As the wheel of the year turns and this shmita year comes to an end, we are writing with much love and care to let you know that we have collectively decided to let go of this beloved ritual project. Over these past few years of the pandemic, we have found that our collective capacity has shifted. In the spirit of shmita (letting go) and of listening to the wisdom of our bodies and spirits, we have come to terms with the fact that we aren’t able to continue to offer ritual leadership and community space as Nishmat Shoom.
This project started from a deep desire to create queer, diasporist, spiritual Jewish Days of Awe services for our local Western Massachusetts community. This vision led to a community spanning multiple states and countries that celebrated holidays together and found ways to connect both on- and offline. This work has been incredibly nourishing and inspiring to all of us. It has also come with the challenge of figuring out how to sustain this miracle of a project, over the long term.
The sunset of this project means that we won’t be offering services, care packages, or sacred spaces for the High Holy Days, but we are thrilled to share some of our resources and offerings from years past. These can be found in the Days of Awe Ritual resources. This website will be transformed into an archive space, which will likely be taken down eventually, but feel free to save these resources for your own future use. Additionally, our Soundcloud playlists will stay available as long as Soundcloud allows them to remain.
We are so deeply grateful for the work we’ve done together and for the praying, storytelling, learning, and singing we’ve been able to do with all of you. You have been an essential part of this work. Because of that, we would like to hear from you. Specifically, there are a few ways you can participate in this moment.
- We would love to hear about your memories and we’re hoping to share some of them on our website and/or social media. Please submit any memories or photos you would like to share with us, using our Nishmat Shoom Memories form. We also continue to welcome you to tag us on social media (@nishmatshoom).
- Each year, Nishmat Shoom has gratefully accepted funds to pay for space, copies, and other supplies. We have also donated a percentage each year to mutual aid and reparations projects. (Nishmat Shoom organizers have never been paid.) We currently have a remaining balance of approximately $2000. We are not legally a non-profit, so it is up to us to decide how to disburse these funds. This Nishmat Shoom Sunset Survey gives you an opportunity to provide input into how the funds we have left over should be spent.
- The Nishmat Shoom Sunset Survey also has a place where you can enter your email address, if you would like to be informed about future projects of individual members of the Nishmat Shoom organizing team. If so, your contact information will not be shared with anyone else.
While we hold grief for this change and transition—and know that you may, too—it is our hope, prayer, and intention that the composting of this beautiful project, which has gifted us all with so much magic and possibility, enriches the soil and creates more possibilities for queer, radical, Jewish diasporist ritual life to unfold here in Western Massachusetts.