Why the name "Holy Sparks!"? Why not minyan, community, congregation, or chavurah?
We are not "business as usual." We are not doing "synagogue lite." We are more...
We are more open, more casual. Our goal is to leave our gatherings feeling more inspired and re-sparked than when we arrived! We are a community exploring how to activate the Holy Sparks! of Divinity we have been created to become.
The philosopher Martin Buber wrote, “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, G!d is the electricity that surges between them.” We are those holy sparks! We are the electricity that happens between people connecting in deep and meaningful ways, with kindness and compassion, and the holiness and sparking that can happen when fully engaging from the heart and soul when living fully authentically, connected to our Divine Source.
As author Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, we understand that life is made of Big Magic moments. Being Holy Sparks! is part of catching the flame of creative spirituality beyond fear and boundaries.
Holy Sparks! is built on the idea that we can, and even must, "act as if" we are l'vavniks, becoming holy through small, hidden, sometimes very ordinary acts of kindness. This is the Holy Spark! of Divinity we each carry within our souls.
What if I don't believe in G!d?
The first thing we can tell you with certainty is that the G!d you don’t believe in, we don’t believe in either. Many people think Judaism and other kinds of religion or spirituality are off limits if the G!d thing is “not for me.” So let’s talk about that for a minute…
We think “believing in G!d” and having a meaningful spiritual connection are two different things. Take love, for example. If you had to “believe in” or completely understand love before loving anyone, wouldn’t that be terribly complicated? Or, for those of us who are not electrical engineers, if you had to fully understand electricity before plugging in your phone to recharge it, would it ever get recharged?
Rather than asking, “Do I believe in G!d?” perhaps a better question to ask yourself is, “Do I want to be a better person, and will making a spiritual connection possibly help me do that?” If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place.
Is this a Jewish thing? What if I'm not Jewish? What if my boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/aunt/spouse isn't Jewish?
Holy Sparks! is not just a Jewish thing. We choose to not get hung up on who is and is not Jewish. If you are Jewish, Jew-ish, Jew-friendly, or Jew-curious, you’ve come to the right place.
Will you make a spiritual connection or a people connection here? Come and find out!
What if I'm not really the praying type?
Some of us aren’t “the praying type” either. Some people don’t like praying at all.
Get to know us. Being in the room is the first step towards being a part of the community, and being part of the community is the biggest part of making a G!d connection.
Merle Feld, author of A Spiritual Life, writes that, “A prayer is the articulation of something very particular at the core of one’s being, flung out into the universe. Perhaps it finds a mark, perhaps not. The essential thing is the articulation and the flinging.”
So come. Articulate. Fling. Let’s start the conversation about what prayer is, what spirituality is, what G!d might be, who we might become. Let's engage in the discussion. There are no absolute right answers, and no wrong questions! There will be no quiz and no grades, and you don't have to share if you'd rather not.
If you want to find out more about praying, making a connection, thinking about this notion of G!d, or about being the Holy Spark! of Divinity you were created to become, talk to our Rabbi. Those kinds of questions really make her day!
In fact, Rabbi Morgan’s passion is helping people of all backgrounds and interests enhance their lives with a contemporary approach to spirituality. She is a Modern Rabbi, serving individuals rather than a synagogue, as a Community Rabbi. That means everyone, not just Jews.
Holy Sparks! is part of a vibrant, interconnected future! Come and be part of it!
What's the catch?
There is no catch, but we do have a few requests:
During our service, please turn off your phones. We have it on good authority that G!d rarely tweets or instagrams. Also, no pictures, please.
This is not the place to debate the Holocaust, Israel, or to argue against or have a hateful attitude towards others.
We gather in peace, love, and our common humanity, and if you're okay with that, we're okay with you.
Why do I keep seeing "G!d"? Why the exclamation mark? Is this some Aboriginal language you are using?
It is a common Jewish custom to write the English word “God” as G‑d or even L‑rd, replacing vowels with a hyphen, “-.” This is done out of a sense of respect for an unpronounceable name, and the command not to take G!d's name in vain.
It is also an acknowledgement that the English word “God” has been trivialized in our society, even being reduced to an oft-used acronym of “OMG.” We even hear people say, “Oh Em Gee;” so, it has been further reduced to three meaningless syllables.
For us, the G!d who can be reduced to an acronym is not on the same level as the notion of G!d who urges us to become our best selves.
So we write the word with an exclamation mark in the center, as “G!d.”
To us, using a hyphen in the center of the word detracts from G!d, like a math symbol for minus or negative. G!d is not a minus or a negative.
So the exclamation mark in the center indicates a notion of G!d, not as a noun, but as an active verb filled with pregnant potential, a process indicating movement and change, both finite and infinite. Even in math, the exclamation symbol is an expression of factorials, not a negative. A factorial moves the numeral beyond a static digit.
Therefore, an exclamation mark more adequately expresses this concept, as well as conveying a sense of awe, reverence, and even exuberance for life.
Afterall, who doesn't get excited when we see exclamation marks at the end of a sentence?! See?!
And a note about the pronunciation... We still pronounce G!d the same way those who write “God” or even “G-d” pronounce it. The exclamation mark serves as a visual reminder that this notion of G!d can be exciting, going beyond a static, small, one-size-fits-all, limited-to-three-letters idea.
What do you mean by spiritual and spirituality?
Spirituality is experienced differently by individual people. These are some words that we associate with spirituality:
• meaningful • purposeful • awareness • values • experience of awe • healing • soul • love • alive • integrity • G!d • Divine • energy • depth • interconnected • lifeforce • clarity • journey • discernment • sacred • mysterious • the unknown • potential • mindful • presence • open-hearted • transformation • unfolding • joyful •
A spiritual experience can be down-to-earth, and it can be mysterious; a moment of awe or transcendence, as well as an engaging discussion between people.
Spiritual practice, on the other hand, is more intentional, with the purpose of cultivating heart/mind/awareness states, and bringing the inner life and the outside world into greater alignment, to blur the distinction between the inner and the outer, the Self and the Other.
Spiritual practice is not only meditation, mindfulness, and prayer. There are as many spiritual practices as there are people to imagine them. Let's explore and discuss them together!