, the Community Supported Agriculture program... Right now, I am working with Rabbi Rachel and my 11 year old son, Noah, as part of the hardcore monthly minyan. He is learning to read Torah and will soon begin to work on the service. The goal is to have him move effortlessly and naturally into his Bar Mitzvah.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that partners bring fourth ideas and with the board and committees find others to make programs happen. This is not a scripted organization.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

hands on and have a sense of ownership because what happens is a result of partner effort with professional leadership.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

first be financial stability & hire another innovative prog. staff mem. Next it would then be possible to start other Kavana groups around Seattle and help bring the model with leadership to cities that are ready for a diff Jewish experience

Ways to make it better...

there were more older children, but it'll happen in time...

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

sustainable funding

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My children and grandchildren are part of Seattle Kavanah. When I visit Seattle, it is usually for a long weekend. I am always happy to share the Kavanah experience. Rabbi Rachel gives the group a warm and inclusive experience, welcoming all. Kavanah Seattle has allowed my family to have a positive Jewish experience. The warmth of family and sharing - holidays and camp - have added knowledge and enriched my grandchildren's (the future of Judaism) lives.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the lives of my grandchildren and their attitudes toward judaism

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the way the group includes all levels of knowledge and commitment

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

open, honest and encouraged participation in events

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

enhance and enrich the lives of the Jewish community and surrounding community - spreading peace and acceptance.

Ways to make it better...

The holiday (Purim that year) were actually celebrated on the actual day of the holiday

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

setting up an educational program so the next generation of young people are prepared to take their place in the Jewish community - and educational program for the whole family would be great

One thing I'd also say is that...

I am grateful for all the time and effort put into the creation of this program. It is wonderful to see so many families who might be "lost" to traditions if Kavanah were not available.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I went to Rosh H. for services and dinner. This is a welcoming community. The Rabbi made the service relevant to today's concerns without sounding overly preachy. There was a wonderful focus on making it personal, yet involving the community through participation.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

making the high holidays come alive and feel relevant.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

How community based it is, it builds community through participation and gives back by creating volunteering opportunities.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly and helpful.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Whenever I go to the Kavana office or participate in one of Kavana's gatherings, I always feel welcome and valued for being there. Thanks to Kavana's progressive outlook on Judaism, my family feels at home in the Kavana community as well. Kavana provides a wide range of opportunities to suit many different levels and kinds of participation in their community. Kavana's receptivity and open-mindedness embodies the best of what community is all about and I am grateful to be a part of it!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my family's positive interaction/participation in Kavana activities.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their receptivity, openness and welcoming nature.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, appreciative and supportive. knowledgeable and intelligent.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

adequately compensate its staff, enhance its programming and increase membership.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

As a Soviet Jew who moved to the United States at age 9, I have had my share of struggles with finding community. My upbringing was devoid of the more sublime aspects of Jewish culture and religion. Kavana was the first organized Jewish experience I have ever had that seemed to speak directly to me. When I arrived at an event, I was welcomed warmly, but without pressure. I felt free to think and observe. The members of the community were friendly and open to a new person. Rabbi Rachel was genuinely friendly and interested. Their programs are diverse, so I can always find something that appeals. It is non-denominational, which frees the services to be whatever works for the members, and indeed Kavana's approach to Judaism seem to fill a hard-to-define need. I am happy to have found Kavana!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Extremely bright, engaged, and friendly. They were genuinely interested in me as a person.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Kavana has offered a place to better connect with and see the inner workings of the Jewish faith and how it is celebrated. Instead of feeling obligation, our entire family finds something at every Kavana gathering (whether that something is in learning, sharing, connecting or simply having fun). Kavana has amplified our connection to the Jewish faith and culture.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

connecting the kids to the holidays as well as connecting with a rabbi.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change the days/hours of the sunday shool.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting people with open attitudes and warmth.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

accommodating and inclusive with out pressuring or steering.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand to include as many people as possible but somehow keep the same structure.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to focus on this organization.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I was at the first Kavana Shabbat dinner and service at Gas-works park. From that experience I knew this was a community that would work for me. As a regular at Living Room Learning, I love the regular connection to text and the cycle of the year. This year's Yom Kippur was the most meaningful one I've had. I usually see YK as a holiday to be endured, but this year was able to find moments of reflection, solitude, community, joy, and connection. It helped me enter the new year with a feeling of serenity. As a board member I'm learning about governance and finances. It is always a pleasure to work with the board, as they are a talented and dedicated group. Kavana gives me a sense of belongingness in Judaism.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the connection to other Jews of many different backgrounds, knowledge levels and experiences. Everyone is welcome and made comfortable.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

revolutionize Jewish connection among Seattle residents.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

This syn-Co-op offers an intelligent, hamish, post-modernist response to the never-ending negotations Jewish individuals make with the idea of community - particularly those based in the Northwest where nature is culture, is religion. Inclusive doesn't begin to describe Kavana's atmosphere - bring your needy, your neurotic, your not-sure, your really not-sure. The tent is big. And, if God is in the details, then Kavana is the Martha Stewartstein of minyans. People return emails and promptly. People do what they say they will do. Accountability may be the guiding precept of this group, but organizational tidiness (is that a word?) can't be far behind. Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum resists praise like its like plague, but one must credit her, her husband Noam Pianko (I hope I have his name correctly spelled) and founding partner Suzi LeVine for so bravely pursuing this paradigm. There's progressive and there's open and then there's inviting complete strangers into one's home on a weekly basis and serving them textual exegesis and marcona almonds. On a personal note, I think she is the first rabbi - especially one 31 weeks into pregnancy - to attend a film premiere of mine - me, a very new member who has yet to pay into the community coffer. I am exceedingly grateful to have found this group and hope that its model for integrity and intelligence, sustenance and sustainability will inspire others in ways we can't even begin to imagine.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

create international liasons with NGO's - a potential interfaith, international fair trade CSA?

Ways to make it better...

I didn't have to take two busses to attend events. Alas and alack.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I have been impressed with the creativity, thoughtfulness and involvement of many people who had not found a "comfortable Jewish home" until Kavana was established. They have been an integral part of creating a meaningful Jewish experience for themselves--and their families.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Their ability to create programming with their members being an integral part of the process. They are always evaluating what occurs and recalibrating as necessary to become more successful in their outreach and engagement.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Was this review helpful?