We had two wonderful programs with Gail Greenfield of Jacksonville, FL, formerly of Albany, GA, as well as one with her husband, Stanley, who spoke on Friday night on the joy of volunteering on an Israeli Army base.
Gail Greenfield’s Shalom Yoga
On Saturday morning, we had a Yoga group in the Music Room. On Shabbat morning, she moderated an exciting yoga studio event with Shalom Yoga. We had a dozen participants, who came decked out in their sweat pants and yoga tights. We went through much of the morning service with songs and instructions on a DVD, while we all did our best to follow along. I participated, as well, although I can’t say that it was easy. The program was suitable for all levels of athleticism, as well as all levels of spiritural discernment.
On Thursday night, Gail spoke on Jewish meditation at the Eastern Shore group hosted by Robin and Manny. Gail came to Jewish meditation as part of a spiritual search growing up in a traditional Jewish household, where they celebrated all of the holidays, but where there was little mention of God. She asked her Conservative Rabbi about God and he answered, “we don’t ask these type of questions.” Later she became interested in metaphysical knowledge and became involved with New Age interests. She began doing the Vipassana Meditation, which is a simple technique consisting of the experiential observation of mind and matter. Eventually, she became familiar with the long history of Jewish meditation. She spoke about this with great passion, weaving her personal history into the story.
On Friday night, her husband spoke and showed slides on their volunteer program on an Israeli Army Base. It was fascinating to see how the Israelis have developed programs to teach volunteers from all over the world what it’s like to serve in the Israeli Army and to allow them to participate in the effort. Some people were a bit shocked to see the rather spartan accommodations, but it was clear how meaningful the program could be and how you could come out of the experience with a much greater appreciation for the difficulties that Israelis live in. The tremendous sense of satisfaction is something that you can only get from such altruistic volunteering.
The evening also featured a Birthday Blessing for Mel Sternberg. The oneg was truly spectacular and everyone had a wonderful Shabbat experience.