We Take Care of Our Bodies, Our Teeth, and Our Cars. What About a Spiritual Check-Up?
“Ayeka” or “Where are you?” is the first question in the Torah when God speaks to Adam. It’s a question that Rabbi Aryeh Ben David takes very seriously. So much so that he left a secure teaching position at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem to create a new program to “bring God back into the conversation.”
Communities across the United States have enthusiastically embraced Ayeka. Boulder is one of the pioneers and a recent recipient of grant funding from 18 Pomegranates and the Rose Community Foundation to start local Ayeka groups.
Ayeka was created to enable us – Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations – to discover, explore, and deepen our own unique relationship with God. The goal of this discovery is to allow our relationship with God to enhance our lives, and to bring out the best in ourselves and in all our personal relationships.
As Rabbi Ben David describes it, “What we do is use Jewish wisdom as a springboard for a person to check in with themselves and see how they can take the next step in their personal journey. Each person decides when and what; there is no preaching or advice. We go to all denominations. We use the mind to touch people’s heart and to bring it into their lives.”
Ayeka is designed to promote personal, spiritual growth. The program’s innovative learning method engages the mind, the heart, and the body through the learning of Jewish texts, honest conversation, and experiential exercises. Jewish texts are a jumping-off point for a series of small-group and one-on-one discussions. The goal is enable adults to connect deeply with and to be transformed by what they learn.
We create a safe setting with kindred spirits, and something very magical happens. I’ve done this with 20,000 people, and always something magical happens — people make friends; couples tell me they’ve had the best conversations they’ve had in five years or 15 years.” Rabbi Ben David says the program “always start(s) with text, Jewish wisdom, because we have a lot of wisdom. But the goal is not to say something smart. The goal is to figure out how this wisdom can affect my life and make me a better person. Because I’m not a bad person, but I can always be better.”
Rabbi Ben David will be in Boulder on Sunday March 14th and will offer a “Taste of Ayeka” for the Jewish community at 7pm at a private home. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for directions.
For more information about Ayeka, please visit the website at http://ayeka.org.il. Facilitator training will take place at the Boulder JCC on Sunday, March 14th and Monday, March 15th. If you are interested in training to become a facilitator, please contact Patricia Lackner, Ayeka’s Colorado Director, at email@example.com.