This morning, in my first sermon of both this new church program season, as well as our Jewish New Year, 5778, I want to share some reflections on a very special shared milestone for all of us — of both Central Reform Temple and Emmanuel Church. The New Year, that we have just celebrated, is indeed a momentous one for all of us of the Temple, as we mark the 13th Anniversary of the Founding of our Congregation! Just three weeks ago, our celebration of Rosh Hashanah inaugurated what we are calling our Kehilat Mitzvah Year– an egalitarian Hebrew variant on the Bar and Bat Mitzvah 13th birthday tradition, which means “ A Community of the Commandments.” In this very symbolic way, we seek to frame and reaffirm many of our Temple’s core values as we celebrate this milestone. Continue reading →
Something I have noticed the last couple weeks of my internship with Emmanuel is all the stories that people tell. All three of the populations with whom I am working, despite the wide age range and different backgrounds, have many stories to tell. I have been surprised by how willing many of the program participants are to tell their stories. In common art, I have found several people making art about events that have happened in their past, and being very willing to share despite the sometimes intense nature of these stories. It felt meaningful to me that they were given this artistic outlet to tell their stories. I want to explore this further, and see if there are projects I can come up with that could enhance their experience of telling their stories through art.
Hello to the Emmanuel Church community! My name is Kate Solow and I am this year’s intern from Lesley University. I am in my second year working towards my masters in art therapy and mental health counseling. I got my BFA in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and hope to use those skills both as an art therapist and as a children’s book illustrator. I am excited to be this year’s intern and am grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from the different populations served by the church.
I witnessed a miracle of life last week at Emmanuel Church. While speaking to marginally-housed women at Common Art, I saw a married couple walk in with a 15-day-old baby. The women and I stopped what we were doing and went over to see the adorable newborn. Where before the women’s faces were downcast and desolate, the sight of this young creature completely transformed them. They smiled, their eyes lit up, they laughed, and they cooed at the baby boy. I was almost as excited to see the baby as I was to see the miraculous change in the Common Art attendees. Who knew that one baby could be the source of calm, peace, and happiness for so many people? It was miraculous to me.
A similar transformation takes place on Thursday afternoons at Emmanuel Church, where I teach ballroom dance lessons to the LGBT members of Café Emmanuel. I think that something magical happens when we move our bodies to the beat of a song. I watch as nervousness morphs into timid fun, which then becomes giddy laughter and joie de vivre. It doesn’t matter if someone makes a mistake or does not understand the foot patterns right away. The point is that we are all connecting with our bodies in a joyful way while unloading the burdens from our stressful week. It is a time where we can all let loose without fear of being judged by others.
The women at the prison often make a similar comment; they are so very grateful to have just one moment out of the week (at the Arts and Spirituality group) where they can relax and enjoy the simplicity of card making. During that weekly session, they do not have to worry about all of the complicated aspects of their lives. I believe that we humans have a tremendous amount to worry about on a daily basis, so it is miraculous that we are able to set things aside and enjoy anything in the present. Moments are fleeting, but perhaps we have more miracles in our lives than we previously thought.
My name is Rebekah Woolf and I will be spending the next 9 months with you all at Emmanuel Church as an intern from Lesley University. Currently, I am in my second of three years in my master’s program where I am studying to become an Expressive Art Therapist and Mental Health Counselor.
Originally, I hail from Central Pennsylvania and am a recent transplant to the greater Boston area as of last year. I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to have the arts in my life since an early age and have been creating and expressing myself via art ever since. I have been interested in understanding personhood and have participated in community service for as long as I can remember. Thus, the desire to serve others as well as combining my love to art and psychology has brought me to this incredible experience. I am very much looking forward to getting to know the Emmanuel Church community and the people you serve. Continue reading →