Each One of You, our elective, is a space where we convene as young women, discuss the challenges and successes we are facing, form strong Jewish community together, and learn about Jewish values that can support us in meeting the obstacles we face. We began the semester forming a safe space together, and learning about rituals that help create a sense of safety and sacredness. Next, we explored the Jewish value of welcoming in the stranger, as well as the requirement that we have a minyan in order to pray. We discussed times they have felt particularly invited into a community or group, and times they have felt excluded. Emotions surfaced, and we talked about how they would have liked to be welcomed if they were excluded. We related these ideas to ideas our ancestors and important Jewish thinkers and Rabbis have had around welcoming in the stranger. We ended this series of meetings with personal check ins and sharing in which individual students challenged themselves to open up for the sake of creating an intimate and connected community.
A very touching moment occurred when one student shared her grief around a personal loss, and all of the young women in the group circled around her, hugging and comforting her. We discussed Jewish prayer communities, and the importance of showing up for others by participating in the community minyan. We related this to showing up for others in other ways, and talked about ways they have showed up for friends who are struggling and need community. Finally, we have used Jewish values to cover a range of topics, including but not limited to: fears around going to high school, dating, family, bullying, and friendship. This has been a very meaningful class. After a few of the sessions, when we closed up the class with a reflective ritual, the girls remarked that this is one of the only places they feel safe to be completely themselves.
Contact Midrasha Co-Directors Mark Deutsch and Debra Marx at (510)501-6692