P.O. Box 19666
Seattle, WA 98109
Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum
Kavana is an independent Jewish community in Seattle that has received a lot of national attention for its innovative approach to building Jewish community. Kavana strives to create a supportive communal environment in which individuals and families can use “kavana” — intention — to create a Jewish life that is spiritually fulfilling, intellectually satisfying, fun and meaningful. Most events and programs take place at Kavana’s headquarters in Queen Anne, but some programs happen in parks, community centers, and living rooms around town.
Here are some of the features that make Kavana unique:
• Cooperative model: As the first Jewish cooperative of its kind, partners share in the task of creating Jewish life for the group. Each partner commits to taking an active role, to being a “producer,” rather than just a “consumer,” of Jewish life.
• Non-denominational and pluralistic: Kavana draws participants from highly diverse backgrounds and allows for multiple entry points to Jewish involvement.
• Personalized Judaism in a community context: Kavana acknowledges and embraces the dynamic tension between an individual’s interest and needs, versus the desire to create community.
• Local: Kavana believes that Jewish communal life will best thrive in settings that are local, organic and intimate.
Examples of Kavana programming from 2011–2012 have included:
• Living Room Learning: Meets weekly to study the Torah portion and other texts.
• Book club and cultural programs: Thought-provoking and fun.
• Rebbe’s Tisch: Singing, l’chaims, and spirituality around a table.
• Jewish identity workshops: Taught by Kavana partners, themes include psychology and Jewish identity, facing the tough questions about Israel, and more.
Shabbat and Holidays:
• Shabbat morning minyan: Traditional (mostly Hebrew) service, with lots of spirit and singing (monthly).
• Coffee-shop Shabbat (a.k.a. Kabbalat with a Double-Shot): Short Friday night prayer service, followed by vegetarian potluck dinner in a local coffee shop (monthly).
• Shabbat in the park: Friendly Kabbalat Shabbat service and dinner in the great outdoors.
• Holiday celebrations: Hanukkah party with live music, Megillah reading for Purim, home hospitality seders, Tisha B’Av program (outdoors), High Holiday observances of all kinds.
• CSA (community supported agriculture, in partnership with a local organic farm): Get fresh fruits and veggies, and learn about the connections between agriculture and Judaism through farm visits and holiday parties.
• Home hospitality Shabbat and neighborhood potlucks: Dinner exchange program.
• Annual summer camping trip.
• Gan Kavana: This is Seattle’s only Hebrew-immersion preschool! Now offered five mornings/week, a supportive and nurturing environment for ages 2–5.
• Summer camp: Old-fashioned camp fun, in a Jewish context (for preschool and elementary school kids).
• Moadon Yeladim (Kids’ Club): Kavana’s after-school program for grades K–5 is energetic, arts-based, and features spoken Hebrew.
• Havdalah Club: Kids (aged 8–10) share dinner, a service to end Shabbat, and guided conversation about Jewish issues (from the serious to the silly).
• Middle school program: Creative weekly program with a history- and text-based curriculum for grades 6–8.
For kids and parents together:
• Family Shabbat: Monthly Saturday morning program exploring Jewish values through music and arts.
• Prep & Practice: Monthly Sunday morning program helps families prepare for Jewish holidays together.
• Family Hebrew: Parents and kids learn Hebrew together with other families in a group tutoring-type vibe.
For more information about Kavana’s programming, please visit the Kavana website.