In the coming months, it is my wish to contact each member of Ahavas Israel and offer to engage in a spiritual checkup. Spirituality concerns making a connection with something higher than yourself. The essence of spirituality is seeking meaning in your life that transcends you as an individual, seeing yourself as a part of something larger than yourself. A Jewish spiritual assessment is an exercise in which you explore your personal set of values, the most important values within Judaism, and the relationship between them. It is not a judgement. It is a snapshot of where you are right now, to be compared to where you want to be five years from now. It uses language of mitzvot and Jewish practices as a starting point coming from Torah, because that’s what unites and drives us as members of a Jewish community.
When I contact you, I hope you’ll join me for a conversation about your spiritual checkup. The goal of the conversation would be to engage in the questions, “Where are you religiously?” “Where do you want to go?” And “How can I/Congregation Ahavas Israel help you get there?” If the thought of doing this kind of spiritual work interests you, please call me to set up a time. If you think you have nothing to learn from such an exercise, I’d ask you to consider, what would you lose by giving it a try?
I have a list of specific questions to guide our conversation. If you wish, you may think or journal about them in advance.
- Where do you have Shabbat in your life? Where do you need it?
- How can you experience mindful eating?
- What do you give of yourself?
- How can you be mindful of your speech?
- How are you engaging in Talmud Torah, what Jewish books are you reading and studying?
- How do I approach difficult issues?
- Where are you in your life-goals and relationships (including your relationship to Judaism)?
- Where would you like to be in five years?
- How has your practice of Judaism helped your spiritual life?
- How can Ahavas Israel help you get there, or facilitate or further your goals?
- A time I felt close to God was when:
- A time I felt distant from God was when:
- The Jewish practices/teachings I especially value are:
- The Jewish practices/teachings I have trouble with are:
- My general feeling about coming to services is:
- I feel connected to our congregation and the Jewish community. True or false. Please explain.
Note: In last month’s Divre Harav, I accidentally omitted Esther Bookbinder from the list of those supporting our Shabbat service and the weekday morning Zoom minyan. I apologize to Esther. To any others whom I omitted, please know that it is not a deliberate slight, just my imperfect memory.