Summer                                                                 Monsoon Moon

Alan, during the enso drawing presentation for kabbalah

Alan, during the enso drawing presentation for kabbalah

Riding in the future. Carpooled into Denver yesterday with Alan, in his Tesla Model S. It’s very wide display screen shows a map with your route laid out. It also shows buttons for radio, podcasts, particular stations. Alan asked me who my favorite musician was. John Coltrane. He spoke, “Play John Coltrane.” And 2 seconds later, John Coltrane filled the comfortable interior. It’s quiet and smooth, has a transparent, though tinted roof.

He demoed autopilot which kept a safe following distance between us and the car in front of us, slowing as they slowed, Alan’s feet comfortably away from the pedals. Going down the Front Range toward Denver the power consumption dial had a small green band that pulsed up and down. “Regenerative braking.” I asked Alan if the power he gained going downhill compensated for what he used going back up? No. The Tesla updates the range moment by moment. “I gain 5 miles of range going down, but lose 20 miles of range going up.”

We went into Congregation Rodef Shalom for a day of training in the B’nai Mitzvah curriculum. It focuses on the social and emotional development of students in the 11-13 year old age range, the range most common for bar and bat mitzvahs. As with all of the Jewish learning I’m doing these days, the curve is still very steep. This curriculum, for example, is apparently a radical break from the old style religious school model for b’nai mitzvah ages, but I have no idea what the old style looked like. This is 100% of my experience.

A print at Rodef Shalom

A print at Rodef Shalom

Rodef Shalom is a long, low building situated next to the Mizel Museum. It looks most like a fifty’s elementary school. Southeast Denver, Rodef’s location, is the heart of the Denver metro’s Jewish community, containing many synagogues, including several Orthodox synagogues where congregants have to live close to walk to the Temple on Shabbat. Alan grew up Orthodox in Southeast Denver.

There were 20 trainees including four of us from Beth Evergreen. Temple Sinai, Rodef Shalom, Judaism Our Way, and the Aspen Jewish congregation were also represented. We did example exercises from the curriculum. For example. A facilitator from Moving Traditions put up two large sheets of paper: Agree and Disagree on opposite ends of a wall. When answering questions like at age 12 0r 13 did you experience pressure to do well, we positioned ourselves either on one end or another, or in the middle according to our response.

This regular napper, around noon or 1 p.m. everyday, got seriously sleepy around 1, but struggled through it. I enjoyed meeting new people and learning more about Jewish culture. The religious school year starts on September 5th at Beth Evergreen.


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