Exploring The Jewish Calendar: Water Flowing through the Seasons
Hosted By: Applied Jewish Spirituality
This free class is a sample of an eight-session course with Sarah Chandler, aka Kohenet Shamirah.
In this live online course with Sarah, participants will explore how the Jewish calendar and our holiday cycle is built on the flow of water. Together, we will track the role of water throughout the Torah and how ancient Israelites’ relationship with water evolved to influence modern Jewish rituals.
We will cover cycles of rain in the middle east, prayers for rain vs. dew, how water shows up in liturgy, embodied practices related to water, and more. Each week, we will explore: How can ritual-weaving support us in bridging the gap between our own lives and the ancient relationships with water of our spiritual ancestors?
Map of the eight sessions:
Part 1: Primordial Flow: Upper and Lower Waters – We will dive into the waters of creation and swim in the rivers and seas that flow between heaven and earth.
Part 2: Water is Life: Living Waters as Purity – a dip into mikveh and laundry: How did the ancients define the role of water in our daily lives? Can humans own water?
Part 3: Nile sediment: Ground waters of Egypt – Unlike the land of Israel where we must rely on the rains of the sky to water our fields, the fertile soil of Egypt stays hydrated by the nutrient rich Nile waters.
Part 4: Desert Survival: Dew, Moss, and Goats – Sun and rain, wind and clouds, flora and fauna. How do humans and animals survive in the desert, especially when nomadic?
Part 5: “He lays down snow like fleece, scatters frost like ashes.” (Psalms 147:16) – How can snow and flow of sap enliven us, even when winter is a chilly and often uncomfortable season?
Part 6: Welcoming Dew – Praying for the tiny droplets of morning dew invites us to hold on to the “Dayenu” outlook of enough-ness.
Part 7: First fruits (Bikkurim) – what is our relationship with abundance? Where can we share the harvest? For those of us who aren’t farmers, how can the ancient agricultural laws inform our modern values and ethics?
Part 8: Fall, Sukkot and the Water Drawing Ceremony (Simchat Beit HaShoeva) – what was this ritual of drawing and pouring out, and how can our modern re-enactments reconnect us with cycles of water around us?
All texts are provided in Hebrew and English translation. This course is open to novices and advanced learners of all backgrounds and orientations.
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