Religious School News – November 2019



What is the best gift you can give your family following this Holiday Season?  Perhaps something that is delicious and sweet?  Something that looks and smells delightful?  Something that can last forever?  What about something that bops when it stops or whirls when it twirls?  I’ve got just the thing!

Kavannah!  Kavannah is intention, aim or goal.  And it can be as tasty as you desire.

As referenced during Kehila Tephila, kavannah or conscious intention, is on what we build growth.  When we are together as a community in prayer or learning, we create a communal kavannah.  Whether we are participating in a prayer or meditation of Shevah (praise), Bakashah (petition), or Hodayah (thanksgiving,) we are working off a clear intention.  Wouldn’t our home lives be even more fruitful if we were to have clear goals?

Consider an activity you can do at breakfast or dinner or bedtime by engaging in a conversation about kavannah.  Creating intention about how we conduct ourselves inside and outside of the home might be something to consider.  Perhaps the way we treat our family members, even when we are cranky, might be a powerful exercise.  Or even homework and housekeeping goals could be significant.

Kavannah about how we treat ourselves can be extraordinarily significant.  By setting an intention about limiting negative self-talk, we can not only identify a goal but it might help one become more conscious about when these sorts of thoughts are happening!  I believe celebrating oneself during successes is a great habit to create.

What about kavannah outside of our homes and our minds?  How about kavannah around how we want to participate in our local or global communities.  I know that Rabbi gave us a lot to think about during her sermon on Rosh Hashanah.  How can we make this world cleaner and safer for those around us?

No matter the intention that you create, the act of making it a family activity is extremely powerful.  Allowing your children to see that as adults, we are aware and recognize that we can do better can be empowering.  Supporting each other and being accountable is essential.

Don’t worry if the conversation doesn’t go as smoothly as you envision, but envision it none-the-less.  If we get that type of thinking started early in life and as a family, I believe we will all be creating and receiving beautiful gifts following this beautiful season that will last throughout the year.

Seth Kellam,

Religious School and Sacred Music Director