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Women Retreat at Kol Ami

Know that calmness and humility are partners.Rabbeinu Avraham ben haRambam.
Over one hundred women gathered at Congregation Kol Ami on Sunday March 7 for the first Spa for the Soul, a day to examine spirituality, to learn, to relax and to reflect. The event featured a keynote address from writer, poet and Jewish feminist Blu Greenberg who did a reading of her work and lead the group through a discussion of finding the divine in their lives.

Her poetry touched on a host of Jewish themes, including the legacy of the Holocaust , the observance of Shabbat and living as an Orthodox Jew in modern day America. She shared her touch points with the divine with the group in an effort to help the audience to ponder their own spirituality. Family, community, Shabbat, the recitation of blessings, the study of Torah, interfaith dialogue, the appreciation of nature and the act of thanking God were some of the ways she experiences the spiritual.

The day progressed with a spa hour featuring wonderful healers for the body, mind, and spirit. There were mini-facials, manicures, messages, skin analyses, and even a chiropractor on hand to examine posture. Vendors of jewelry, scarves and cosmetics were also invited.

Three break-out sessions with Rabbi Shira Milgrom, Rabbi Pamela Wax and Blu Greenberg followed. In a session on attaining equanimity called “Balancing on the Teeter-Totter: Spiritual Strategies for Living,” conducted by Rabbi Pamela Wax, she lead the group through an examination of the meaning of equanimity, what triggers stress and how we can rise above inconsequential events. Her methodology was reminiscent of yoga, Jewish-style, combining deep breathing with Talmudic wisdom.

She distributed some quotes on the topic including this one from Proverbs 16:32, “the calm one is greater than the warrior, and the self-controlled is greater than a conqueror.”

In the other two sessions, Blu Greenberg led a group titled, “What Does the Word Spirituality Mean to You?” focusing on the spiritual in each of us. In “Spirituality for the Mind and Soul”, Rabbi Shira Milgrom discussed constructing a personal spiritual practice that harmonizes contemporary liberal views with traditional wisdom.

As promised, the day was thought provoking, enriching and restful. Thanks to Jill Abraham and Lauri Carey for organizing this wonderful event and to Ruffled Feathers for catering a delicious spa luncheon.

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