Special Letter from The Aquarian Minyan

A Special Letter from The Aquarian Minyan

Dear Aquarian Minyan Supporter,

We're writing with wonderful news for the Minyan. At the High Holy Days this year, many of us had profoundly inspiring experiences. We were galvanized by the deep spirituality and intense creativity of our Guest Rabbi, Diane Elliot. We felt a strong affinity for her spirituality, and began thinking about the idea of a longer-term affiliation. During the High Holy Days planning period and in subsequent discussions, many of us were very impressed with Diane herself: her openness, her commitment to collaborative leadership, her spiritual integrity and her wisdom.

In response to these feelings, the Minyan Council issued an invitation for members to join a task force that would explore an ongoing relationship with Rabbi Diane. The task force reached a consensus to offer her an eight-month Rabbinic Fellowship that would go through October 2007 and including the High Holy Days. The proposal also includes leading a service every month, two shabbatons, and a number of classes and Third Meal teachings. It could be renewed if the community and Rabbi Diane agree.

This proposal was presented at our Annual Community Meeting in December. The main questions focused on raising the needed funds. We have pledged that no offer will be made until the funds have been raised. To address that, the Task Force decided to start soliciting pledges immediately from among themselves before asking the rest of the community or outside donors. As of this writing, the members and friends of the Task Force have pledged $10,500. We need to raise a total of $27,000 to fund the Fellowship and meet the Minyan's expenses for the rest of the year. We are now turning to Minyan members and friends to raise the remaining $16,500. We are very optimistic because of the success we have already encountered.

We believe that Rabbi Diane is the right person to work with the Minyan community. Her friendship with Rabbi David Wolfe-Blank at Eitz Or in Seattle inspired her own spiritual journey to the rabbinate. Her long experience as a member of many collaborative communities as a dancer, choreographer, and body/mind centering therapist, and her obvious clarity regarding boundaries and process, make her an unusually appropriate fit for the Minyan. We expect that Rabbi Diane and the Minyan will have a mutually beneficial relationship.

One of the most encouraging things in this regard is that we have had full and frank discussions of the Minyan's past challenges in working with rabbinic leadership. Diane is well aware of our history, and we are all proceeding with eyes wide open to craft the best possible working relationship.

We would like our members and friends to have the opportunity to meet Rabbi Diane, hear her talk about her vision of the Minyan and her understanding of community, and decide for themselves. We have scheduled an event with Rabbi Diane for Saturday, January 27, at 4:00 PM. Rabbi Diane will speak and offer Havdalah, and everyone will have the opportunity to talk with her and share a potluck meal. We hope you'll come!

A pledge card has been mailed, and you will soon receive a phone call from a member asking you to pledge. You can mail your pledge or check to The Aquarian Minyan, P.O. Box 7224, Berkeley, CA 94707. You can also pledge or donate through our website, www.aquarianminyan.org. Should you wish to discuss this matter further, there are several phone numbers of Task Force and Council members below, and you are invited to call any of them, with your questions or comments.

In community,

Council members:
Don Adams, Fran Avni, Barry Barkan, Frank Born (415 647 6118), Stephanie Brown, Neil Cronin, Shoshana Dembitz (510 848 1343), Abigail Grafton ( 510 843 3131)

Task Force members:
Barry and Debby Barkan, Jake Birnberg, Frank Born, Neal Cronin, Shoshana Dembitz, Lynn Feinerman, Miriam Chaya Fields (510 525 4020), Abigail Grafton, Eryn Kalish (415 488 4695), Ariel Lenchner, Miriam Stampfer, Janet Tobacman