On March 31st, hundreds of Metro Detroiters gathered for a Jewish day of learning featuring sessions led by educators from all over Michigan, including DJJ staff and leaders.
If you missed it, check out the sessions DJJniks led:
Rabbi Alana's session:
Protesting Pharaoh, Questioning God: A Jewish Conversation About Resisting Authority
Since last November 8, more and more Americans, and Jews especially, are reflecting on what it means to actively oppose the new government. Our ancestors provide many examples of resisting oppression and challenging authority -- and the rabbis certainly have a few things to say on the topic. What happens when we bring their voices into conversation with those of modern Abrahams, Moses's, midwives, and with our own experiences?
Gabe and Lauren's session:
The Tax Foreclosure Crisis in Detroit: What is it and why should I care?
What's the deal with the tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit? Is it even still a crisis? Why should Jews care about this issue? In this session, participants will learn about the tax foreclosure crisis as it stands today and hear about both the problem of housing injustice in Detroit and the ways in which Detroiters can be helped to stay in their homes. The learning will be grounded in Jewish text and will explore what it means to house ourselves and our fellow Michiganders. Participants will gain an understanding of the scope of the problem of tax foreclosure, learn how it is unconstitutional, and discover the ways in which this is a Jewish issue.
Avodah v'Gashmiyut: Service of the Body Through the Ages
Many are familiar with the notion of “praying with your feet,” a phrase Rabbi A.J. Heschel used to describe his experience marching with MLK in Selma. But Heschel was not the first Jew to purport that worldly activity could be a valid expression of prayer! Early Hasidism, for example, uplifted the notion of avodah b’gashmiyut (embodied service) as a centerpiece of religious life -- but not without controversy! This session will explore texts pertaining to embodied Jewish practices through the ages - including ancient Jewish navel-gazing, Kabbalistic wandering meditations, and sensual Hasidic teachings about “coupling” with the Divine - with an eye towards how one might incorporate (pun intended!) these or similar practices into daily lives.
You can also read this article by Ben Falik, recapping some of the day's highlights.