Chai Mitzvah Blog

Chai Mitzvah, a new life-cycle event, deepens Jewish engagement and builds community through 5 simple steps:

  1. Monthly learning with a set curriculum which Chai Mitzvah provides.
  2. Independent study - choose something you'd like to know a little bit more about
  3. Ritual/Spiritual practice - choose something you'd like to bring into your life, or deepen an existing practice.
  4. Social Action - choose some way you'd like to give back into the community.
  5. Celebrating the journey!  At the end of the nine-month experience, participants celebrate, share, acknowledge their participation....be creative!

May 2016 Diana Lando

By: Diana Lando

The winding pathway to my connection with Judaism was certainly not conventional but I believe happened for many important reasons as I continued my relationship with a faith and lifestyle that has served me well.

 I was born into a very kind and loving family in Salt Lake City. And yes, I was born into a large family network of Mormons. I was taken to Sunday School every week and no choice about participation ever occurred.Programs for youth and teens continued. I grew up with high expectations for school and personal accomplishments,as both of my parents were college professors in their lifetimes.  After High School, I attended and graduated from Brigham Young University.

But as many years progressed, I began "questioning" the beliefs of that faith. There were many "rules" that I felt I could not adhere to and subsequently began to pull away and ask myself why I should feel guilty about not following all the dictums and feeling "bad" about myself because I disagreed about a choice to live my personal life differently. 

April 2016 Rose and Alan Schoenfeld

By: Rose and Allan Schoenfeld

After moving to Brevard County almost six years ago, Allan and I joined Temple Israel.  Prior to moving here, we were members of a conservative synagogue in San Antonio and later in Jacksonville.  We weren't sure a reform temple would be a good fit but soon found out that we were entirely wrong.  We immediately felt at home at Temple Israel with such a wonderful spiritual leader and a warm, friendly, and caring congregation.

When given the opportunity to join a Chai Mitzvah Class, we jumped at the idea to learn something new and to broaden our knowledge of Judaism.  This month was our sixth out of nine Chai Mitzvah Classes.  This class focused on Passover and the need to not only find the time to prepare our homes but to also find time to prepare our hearts and minds.  We discussed the traditional Passover symbols, i.e., Pesach, Matzah, and Maror.  We also discussed introducing new Passover symbols and rituals into our own Seder - one being the Cup of Miriam which was interesting in the fact that you are honoring a woman who has helped or inspired you along your journey during the year.  As part of the class, I have been saying some morning prayers which helps get my day started in a positive way.  I am also researching Jewish History in Florida.  For social action, I am continuing to volunteer at Temple Israel and am also Secretary in the local Hadassah Chapter.

March 2016 Leslie and Harold Simmons

Chai Mitzvah Blog for March by Leslie and Harold Simmons

Yesterday, my wife Leslie and I attended the fifth of nine monthly sessions with our Chai Mitzvah class. This month focused on prayer as a way to “Mindfulness and Conscious Living” and helped our class of twenty focus on both fixed and spontaneous prayers as well as the meaning and purposes of Shabbat. We learned that prayer should be an intentional, two-way conversation between us and Adonai and that our obligations for the Sabbath are (a) to remember, (b) to observe, (c) to honor, and (d) to enjoy with delight. All these Chai Mitzvah sessions are helping us grow in both knowledge and the practice of Judaism. Rabbi Pat and Ray closed our session with the beautiful melodies of the Havdalah ceremony, and then we began this week with renewed inspiration and a delicious Oneg.

Chai Mitzvah Class

—January 23, 2016

The lights in the Social Hall are dimmed, and I am able to see a very pale pink sky out of the large windows. The day is coming to an end. On one of the tables, I see a lovely blue and white braided candle, and I hear the Rabbi softly chanting a lovely melody. I am about to experience my 4th Havdalah Service, signifying the end of Shabbot and the beginning of a new week. A spice box is passed around, and we are all encouraged to sniff the interesting scents emanating from it.

This concludes the 4th in a series of 9 classes, and I am left with feelings of both contentment and excitement.

February 2016 Carol Roberts

Chai Mitzvah Class—January 23, 2016

The lights in the Social Hall are dimmed, and I am able to see a very pale pink sky out of the large windows. The day is coming to an end. On one of the tables, I see a lovely blue and white braided candle, and I hear the Rabbi softly chanting a lovely melody. I am about to experience my 4th Havdalah Service, signifying the end of Shabbot and the beginning of a new week. A spice box is passed around, and we are all encouraged to sniff the interesting scents emanating from it.

This concludes the 4th in a series of 9 classes, and I am left with feelings of both contentment and excitement.