If you dream it

History Nights pb web“I am asleep but my heart is awake.” This verse from the Song of Songs is the message of the Hebrew month of Kislev (Chanukah begins on the 25th of Kislev falling this year on December 8).


In the earliest text of Kabbalah, Sefer Yetzirah, each month of the year is designated to a particular energy—the month of Kislev’s energy is that of “sleep.” Some interpret this to mean that Kislev is a month to connect with relaxation—to develop our stillness as symbolized by the flame that burns silently. Others interpret it to mean that Kislev is a month in which we deepen our relationship with soul by paying attention to and realizing the messages of our dreams.


I first caught sight of Rodger Kamenetz—meaning that I first became aware of him in the mid- 1990’s with the publication of his book, “The Jew in the Lotus.” I knew many of the Rabbis who he travelled with to have an encounter with the Dalai Lama—I had no knowledge of who Rodger was and why he accompanied them to become the chronicler of this historic meeting of Buddhist and Jewish leaders in Dharamsala.


When Kabbalah Experience moved in 2010 to our present location we decided to dedicate our new space and invited Reb Zalman to bless our learning. I had met Reb Zalman almost 30 years ago when I was a graduate student in Philadelphia. Years later we would find ourselves as neighbors again–Reb Zalman residing in Boulder and me having moved to Denver. Reb Zalman was one of the Rabbis who went to meet with the Dalai Lama and it was his task to explain Kabbalah to the Dalai Lama. As part of our dedication we purchased the documentary film by the same name as the book: The Jew in the Lotus, expecting it to chronicle, much as the book, the dialogue between the Dalai Lama and an eclectic group of Rabbis.


Instead, the film is about Rodger Kamenetz (with the meeting in Dharamsala the backdrop) and his personal spiritual journey. It is he, Rodger, who is the Jew in the Lotus, a pun on the Jewel in the Lotus that he humorously translates for the Dalai Lama.


Flash forward to this month of Kislev—the month of dreams awakened. Rodger Kamenetz has agreed to be the featured speaker for Kabbalah Experience’s first fundraising event next year– Thursday April 11th, 2013.


While the Jew in the Lotus was backdrop for approaching him to present to us—what fascinates me about Rodger, distinguished Professor Emeritus of English from Louisiana State University—is his relentless and probing self examination. The vehicle that has become his passion in his spiritual pursuit is the dream and in particular the child (children) who appears in dreams.


Rodger is much like us all. Ordinary. He is though distinguished by his willingness to be vulnerable by sharing himself in the process of his own and others’ discovery of soul.


So mark your calendars for an encounter with Dr. Rodger Kamenetz. It’s a direct flight from Baton Rouge to Denver. On the wings of a dream.



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