Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils throughout the pandemic in order to break down taboos and hold space for all that we've lost. This special vigil, co-hosted with Lab/Shul, an everybody-friendly, artist-driven, God-optional, experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings based in NYC and reaching the world. Guests include Day Schildkret – a 2019 Lab/Shul Artist-in-Residence, a Reimagine festival collaborator, and author of the new book Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration and Change – with Lab/Shul’s co-founders Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie and Naomi Less. Day, Amichai, and Naomi will share insights on how grief and loss evolve through imagination, artistic practice, and ritual. The Vigil coincides with the harvest holiday of Sukkot and kicks off Reimagine’s October series that explores creative expression through the lens of post-traumatic growth.
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie (he/him) is the Founding Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the creator of Storahtelling, Inc. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performance artist, he received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2016. Rabbi Amichai is a member of the Global Justice Fellowship of the American Jewish World Service, a founding member of the Jewish Emergent Network, serves on the Leadership Council of the New York Jewish Agenda, the Advisory Council of the International School for Peace – a Refugee Support Project in Greece, a member of the Advisory Council for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and is a faculty member of the Reboot Network. Rabbi Amichai has been hailed as “an iconoclastic mystic” by Time Out New York, a “rock star” by the New York Times, a “Judaic Pied Piper” by the Denver Westword, a “maverick spiritual leader” by The Times of Israel and “one of the most interesting thinkers in the Jewish world” by the Jewish Week. In 2016 The Forward named him one of the thirty-two “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in America, and in 2017 he was top five on “The Forward 50,” their annual list of the most influential and accomplished Jews in America. In June 2017 Rabbi Amichai published the JOY Proposal, offering a new response to the reality of Intermarriage and taking on a personal position on this issue, including his resignation from the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement. Amichai is Abba to Alice, Ezra and Charlotte.
Naomi Less (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based, internationally celebrated singer, composer, musician, ritual leader and educator. Her diverse original music is sung in worship communities worldwide, including Lab/Shul. In 2000, Naomi met Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie and became a founding company member of Storahtelling, serving as Director of Education and Training, Director of Storahtelling and ultimately as a founding Lab/Shul ritual leader and Associate Director. Naomi's portfolio at Lab/Shul includes holding the community's grief and loss needs, a set of offerings called the Kaddish Club. Her signature music initiatives include: Jewish Chicks Rock band programs, creator/host of Jewish Women Rock show on Jewish Rock Radio, and co-creator/music director/performer for TRYmester, a touring performance piece that brings to light the oft hidden stories of fertility challenges through narrative, song and dance. Naomi is an activist and consultant for causes such as Bring Back Our Girls New York, a multi-faith volunteer group, and Uprooted: A Jewish Response to Fertility Journeys (vice president). Naomi received training in spiritual leadership, music, facilitation and education from: Northwestern University, Jewish Theological Seminary Davidson School, Institute for Informal Jewish Education at Brandeis University, Institute for Jewish Spirituality, ChangeCraft (formerly Center for Leadership Initiatives). Listen to Naomi’s music on Spotify, YouTube, and Soundcloud.
Day Schildkret is internationally renowned as the author, artist and teacher behind the Morning Altars movement, inspiring tens of thousands of people to make life more beautiful and meaningful through ritual, nature and art.
With nearly 100K followers on social media and sold-out workshops, installations, trainings, and public speaking events worldwide, BuzzFeed calls Day’s work, “a celebration of nature and life.” Day has worked for close to two decades with thousands of individuals, communities and organizations to help heal the culture through a meaningful and creative response to marking personal and collective change.
Day is the author of Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration and Change (Simon Element/Simon & Schuster) which hit Amazon’s #1 book in three categories, as well as, Morning Altars: A 7-Step Practice to Nourish Your Spirit through Nature, Art and Ritual (The Countryman Press/W.W. Norton). He is also the founder and principal instructor of the Morning Altars Practitioner & Teacher Training.
Day has taught workshops and created installations at Google, The 9/11 Memorial Plaza, The Hammerstein Ballroom, The Andy Warhol Foundation, California Academy of Sciences, Esalen, and many others.
His work has been featured on NBC, CBS, Buzzfeed, Vice, Well+Good, My Modern Met and four times in Spirituality & Health Magazine.
The Lab/Shul community is dedicated to exploring, creating and celebrating innovative opportunities for contemplation, life cycle rituals, the arts, life-long learning and social justice. Lab/Shul seeks to redefine the role of sacred gatherings that nourish our thirst for meaning, connection, spirituality and community. It is a thriving, nurturing spiritual community where inclusive, accessible and radically renewed Jewish ritual promotes deep communal connection and broader societal shift. As a pioneer in redefining the role of sacred gatherings, Lab/Shul visualizes itself as a model for other spiritual communities and a catalyst for global change. https://labshul.org/
Reimagine hosts community-driven experiences that bring creativity, connection, and essential conversation to face adversity, loss, and mortality, and channel the hard parts of life into meaningful action and growth. Reimagine envisions a world where we can embrace life fully—from this moment through the end—and collectively contribute to a more just and compassionate society. Reimagine experiences encompass arts + entertainment, healthcare + social services, spirituality + religion, and Innovation + design.