Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Hava Nashira Workshop-A Real Success Story

Wow! The annual Hava Nashira songleading workshop has become so popular, that the desirable semi-private housing was gone with just mail postmarked on earliest possible day after applications were available. Even though yours truly was caught in this snare, having had his application mailed and postmarked the second possible day, I can't really complain. I'm just thrilled with the success and notoriety that Hava Nashira has achieved. Even enduring communal bath and toilet facilities is not too high a price to pay. Even though I've been attending since the workshop's second year, it is still the most useful, informative, and inspiring opportunity I have each year. Each year is a unique experience. Though many of us "vatkim" (veterans) miss the special environment that existed and the individual attention and bonding that was possible when only 30-50 were attending, the folks at OSRUI and the Hava Nashira faculty have worked hard to keep Hava Nashira a meaningful experience for all who attend. Early on, it was recognized that there were two major constituencies each coming from slightly different places. The genesis of the workshop was the idea of training young songleaders to work at the various Reform movement camps (though, from the very beginning, Hava Nashira was open to people of all ages, and from all the movements of Judaism.) Yet something special and unique happened each year at Hava Nashira that kept older, more established amatuers and professionals coming. Over the years, Hava Nashira has managed to satisfy the needs of both these major constituencies-and that's no easy task. Sure, there have been bumps along the way, but if there is one thing the folks at OSRUI are god at, it's getting feedback and finding ways to respond to concerns.

So here's to the success of Hava Nashira. Long may it continue and prosper.