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August 21, 2012 / Rabbi Laura

Tick, tock, tick tock…intentions

#BlogElul: Day 3 Intentions

Dear Gail and Barry, 

Thank you so much for the beautiful study session this morning.  From the moment I joined the call I had a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart, instantly transported back to our days in Cleveland. Passionate, compassionate colleagues to learn, explore and grow with…
As a proud alumna of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (Cohort 2), I was invited, as I am every year, to take part in any one of a series study sessions on the themes of the upcoming High Holy Days.  What made this year different from any other year?  I participated. I took time  – just 60 minutes this morning – to join about ten other MTEI alumni and faculty from around the country to learn, discuss, reflect.
I became a rabbi and Jewish educator because I love Judaism, I love to learn and I love to teach.  MTEI was a transformative experience for me.  Over the course of two years in 1997-98 I spent hours at home, at work and with my cohort studying Jewish texts, examining our work as Jewish educators.  The experience fed me as a learner, as a professional, as a Jew.
Over the past several years I haven’t fulfilled my need for ongoing learning as much as desired. I felt pulled in other directions.  “I just don’t have the time.” Meetings, conference calls and projects called to me.  Priorities shifted. Well, not really.  I wanted to commit to regular learning. I had all good intentions.  But, my sense of obligation and responsibility to my colleagues at work trumped my obligations to myself.
This new place that I find myself in has given me greater freedom to craft how I use my time each day.  I am so glad that I am able to carve out time for study and learning, reading and writing (like this blog), and to take part in the learning opportunities that come my way because I WANT TO, not because it is something required of me, imposed upon me, or without a sense of guilt in taking time away from other obligations and deadlines.
My intention for this Rosh Hashanah: let go of the self-imposed guilt I feel when I put aside some other project or task in order to spend some time doing something for me.
My intention for this Rosh Hashanah: take the time this year to learn, to study, to grow, to reconnect with Judaism, my beloved teachers and treasured colleagues.
Gail and Barry, thank you for helping me begin to set my own intentions for this new year, open the door to new learnings, new transformations and new journeys.
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