CONTACT: Debra Kolodny, Executive Director, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
DATE: June 25, 2007
Web site: www.aleph.org
Dear Chevre: Please forward to your minyans and looking forward to seeing
many of you at the Kallah!
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
The 12th International ALEPH Kallah is poised to be one of the most successful Kallot ever, offering over 100 classes, workshops, religious services and opportunities for Jewish cultural engagement. From spiritual direction to social action imperatives, from Jewish meditation to masterpieces of Jewish mystical song, the ALEPH Kallah is a week-long celebration of Jewish living and learning. Over 700 participants from around the world, many new to Jewish learning, many pillars of Jewish scholarship, will explore Jewish texts, rituals, ethics, music and dance.
ALEPH chose the theme "HaMakom BaMakom Hazeh: Gathering in Sacred Community" to highlight the fact that the intention of the event is a sacred one: l'shem shamayimfor the sake of heaven. The sacred community of Kallah supports and sustains the spiritual growth of the individual, as it builds and deepens the community.
Fees start at $835 per person and include accommodations, eco-kosher meals, and all program fees. Commuter rates and Shabbat registrations are also available. For additional information, please e-mail Sally Plone at email@example.com immediately!
Thirteen women gathered for Shabbat Behalotecha at a holiday house owned by the Jewish community of Oslo to experience Shabbat. This was the second gathering of its kind in Norway, a country where there are less than 2000 Jews. The only two synagogues (one in Oslo and one in Trondheim) are Orthodox, with women only participating from the women's section or gallery during synagogue services. The weekend was initiated by rabbinical student Lynn Claire Feinberg and was co-led by Cantor Jalda Rebling, both educated under ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
The women came from a broad spectrum of Jewish backgrounds; from Modern Orthodox to identifying as a cultural or traditional Jew. Some were active members of the established Jewish community, others did not belong to any community. Some have always known that they were Jewish, others became Jewish or learned about being Jewish at a later age. Some were well versed in a traditional service and understood Hebrew, others could not even read Hebrew, much less understand it. The diversity was an exciting element in all the discussions and helped bring new understanding to what it might mean to be a Jewish woman today.
Prayer services created a container for the Shabbat gathering full of song, deep sharing, laughter, good food and good company, with plenty of time for recreation and recharging the soul. In an historic breakthrough, Lynn Claire Feinberg prepared a siddur with the Hebrew text translated and transliterated into Norwegian. Modelled on Renewal and Reconstructionist siddurim, this is the first such Norwegian siddur.
In order to lead services that could be accepted within an orthodox framework, certain key parts of the service such as the Barchu and Kaddish had to be omitted. Alternative texts were sung in their place. Before and after reading Torah, alternative blessings used by orthodox women in Jerusalem were used, which proved to be more beautiful than the traditional blessings. Jalda's firm experience as a cantor helped bind the different parts of the service together, combining traditional nussach with familiar and less familiar melodies. With guiding words Lynn helped open to a deeper understanding of the service. With an experienced Gabbai and Haftara reader Arna Desser, originally from Baltimore, now living in Oslo, the Torah service became a centerpiece in the morning and afternoon services. This Shabbat weekend was trans-denominational in a very real sense of the word.
Hazzan Jalda Rebling was ordained as chazzan (cantor) through ALEPH in January of 2007. During the last years she has been responsible for training two prayer groups in Germany where she lives. She is a leader in the European Jewish Network, Ohel Hachidusch: www.ohel-hachidusch.org. She will soon begin a training course in davvening (Jewish prayer) leadership in Europe.
Lynn Claire Feinberg from Oslo is an Historian of Religion having specialized in Women and Judaism and is also trained as an Astrologer and an Eco-Kosher Mashgiach (kosher kitchen overseer). She teaches a variety of Jewish themes and is creating texts and material to be used at the Jewish Museum in Oslo. She is training to become a Mashpiah - a Spiritual Director.