I suppose on some level I must have been searching for a Jewish community and organization to belong to, after being out of things for a while. However, I don't think I really knew it until I met the folks at Kavana. There's just something terribly contagious about the warmth, sincerity, humor, curiosity, intelligence, and..."kavana" that permeates the group, from Rabbi Rachel on downward (...upward? around?). "Multiple entry points to Jewish involvement" is a very nice phrase but the reality of it played out in a room full of eager participants with something to share is even better. Yasher Koach!
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.
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!
Fulfilling. This is a broad-based and tolerant organization that manages to be inclusive without watering down their spiritual efforts. Their services are substantive and their extra-religious activities are community-based and positive. They manage to successfully promote the environment, healthy eating, helping those in need, education, voluntarism and more with a live-and-let-live attitude.
A great community. I have enjoyed meeting wonderful people and participating in a different kind of Jewish communal organization. Our daughter loves the Hebrew immersion nursery school.
Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum and the Kavana board has developed an organization that has created a community where there wasn't one. Rachel Nussbaum makes each event special, through her warm and welcoming personality, her knowledge and most importantly her ability to make it fun and understandable. She takes the time to get to know each member and is willing to listen and shows a caring side. Kavana isn't about money it's about bringing together people to build a Jewish community.
Kavana has allowed us to seek - and create! - what perhaps many Jewish families seek: meaningful Jewish experiences accessible to both adults and children in an intimate context where activities aim to meet personalized needs, not to satisfy the lowest common denominator for the greatest number of people. The grass-roots feel of the leadership, learning, and activities is irreplaceable, and the cooperative model allows us to participate, contribute sweat equity, and be valued for who we are rather than by our checkbooks alone. If every Jewish community in the US had a Kavana, American Judaism would be exponentially revitalized, active, pertinent, and hopeful.