At this year's City Winery Seder, it wasn't surprising that leaders included Howard Levy, Aaron Freeman, Lizzie Heydemann and Benay Lappe. All have been nurtured in the environment of Aitz Hayim, all have made our Jewish experience great and all made Aitz Hayim an oasis in the growing world of Jewish creativity.
When you meditate at an Institute for Jewish Spirituality retreat with Jordan Bendat-Appel, or read innovative Jewish thinking with Ayalon Eliach in Haaretz, see pictures in Tehran newspapers of Steven T, Katz teaching Jewish studies in Iran and Burt Visotzky with the Pope, you realize how exposed we are to the cutting edge of Jewish thinking in the world. Donniel Hartman, Irwin Kula and Ed Feinstein, giants in the Jewish world, have evolved in their ideas, programs, and styles through ongoing experience with Aitz Hayim.
Ultimately, the creative Jewish dialogue is what makes Aitz Hayim such an evolving special place. We try, we reinvent, and we transform organically. We are at our best when we are fresh and innovative. We always are better at fashioning the new than replicating even our best.
Last year we established a relationship with Ayalon Eliach who is becoming one of the brightest stars in American Jewish life. And our relationship with him will continue. Unfortunately, his graduation requirements make it impossible for him to be with us for the High Holidays.
But fortunately, a new opportunity opens for us. Rabbi Tsafi Lev who is the West Coast director of Irwin Kula's Rabbis Without Borders program will be our guest scholar. Tsafi heads the Judaic Program at the most innovative Jewish High School in the LA area, teaches Philosophy at American Jewish University, and has created services that are rich with provocative content and resonate with different emotions and human experiences. He thrives on participatory discussion that intertwines Jewish wisdom with the issues, personal and communal, that are facing us today.
He is already working with David Landau and Howard Levy to open the door for a transformative experience that builds on words and music.
Tsafi will join Howard and David at Shabbat services to begin the creative collaborative process and than after kiddush lunch, we will study with him.
Join us on Shabbat morning, June 25 to see for yourself.
Services begin at 10 am In the Tross Family Education Center at North Shore Congregation Israel, 1185 Sheridan Road, Glencoe