This class takes its inspiration from the teaching of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel that the most appropriate reaction to the world is an attitude of "radical amazement." But it takes practice to feel awed all the time so we are undertaking a series of experiments to see how we can tap into our amazement and wonder.
The semester began with the teens reflecting on and discussing what inspires them and makes them feel connected. Many described experiences they have had in the wilderness or in the outdoors. Teens then learned about Martin Buber's philosophy of "I-Thou" and we began doing exercises to see if what would happen when we tried to experience the world as a "you" instead of an "it." One Tuesday night the teens each spent time each with a different plant in the playground at Temple Sinai as we tried to engage these silent creatures on some subtle level. We discussed the humbling/inspiring feeling that arises when you ponder the size and age of the universe. And we learned a little about quantum physics to try to investigate what is this stuff we call matter?
All of these activities are done with the intention of trying to find our "wow moments" and maybe to get a better understanding of ourselves. Class members have been keeping Radical Amazement journals where they are recording their reflections on weekly topics. As the semester goes on we will be trying out other awe-inspiring avenues including Torah Yoga, music, and some others, in hopes of plumbing the inner depths.
Contact Midrasha Co-Directors Mark Deutsch and Debra Marx at (510)501-6692