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Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy

Women's Drum Day

Women's Drum Day: a birthing review

Joy Krauthammer


I want to share with you something of my journey yesterday written in letter form to Women's Drum Day festival organizer, and her response to me. I had closure last week in Jewish community and with my daughter and sister, with a meaningful, deeply thought out, ritual matzeivah /grave monument unveiling for Marcel, z'l. Now I am able to continue to transform and transition to my own life in joy, as I reclaim and renew myself. There is a photo of the unveiled matzeivah, and if you want to receive it, let me know.

Yesterday, at Remo's Women's Drum Day, I was an early in the day Tibetan singing bowls meditation presenter following the opening of the Spanish women announcing with conch shells and incense, the Four Directions, the ancestors and honoring mother earth. Each year, a few different women are asked to come to lead a day for women.

Wanting to dress as feminine and magical as possible, I wore a tubular purple head-band across my forehead, with sprinkles of seed beads and sequins that I had purchased in Jerusalem, in the Old City.   My hair was wild, wavy and grey, held in place a little by the head-band. I wore a goddess outfit by URU, purchased over a dozen years ago, sewn and layered from pieces of sheared purple, pink silks, light in color and billowy feeling. I wore a sheared silk purple jacket over, with designs of stars and swirls and matching plum colored soft ballet like shoes. I went barefoot in my purple painted toes. I wore my triple amethyst purple dangly earrings and I wore my Mogen Dovid on my neck as always, and my triple birthing in the shell pearl necklace that I bought in Tahiti.

I am happy to let you know that yesterday, I was asked by the organizer, Laney, to please return each year to the circle of women who come together at this time. That felt good to me, and it means that I am being and doing something right. I shared lavender from my garden and other sweet things of nature. I shared poetry. I shared sound and chanting. I share the reverberating sounds of the crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, bells and gongs. I shared color and textures. I had lying around my altar space, the immense white silky Tibetan shawl I purchased in Tibet. I had purple-lit candles floating in a round clear bowl of water. I was surrounded by visual memories of loved ones-- friends, ancestors, sister (a crocheted bag she made for me filled with my mother's Chinese bells. There was a lot of purple in the sensual environment that I prepared for the women. The purple scarves were from everywhere, and made by friends, and orange oil from Morocco, coral and stones from spiritual spots in the universe.

I welcomed the next generation of women. With all my flowing grey, I could do this.  I shared a Brucha for hamotzi / blesSing for bread. I invited others in to lead with me, like the woman becoming ordained next month, as Chaplain.  I was more expansive than a couple years ago when I have presented but then had my absence from greater community. It took courage from me, along with my joy and intention. I felt greater freedom to be me. I think that when I am at the pearly gates, the Compassionate One will not have to ask me if I "was like Zushia?"  It is growth for me. I asked Hashem to give this gift to me so that I could share. I was received. I am grateful.

I am doing a healing meditation somewhere else, Gaia Festival, in a deep canyon, Temescal Canyon, after Shavuot, in a month. I return hopefully from my son-in-law's Boston graduation, and a Reb Zalman Torah retreat in the Berkshires, the night before.

Because it is Remo's Women's Drum Day, I am glad to be playing a Remo drum, even if an Ocean Drum, not a djembe, in addition to my singing bowls and bells and gongs.  I transformed my WUHAN large gong into WOMAN gong. I surrounded the bamboo gong stands with purple-feathered boas, and purple silk scarves.

I thought to bring doubles of Ocean Drums and rain sticks to make the room fill with sound more easily, so the women did not have to wait longer to receive. I asked Christine to double partner with me, as I had in the past. I love the combination of the levels of sound in the pairs of rain sticks and the pairs of Ocean Drums.  I had purchased the large Remo Ocean Drum many years ago in Abinante Music Store in Monterey, 1992?, way before I even was present at Remo and I am drumming at Remo for ten years. I concentrate on making the Ocean drum sound as natural as possible in its movement, because it is easy for it to be jumpy in starting and ending. The same smooth movement is attributed to the rain stick. Later I taught Valeska how to use the rain stick more easily by twirling it. I also gave Valeska the opportunity to try the Crystal singing bowl. This is a young woman, a child, of extraordinary experience and wisdom.

