Why I love Lab/Shul?
I attended In(ter)dependence, Lab/Shul’s event marking Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, cohosted by The New Shul, BeingWith, and Intersections International, because it sounded exciting, engaging, and educational. I’ve taken many deep dives into Israel, but the interactive learning and the art (and artists) which powered the event were particularly appealing. But I was reminded of why I choose Lab/Shul time and again when, as we were wrapping up, one of the artists suddenly asked: “Can we finish with Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem?”
Many community leaders would have simply agreed. But Rabbi Amichai turned the request into a teachable moment. He responded: “Yes of course, and… can we replace the lyric ‘Nefesh Yehudi’ – soul of Jews, with ‘Nefesh Adam’ – the soul of humanity?” He went on to explain his proposal, that “with upwards of 25% of Israeli citizens not being Jewish,” this broadening of the anthem is an important ideal for the Lab/Shul community. After obtaining agreement from the community, a moving rendition of Hatikvah ensued.
I’m grateful to Lab/shul for embodying the struggle inherent in the very word Israel – wrestlers – and this encounter with Hatikvah was just one example of many of this journey.
– Sheridan Gayer, Educational Consultant