Spiritual Life, Collective Care and Social Justice with Rabbi Lori Wynters, Wednesday June 9, 12:00 noon, College Hall 113 and online

Join us for an end-of-semester self/ community care check-in, self-reflective session exploring what was generative this semester for you, what aligned with our values, our social justice practices, our body’s knowing and how we can take this practice of connection, restoration and replenishment into the coming months. Drawing on the basics of Restorative Justice, Rabbi Lori Wynters will share topics that provoked most discussion with students in her spring class on this topic.

Rabbi Wynters explains, “I have been inspired by Arunduhti Roy’s The Pandemic is a Portal and have been co-thinking with my students all semester on how we are choosing to walk through this portal differently, as we come back together, rather than return to a normal that never was ‘normal.’ We still ‘learned’ philosophies of education, child psychologies and development and about relational culture in this era of a self reliant individualism in my 3 courses. I gave less reading and writing  than usual, collectively transformed our Zoom room into a learning community, with vibrant engagement, personal story, break out rooms, with poetry and autoethnography woven into the ‘academic’ scholarship and embodied practices to ground us and calm our nervous systems in this time of rising cortisol levels. And we engaged in deeper, more meaningful and vulnerable discussions this semester in all of my classes. We constructed the text together and we became the text in our body’s knowing, the wisdoms each of us brought to class, dealing with inspiring and uncomfortable moments as we practiced critically reading the world, each other and ourselves. What are the many ways we tend to and care for what is generative for us individually and collectively? How do we each experience the sacred in our learning, meaning making and constructing knowledge in our day to day lives? How do we experience the extraordinary in the ordinary? How does our desire for connection, justice and healing connect with our experience of the sacred or our spiritual life?”

Date: Wednesday, June 9

Time: 12 noon

Location: College Hall 113 /online via WebEx

(facultycenter@newpaltz.edu to register & arrange entry if you do not have a pass)

“What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus.”“Some believe it’s God’s way of bringing us to our senses.

Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality,’ trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.

…Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

Excerpt of the essay “Pandemic Is a Portal,” a selection from author Arundhati Roy’s Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction. (Haymarket, September 2020). The Man Booker Prize-winning Indian novelist (The God of Small Things, 1997) is a longtime activist for antiglobalization movements and an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy.