By: Sabrina Spector, Cultural Director
I find it harder and harder each day to balance all of the numerous obligations and tasks I have on my plate. Mother, wife, full time employee, volunteer, friend, and just being part of the human race. When I look at all of my peers, we all seem to be in the same boat and have come to terms that this crazy lifestyle is just the norm.
We all seem to make sacrifices in order to keep moving, but one that seems to fall to the wayside frequently is personal care and growth. Last spring, I was blown away when another young mother came to the community Shark Tank event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and so passionately spoke about her desire to have a night of community learning. She was so energetic; it was absolutely contagious. And she was not the only one who was requesting a night like this.
Many years ago, long before my arrival in town which is now almost 11 years ago, the community hosted the Cultural Shuk. A night of incredible learning for all ages and backgrounds, the event drew about 800 – 900 people every year for nearly 13 years. I was told it was a sight to be seen and an incredible feeling of unity in our diverse community.
Almost 20 years later, a new group of up and coming community leaders were interested in a resurgence of the Culture Shuk but with more hands on classes and topics that speak to the concerns and needs of people. I think what really impresses me is the number of people from across the community that want to teach and engage others. We got so many requests to be involved, it was totally invigorating.
As a busy person, having a chance to feed my body and soul in a one shot deal is very appealing. Would l like the time to be at classes all the time, to workout, or practice mindfulness? SURE! But the reality is, I’ll take what I can squeeze in when I can. I am so grateful that a slew of young people came forward and said we need to feed our souls and put it all together in one night of incredible inspiration. This opportunity to feed my soul and mind It is being served to me on a silver platter at The Forum, taking place at the J on Saturday, February 25.
There are so many ways to spend the evening, I’m not sure where I would begin. I might start off with a Jewba workout class, followed by some Judaism and Meditation, topped off with a Beer and Chocolate Tasting. Exercise, quiet time, and chocolate – that’s some real “me” time. My husband might enjoy the Jewish Poetry and Open Mic, followed by the Extreme Sports for Nice Jewish Guys and then we would meet up for the Beer and Chocolate class. He drinks the beer, I eat the chocolate. Couples might enjoy Sex in the Jewish Text, the Mikvah Mystique, and The Jewish Approach to Parenting. Love Israel? So many choices on what to learn from Zionism in the 21st Century to Israeli Dancing, Talmud and so much more.
This has been one of the most rewarding endeavors I have worked on in this community. It truly warms my heart to see people of all ages coming together to engage in learning in some capacity. Learning and teaching is part of the Jewish DNA and the fact that we have such a team working to bring this program to life just proves that we are a people that pass our values and heritage on from one generation to the next. No matter what your religious affiliation, age, interests, or background, there is a natural draw for us to want to get together to engage, enlighten, and inspire.
Sometimes we are all so busy running in circles, we don’t take a moment to slow down for ourselves. We plan on registering but forget or wait for the last minute because we don’t know if we’ll be tired or have a babysitter. We are good at making excuses for not being good to ourselves. Don’t make any excuses this time, you won’t regret it.