Southern & Jewish
Southern & Jewish celebrates the stories, people, and experiences – past and present – of Jewish life in the American South. Hosted by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, posts come from educators, students, rabbis, parents, artists, and many other “visitors-to and daily-livers-of” the Southern Jewish experience. From road trips to recipes to reflections, we’ll explore a little bit of everything – well, at least all things Southern and/or Jewish. Shalom, y’all!
The layout of this blog follows a breathing exercise that Ava learned in a mindfulness course. The exercise follows the idea that at different points of the day, when you are experiencing stress or want to stay present, you take a moment and acknowledge what you are feeling and what you need. You then gather your thoughts to your breadth and finally, you expand the breadth and awareness to your entire body – step by step.
After attending a webinar on mindfulness in the workplace, Carrie and Ava were inspired to launch a structured mindfulness program in our workplace, the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL). We noticed the need for a time to connect with our coworkers, address what brings out stress, and infuse more kindness and intention into our everyday life. Being Jews, we knew that it needed to revolve around food, so we started the Mindful Monday group as a lunchtime gathering.
People were eager for and actively participating in it, but we saw that Mondays were not working for the office schedule-wise, and so we began Noshama. We combined the word nosh (a snack, nibble, little bit of something great…) with neshama (Hebrew for soul) to create the concept for our name, and our group: food for your soul. Eventually accepting that one specific day each month didn’t work for the group’s ever-changing schedule, we gave ourselves permission to choose the day Noshama meets whenever it was most convenient.
As our time at the ISJL comes to a close (cue tears – we’re both second year Fellows, nearing the end of our two-year fellowships), we can only hope that this type of organized practice can continue. We have found that intentionally disrupting a sometimes-mundane routine can lead to a more productive work flow, and allow for an increase in creative thinking. At this present moment, Ava and I are unsure about where we will be in the near future, but we fully intend to continue our mindfulness journeys wherever we may go. As ISJL fellows we have felt joy and a sense of pride as Noshama has grown and evolved, and we hope that other staff members continue to fill their bowls with soul.
At each Noshama session we provide mindful coloring sheets, below we have linked one for your mindful practice! We hope wherever you are, you can find the time to continue or begin a mindfulness practice.