Thank You For Supporting Torah Of Awakening Bay Area!
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Torah of Awakening Bay Area FAQ
Why are we asking for donations when we already have membership dues?
Torah of Awakening is an international spiritual practice community, dedicated to actualizing our spiritual potential for joy, inner freedom and realization of the Divine. Based on the transformational, Jewish-based teachings and music of Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks, Torah of Awakening seeks to help participants live awakened lives through live-streamed practice groups, online courses and live events.
Torah of Awakening Bay Areaemerged from Brian's roots in the Bay Area and the number of TOA members located there. In addition to all of the live-streamed and online features of TOA membership, TOA Bay Area members can participate in live events including musical Shabbat and High Holy Day services with his band BRIAH, Iyún Ayin Jewish Meditation gatherings and retreats, as well ashouse gatherings and collaborative events with other Bay Area Jewish communities.
At this time, Torah of Awakening membership dues support the weekly meditation livestreams and live gatherings in Berkeley and Tucson. Part of what makes this work financially is that the live meditation gatherings are co-sponsored by synagogues (Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley and Congregation Bet Shalom in Tucson), so there is no need for space rental. In addition, Brian Yosef leads these solo, so there is minimal staff expense.
Membership dues also support Brian to lead regular musical Shabbat services in the Bay, offered free to Torah of Awakening members. However, it is not yet possible for membership dues to support the extra expenses of these events (space rental, musicians and event staff, etc.)
Barukh Hashem, up to this point, our Shabliss services have been made possible through the extra support of many Bay Area members, with huge gratitude to the extremely generous donations of our major supporters: Abro & Aliza Sutker, Barry Skeist, Carolyn Cavalier-Rosenberg, Dennis Randall, Helena Foster, John Gilman, Mark Lempert, and Mona Bernstein.
Over the coming years, we will be working hard both to grow Bay Area membership as well as create new Bay Area programming that will support the extra expense of Shabliss, reducing the need for extra fundraising. You can help us reach this goal by investing now in Torah of Awakening Bay Area Shabliss services to keep our programming strong as we grow. Together we will become more and more sustainable through membership growth and new programs, b'ezrat Hashem!
The origins of this this community began with the musical Shabbat gatherings of friends in the late 1990s. In 1999, Brian was asked by Dr. Avram Davis, founder of Jewish Meditation center Chochmat HaLev (CHL), to bring his band to CHL and help create a musical service there. Over the years, a community grew around those celebratory musical services.
In 2006, Avram asked Brian to take over his Monday night meditation group. Brian began calling those Monday night gatherings Torah of Awakening, and soon after created the Torah of Awakening website and began posting Jewish teachings on the awakening process. In 2015, Reb Brian began teaching courses online. In 2016, he founded the Torah of Awakening online community, through which members could access weekly teachings, videos, and audio recordings. Later that year, Reb Brian moved to Tucson, Arizona with his family. However, with the help and support of the meditation and Shabbat community that grew over the years, Reb Brian continued to commute regularly back to the Bay Area to lead Shabbat services and meditation workshops at different venues.
In 2017, Brian began collaborating with Dr. Laura Rifkin, who brought a rich background of organizational development, facilitation, directing, teaching skills, and a PhD in Integral Studies. Laura was drawn to Torah of Awakening and soon became the founding director of ToA Bay Area. Together, Brian and Laura established the first High Holidays with Torah of Awakening and Urban Adamah. In Tucson, Reb Brian began regular weekly meditation gatherings at Congregation Bet Shalom, which are livestreamed to Torah of Awakening members internationally. In 2018, the weekly meditation gatherings found a new Bay Area home at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.
Torah of Awakening Bay Areahas continued to grow as a contemplative and ecstatic practice community for Jewish spirituality. From 2017 – 2019, ToA Bay Area accomplishments include: the release of an original Shabbat music CD with BRIAH, numerous Shabbat and Havdallah community gatherings, three years of High Holidays on the Farm with Urban Adamah, a year-long adult cohort meditation program, a Bay Area B’nai Mitzvah program, the development of "Shabbat in the House" gatherings, and the launch of Iyún Ayin meditation gatherings at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.
Torah of Awakening is sustained almost completely by membership, courses, retreats and High Holidays. The exception is our Shabliss musical service, for which we need extra support while we grow in membership and programming. With your help, we will keep Shabliss strong as we build Torah of Awakening Bay Area over the next five years and become fully sustainable by 2024!
Help up reach our goal of becoming fully sustainable by 2024 – contribute today! Scroll back to the top to invest in this community!