At Derech HaLev, we are learning to be present to and for each other. We are learning about putting down our iPhones and raising our eyes and lifting our heart. We are a Jewish community inspired by our Judaism, not limited by her. We are an intimate community, with 2 geographical locations (the Mainline and Huntingdon Valley). We maintain and encourage significant aspirations – to teach our children a confidence, an integrity, a humility, an ability to express themselves, the ability to quiet down, and the ability to be a compassionate presence. We do this, as adults, by focusing upon the very same themes and lessons.
Judaism, Jewish values, stories and holy days, how do these pieces fit into our lives, and how do we integrate them into our 21st century, American identities? Is it possible to find/create a meaningful, wisdom-filled, Jewish learning experience within our busy lives? Within Derech HaLev, the Philadelphia area’s newest Jewish community, our intention is to do exactly this by asking and encouraging real and challenging questions. The Judaism which is our path is forward looking, insists on Presence, tzedakah, tikkun olam, and a deliberate consideration, what is holiness?
Judaism is also about ethics, and is about social justice – for everyone. Above all, it insists upon education, Talmud Torah, and kindness, in Hebrew, Hesed. In our new Jewish community, we will together live and develop a vibrant Judaism that is woven into all aspects of our lives.
Derech HaLev, as we translate it, a Path with Heart, captures our new community’s intention to place our hearts at the center, and the beauty and generosity of life will reveal itself. Derech, which means path, assists us to be aware that we are constructing our own paths. The teaching in Buddhism says: ‘You cannot travel the path until you have become the path.’ We have a choice, daily, moment by moment, to live with patience, to extend generosity and love, to be working on ourselves, (rather than pointing elsewhere). Choose life — what does it mean? Choosing a path with heart.