Dear Sabbatical Diary,
Three kids and I went to Los Angeles for Shabbat. We visited a synagogue called IKAR led by Rabbi Sharon Brous. The synagogue is known for its music and its “spiritual audacity”. The music is led by Hillel Tigay, the son of a Dr. Jeffrey Tigay, a Jewish scholar. The service is set in the round. The inner circle consists of Rabbi Brous, Hillel Tigay, two drummers, and four “davenners”. The “davenners” are singers who help lead the group with their voices and their energy. The davenning was energetic, rhythmic, and soulful. The music had a tribal, Middle Eastern, world music feel that felt sacred and primal. Rabbi Brous provided leadership through some prayer kavannot, moments of inspiration and guidance. Her sermons were passionate calls for justice and compassion. At the service, I reconnected with several old friends from my Los Angeles rabbinical school days. Many people that I respect and love are gravitating toward IKAR and Rabbi Brous. My kids were excited to meet some of my former teachers, friends, and colleagues – and we had a great time exploring LA after Shabbat.
I’m staying in California for another week on my own – reconnecting with my rabbinical school, attending classes, meeting with mentors, and doing some writing. I will also have the opportunity to reconnect with some old friends from rabbinical school and some friends who knew me before my rabbinic calling. I hope the experience will provide me a space for reflection, inspiration, and grounding.
Shalom from the hills and valleys of Los Angeles,