My daughters Aria and Kira have the wonderful opportunity to learn Mindfulness within the Cheltenham School System, at Elkins Park and Myers Elementary School. Cheltenham school leaders are trying to change the classroom culture through mindfulness instruction. The school system has employed our KI member and friend, Cindy Goldberg who is a former second-grade teacher who became interested in meditation to reduce stress in the classroom and school environment.
Like Cheltenham, hundreds of schools across the country have implemented some form of mindfulness training, seeking to use meditation as a way to help students’ better focus, reduce stress, and improve their classroom performance. If you would like to read more about the program, please go to https://www.philly.com/philly/education/brawl-cheltenham-schools-mindfulness-promote-good-behavior-20180209.html
When “Ms. Goldberg” comes into the classroom, Kira says, “My sister knows and loves you” and Ms. Goldberg tells Kira “your mommy is my cantor.” Kira comes home saying that she is related to Ms. Goldberg. I wonder how that is possible, though with all of her talents, I wish we were…but according to Kira, this is how we are related.
Ms. Goldberg has mommy as a Cantor, and she is a part of KI, Ki is our family, therefore, we are all related.
We may feel we are related to people who are not part of our “given” family. We sometimes “choose” who we feel we are related to. This feeling of being in a family circle beyond our given family can be quite powerful.
Prayer, meditation, and mindfulness can open doors to connecting with our friends in a way that is more like family. We may be more open to holding hands, putting our arms around each other, sharing our opinions, and being there for each other when we know we are related, we are part of a family. Whether it is at Shabbat worship, Torah study, or a Committee meeting, I invite you to feel a part of our KI family circle, our “mindful mishpacha” (family in Hebrew).
We also invite you to take part in our first ever KI sponsored Wellness Day at the Families Forward Shelter in West Philadelphia on Sunday, March 31, between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Families Forward Shelter, located at 111 N 49th St, Philadelphia, is the city’s largest emergency shelter for families, and one of the few that keep families together by accepting men and teen boys. The Shelter provides comfort, support, and hope as the residents navigate their way back home.
No matter where we are, when someone can break down the walls and bring more peace to our hearts, we have an opening towards becoming “related,” becoming a family. I hope and pray that KI is that place for all of you.
Cantor Amy E. Levy