Count your Blessings


By Elyssa Moss Rabinowitz, Co-Founder of Kol HaOt and Founder of the Zer Mitzvot experience for Bat Mitzvah girls and their parents. With the help of an ROI Micro Grant, Elyssa attended ROI's 2012 Facilitation Intensive in Maryland. Inspired by an FI session on the blessings of sight, Elyssa wrote a blog about her FI experience.

During mid-October I was lucky to be a part of ROI’s Facilitation Intensive Course, thanks to a generous ROI Micro Grant. One morning, we began the day with a text study of the blessings of sight.   

Thinking about it during that day and beyond, I realized that, for me, much of what was going on at the Facilitation Intensive was all about blessing.   

I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity to take a week out of my busy life and dedicate it to professional development. And that it was. I used the tips I got from my peers in my practicum as I opened up the first class of the Bat Mitzvah course I teach the following week. Within two weeks of coming home, I incorporated some of the specific icebreakers, ground rules and modalities that we had learned during Kol HaOt workshops I facilitated. I used the skills acquired at the “Business of Facilitation” in my negotiations with a new client, as I was busy reading a book mentioned in the course- “Women Don’t Ask.”

ברוך אתה ה', אלוהינו מלך העולם... שגמלני כל טוב

But beyond the blessing of being able to develop my own skills and sharpen my professional presence, I experienced the blessing of giving and receiving. Being a part of the special group that formed there made me recognize, as we do when we say a blessing, the immeasurable gift supportive peers and mentors can provide.

Yoni Gordis and Rae Ringel, who facilitated the course, gave immensely of their skills and  knowledge, but also of their hearts and souls. Through their generous openness, honesty, and very patient answers to endless questions, they were able to become true role models and inspirations.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁחָלַק מֵחָכְמָתוֹ לִירֵאָיו

My peers, the other participants in the Facilitation Intensive, while from very diverse  backgrounds, each came with their own worlds of real-life experience and professional expertise in hands-on work in the Jewish world. Beyond the sheer inspiration of it all, they were generous with their tachlis tips, ideas and suggestions as well as truly warm and constructive criticism. I felt in them a true support network and can already tell that the relationships created during the FI will continue to grow as we move forward. 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, חָכָם הָרָזִים

The many hours dedicated to practicums were built in opportunities to allow each person to really face head on and work on improving something s/he struggles with. While this was intimidating and stressful it was definitely a blessing in disguise. 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם... עשה שָׁלום וּבורֵא אֶת הַכּל

What a blessing to be in a beautiful North American fall setting, where we could walk in nature every morning, eat plentiful,delicious healthy food and sleep well after long exhausting days. 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בּוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבִים לְהַנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם

I am so thankful to ROI for organizing this opportunity, and making it possible for me to be a  part of it. So much of what we do in the Jewish world revolves around facilitation and design of gatherings, and yet most of us just need to improvise and learn it on the job and through experience. To have the opportunity to give it kavana, and be thoughtful, purposeful and planful about it, while learning from the stars, is a true blessing.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה

I look forward to having a warm supportive peer group of new friends and colleagues going forward. I am excited and energized to continue to share and apply what I’ve learned in my work and in my life. I am thankful for being blessed.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם הַטּוב וְהַמֵּטִיב