By Nicole Hennessy
Rabbi Enid C. Lader’s workshop series at Lakewood Public Library will continue tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Main Auditorum.
Meant to serve as a reflection on life and individual values, despite her role as a rabbi, Lader’s workshops do not focus on religion.
“The roads upon which you’ve traveled are marked by steps still to be taken,” the events’ description reads.
Through poems and songs by artists as diverse as The Beatles, Mary Oliver and William Wordsworth, last Thurday, attendees considered each piece, considering how they speak to finding a more peaceful life, and eventually reflecting on their own lives, answering the following questions:
- What has impacted your life and helped you grow?
- What values have been evident?
- Have there been changes along the way?
- What has stayed the same?
A diverse group ranging from high school students to senior citizens of varying races and nationalities, the crowd sat quietly considering these questions.
A space encouraging of public discussion of these types of issues, Lader said, is rare, and that’s what she’s hoping to achieve with these sessions.
Openly, participants discussed about 10 pieces of music and poetry, reflecting on their inferences and where they were in their lives when they first confronted the material, particularly the song “Let It Be,” by the Beatles, one attendee commenting that he was surprised a rabbi would include a piece that mentioned “Mother Mary.”
Having served the Beth Israel–The West Temple congregation since August 2012, Lader has also been active in the Educational Director’s Network and has taught the West Side Taste of Judaism and Feast of Judaism classes for the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland for over 12 years.
A calm but spirited presence, these qualifications led her to host series like this in libraries and other community spaces, again, with the intent of inspiring a broad population to consider how well they live their lives on a daily basis.
Reading the Mary Oliver piece – about a grasshopper – Lader paused, repeating a line.
“She snaps her wings open, and floats away,” the short piece reads, an example she explained she used to convey the importance of observing small things, like what sound a grasshopper’s wings make, powers of observance that are often eclipsed by ever-present screens or city life.
Tomorrow’s workshop will focus on sharing values, for example, with future generations or friends and family, followed by the last of Lader’s Lakewood workshops on Thursday, May 15.
Both events are free and open to the public and begin at 7 p.m.
Choosing a famous piece by John Donne a bit before running out of time for the night Thursday, Lader read, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” exemplifying her thesis of togetherness as the crowd sat silently listening.