Four Questions with At the Well’s Sarah Waxman

Sarah Waxman, Founder of  At the Well

Sarah Waxman, Founder of At the Well

In preparation for our upcoming Women’s gathering, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. -- where we’ll be exploring Passover themes of personal exile and freedom -- Alana Ain asks Four Questions of our special guest, and At the Well founder, Sarah Waxman.

AA) I love the vision of At the Well, a space that brings women together at the intersection of wellness and Jewish Spirituality, and particularly the charge of “inspiring women to lift each other up" This feels so essential. Can you share an example of how we can lift one another up?

SW) Just one?! That's really hard for me!!
I am inspired by the way the Daughters of Zelophehad worked in a feminine style of leadership, collaborative and shared. I’m also inspired by Jewish teachings’ commitment to do personal growth within the community. On our hardest days, we don't isolate ourselves and do our healing alone, we show up in a community and pray and work together. Because of this, I know in my heart that women's groups, Well Circles, inspired by the Rosh Chodesh New Moon ritual have the power to transform the world because it is designed to teach you how to be a leader and a supporter, to commit to your own growth as a way of committing to others.  In these spaces, we are unlearning the way society raised us as women to be with each other. Instead of being in competition and petty, we are learning to listen, role model, and understand we are all connected.

AA) Your Holistic Passover Detox encourages us to set an intention before we enter into the ritual of the holiday, as stated:
"Setting intentions help us act on purpose instead of acting because we "should" or "have to."
Amen to that! What's your intention for this Passover?

SW) I personally never use the word should. It is dangerous, and Brene Brown would agree! It makes my spine hurt when I hear people in the Jewish community say I "should do this, I should keep that." I can feel the pain, burden, and disconnect in that statement. Passover is the oldest ritual in the western world. Literally, every Jewish person has been telling the story and bringing intention to this radical moment in time, every spring that invites us to consider how we could live more free. In a time when we have the highest rates of loneliness, depression, and isolation we can all lean towards bringing intention into our celebration instead of putting unnecessary burden, pressure, or heaviness on ourselves. Either commit to the ritual or don't. But please, for your personal mental health commit to one! And take a week! It is so powerful to change your diet or life to say, "this week I am not eating bread because I am using it as a symbol to help me connect more deeply with my spiritual self."
Our discussion on April 9th, is going to be designed to help us all think of what we are dedicating our Passover week towards.

AA) Change can be so challenging! How do we make time - in our frenetic lives - to ensure that this Passover is different from all others?

SW) Everything in your life is a choice. In every moment we have complete power to choose how we respond. Even when we have 1000 emails and a crying baby in our arms, we can still lean towards connection and love at the Seder.  Passover is coming every full moon of Nissan, so use it as a GREAT gift from this Jewish wisdom tradition inviting you to literally stop, reflect, throw out, adjust, and work towards your liberation. Change IS hard, and it's even harder when you are doing it alone. Good news, Judaism rarely does this. DO it TOGETHER, with your family, with your friends, at the Seder, speak to the people at the table about what they are committing to this week, ask them who wants to be accountability partners with you, etc. But remember, we are ALL connected. So your mom’s commitment to growth will only transform you. Perhaps test out what it really looks like to show up!

AA) As a resource that brings so many women together - celebrating our shared experiences as well as our unique differences - what's one thing you've observed that unites and empowers us?

SW) Kindness, eye contact, singing, and (consensual) touch!
The most vulnerable leaders are the people we can all breathe a little deeper around, truly open up around, and feel empowered to act towards our love potential around. Be like the #BiblicalBabe Hannah, who poured out her soul so beautifully and publicly, that we as Jews literally learn to pray from the way she showed up in her pain and love. We are all craving more connection to each other and within ourselves, we are all living with low-level anxiety and fear, and we are all looking for ways to find more love. Walk forth in the world looking for the light in people, and no doubt you will find it.

AA) Thank you!

SW) Right back at you.