It’s harvest time! The evidence? Two big blossoms: 1) launching our own fulltime preschool program in the fall, 2) a course in Kabbalah at CBE this summer. Both bold ventures are reminders that seeds planted years ago, do, with courage, persistence, and faithfulness to our core values, do come to fruition eventually.
The earliest designs for a synagogue at the base of Bergen Peak included classrooms and a playground-area equipped to also house a Beth Evergreen preschool. As it turned out, another preschool that was forming around the same time needed a home, and our partnership with the Rocky Mt. Academy of Evergreen Preschool was born. The RMAE Preschool, as a tenant, has been filling our classrooms, halls and playground with the daily laughter and learning of small children since our beautiful CBE building opened its doors in 2003.
Fourteen years later, we are proud to announce The Learning Center (TLC) Preschool of Evergreen, opening this fall, registering new and prospective students NOW. We are excitedly putting together an inclusive program for devoted to fostering a love of learning that engages the whole child, and their whole family. As with our congregation-wide studies, the preschool curriculum will center around ten core measurable qualities of character that manifest love: Curiosity, Respect, Gratitude, Humility-and-Pride, Persistence, Courage, Joy-and-Sadness, Compassion, Generosity, and Being True, faithful. These CORE VIRTUES will be explored and tapped through three essential questions: “Who am I?” “Where am I?” and “When am I?” Such questioning sparks lifelong learning. And such virtues train us all to become conscientious citizens and leaders that can transform our world for the better.
With such sacred lines of inquiry pursuing paths of positive transformation, it’s never too soon, or too late, to start.
Since I came to CBE in 2005, I have received many requests to teach kabbalah. Most times, I hemmed and stalled, mumbling about not being qualified or citing a tradition that the teaching such Mysteries ought to be one-on-one rather than in a group. Occasionally, I’d offer a one-session “Kabbalah 101,” or we’d bring in a teacher, like Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, or Dr. David Sanders. Still, the requests kept coming in and I ran out of excuses. So, for the last five years, I have been learning and teaching with David Sanders at The Kabbalah Experience in Denver.
The first-year Kabbalah curriculum revolves around three essential questions: 1) WHO AM I? 2) WHERE AM I? and 3) WHEN AM I? Through the lens of this ancient wisdom, these seemingly simple questions become gateways to new worlds and ways of engaging them with wonder. “Who am I?” instigates an exploration of our essence, “soul,” and other unseen realities. “Where am I?” explores definitions of home, and turns to the Tree of Life as a GPS-of-sorts for mapping the on-going process of creation/manifestation, the journey of the soul, and the attributes of the Divine, such as those ten core virtues.
And “When am I?” When, indeed, will we make the time to ask and explore these foundational questions about life – the intersection of consciousness (who), space (where) and time (when). “If not now, when!” proclaimed the great sage, Hillel. I’m glad you asked!
This summer, starting Tuesday, May 30 (and/or Wednesday May 31), on the eve of Shavuot [A ‘Feast of Weeks’ commemorating the ‘first fruits’ of the earth and of spiritual wisdom, a favorite holiday of mountain kabbalists], we’ll be launching a weekly 8-session series on Kabbalah. Go to the CBE website to learn more, and link to www.kabbalahexperience.com to sign up for the series entitled “Soul” at Beth Evergreen at a discounted rate. Invite your friends. And help us spread the word about all the happy harvesting happing here.
At any age, we can re-enroll in Pre-K, kindergarten or kabbalah, asking those same essential questions and opening gateways to gardens of paradise by fostering curiosity and wonder at the harvest that comes when soul, space and time intersect.
Rabbi Jamie Arnold