So, Come, Come, Lovers of Leaving,
Come across the threshold into living in the differences;
So, Come, Come: Let us build sacred, vibrant, fun,
deliciously organic, (g)locally-grown and sustainable communities
in the Caravan of LOVE!
These words from Provost Ibrahim Farajaje's opening sermon at Starr King's inaugural Symposium "Living in the Differences" captured the vision for our three-day "urban retreat" kicking off the 2012-2013 academic year.
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi Awarded Sacrae Theologiae Doctor
Symposium attracted over 500 registered participants. Students, grads, and members of the public, gathered for multi-religious worship and teaching sessions with SKSM faculty and honoree Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement and Professor Emeritus at Temple and Naropa universities.
First Unitarian Church of Oakland hosted the sold-out closing ceremony where Reb Zalman was awarded the Sacrae Theologiae Doctor. At the ceremony President Rebecca Parker asked of Reb Zalman "Starr King confers the Master of Divinity; has anyone ever mastered Divinity?" to which the Rabbi replied "Some have mastered the service of divinity."
Unique Learning Experiences: Chavruta and Theater of the Oppressed
Students engaged in Chavruta from the Jewish Rabbinic tradition of studying and discussing texts in small groups. These faculty-led sessions examined prophetic writings of Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi and Audre Lorde. Students were also treated to Adjunct faculty instructor Jiwon Chung's lively session of exercises using theater as a vehicle for personal and social change.
Reb Zalman and his spouse Rebbitzen Eve surprised participants one evening with an unplanned visit where the Rabbi's 88th Birthday was celebrated with a kosher birthday cake and a Rebbe's Tisch [Rabbi's table], a sharing of songs, stories and profound teachings.
"As I start this new chapter in my life, my mind continues to drift back to the teachings by Rabbi Zalman that resonated within me with such force and transformed me into a different person. His teaching on humanity's need to transcend religious conflicts and aggressions arising from the 'reptile brain' was a profound moment."
~ First-year M.Div., Ahmed Hassanein
"I found it profoundly musical. People sang and danced while the [microphone] problem was getting found and fixed. I whispered to the person next to me that I wasn't looking forward to the microphones working because I didn't want the music to stop. But, even after, their hearts seemed to keep on singing; the music did not stop."
~ Second-year M.A.S.C., Hassaun Ali Jones-Bey
"Starr King provided a pluralistic, liberal religious and celebratory container for a sacred meeting between serious practitioners of Renewal Judaism, Sufism, Unitarian Universalism, progressive Islam and other religious traditions. Each was able to pay homage to the other, but also to pray, learn, dance and sing together across the lines that traditionally divide one practice from another."
~ Symposium Event Planner, Instructor, Administrator, Noach Dzmura