by Margie Zeskind
I have never attended an Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism Conference or Kallah before this one. As the director of a Jewish Early Childhood Reggio Inspired Program I was drawn to the opportunity to visit the Reggio Inspired Boulder Journey School. Four members of my professional team eagerly signed on with me for what we thought would be another great Reggio learning experience complemented with a three day Judaic learning component. We quickly realized that the Boulder Journey School, the provocation for our participation, became secondary to a deeply spiritual and nourishing experience.
Our eyes were filled with wonder and tears. Our souls deeply steeped in the sacred richness of the Kallah content. Our spirits were joyfully nourished by the beautiful music, shared conversations and community connections. Our minds were guided by passages that enabled us to reach a heightened level of awareness of our innermost feelings. We felt for ourselves and we felt for our colleagues. This weaving of emotions bound us together, in such a short time, that it almost felt surreal. Each one of us felt like our personal and collective experiences, during the Kallah, opened us up to realizing values that will sustain us and deepen our connections to God, Judaism and our community.
Each of us left feeling that our lives were richer because we had been inspired by Cantor Ellen Dreskin. She reached out, expressing herself from her heart, mind and soul. She articulated her depth so meaningfully, both in song and words, that through her guided imagery, we reached a sacred time and space together. This was restorative for each of us individually and collectively. Shira Kline, someone we connect with regularly through her music in our classrooms, contributed tremendously to our feeling of completeness and celebration as she artistically sparked a newly kindled fire within us. Rabbi Jan Katzew brilliantly set the stage for thinking, connecting and growing as he led us in Torah Study which set us in motion for delving deeper into our thinking and beliefs.
My staff, Liset Leyva, Scarlet Geiger, Ashley Weissman, and Rachel Unger feel blessed, as do I, for having the opportunity to participate in this deeply moving experience. This reflection represents each one of us.
Margie Zeskind is the Early Childhood Education Director of Temple Beth Sholom Foundation School in Miami Beach, FL.