I am so glad that you were happy with my sound meditation yesterday.
I had not shared this with you, but yesterday, in addition to it being the day of the  # 1 Jewish Festival of the year, the day also fell into a season within my religious tradition of not celebrating with "music." Yet the days are filled spiritually with purifying ourselves, so this we did! True. The season of 49 days is called, the Counting of the Omer-- A time from Pesach to Shavuot, the 25th day, exactly in the middle.  

Laney, thank you for the opportunity to be myself, to receive and to give, to grow, and to continue the transition time I have been in with great transformation since the years of sickness, death of my husband, z'l, a year ago, and grieving period filled with religious ritual, and healing.

Today I shall eat my plate of bean sprouts, left over from yesterday's Thai meal.  
Maybe you will go to Gaia Festival with me and discover and play.

One love, shalom and abundant blesSings of health and joy to you,
"Serve G*d With Joy"

From: "Clevenger, Laney
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007
To: Joy

morning o joyful one,
Thank you so much for your sweet heartfelt words.  My heart is very grateful...for you and your presence yesterday.  It was a truly wonderful day!

It was somewhat hectic when everyone was leaving, that I didn't get to give you a final hug of gratitude and love before you left.

I thought your presentation was perfect.  I watched you move around with such grace and ease...I felt you played from your heart and soul...and it was beautiful.  The bowls are such a valuable tool for us to have at the WDDs...and I'm sure the ladies all enjoyed them, felt them, and valued the energy you shared with us all.  I can't think of anything you'd need to change...even with all your pillows and scarves...it was beautiful.  ...I play the ocean drum....so next time, I'd be glad to do that to assist you.

It was a perfect day!  Thank you again, for your sweet feminine presence yesterday...you played an important part of the day...and I know everyone is grateful.

see you soon,  great blessings to you,

From: JOY
Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2007 
To: Clevenger, Laney (NBC Universal)

Dear Laney,

Again, congratulations on a lovely, expansive, sacred Women's Drum Day.

You put so much effort into creating the womb for us to be birthed into drumming and dancing and breathing, feeling, seeing and touching, tasting, hearing. You too had the lovely lavender for aroma senses to be activated into gentleness.  I offered mine, hand picked from my garden this morning, from my glass bowl for other to enjoy. I gave my flowers in my vase to women who helped me. Thank you for remembering the water bowl for my floating round small purple candles. I thought that would add to our senses.

Each subtle touch you prepared so thoughtfully was appreciated in setting the environment for pleasure, play, safety and joy.
Your tent of hanging colors, loose and knotted are so feminine and enclosing of space-- An open tent for the women of the tribe.

We transformed the billows of chiffon into another setting when the "four directions" women led us. Hearing the conch shell and receiving the incense and translated words felt universal.
Shaking shakers and turning four times felt inclusive as a beginning.
The women leaders were wonderful.

I loved being greeted by the delights of the senses: your dark chocolate soy nuts, altars, flowers beginning at the front door with ribbons dancing, candles, flowing water fountain, even seeing a stone called Joy, and at the entry, Christine with her pelican feathers and smudging and inner joy sparking as always. I liked how we could each flow with the other.

For the morning session, I listened to what the women said about why they were there, and I tried to pay special attention to how I played the Tibetan singing bowls for them, when I walked around, especially, when there was an individual need expressed. I was glad that the women were able to get off their chairs with encouragement at my invitation and lie down on the floor. I wanted them to have the most relaxing effect from my intentions in bowl playing.

One woman later told me how she loved it when the hem of my long silk skirt of many purples and textures, touched her skin as I walked around the women lying on the floor in their meditation. She said it was like the "hem of the skirt from the New Testament." I am ignorant of that, but know of the bells and pomegranates on the hem on the Kohanim in Temple times of Old Testament.

This year I shared a little poetry of sound at the beginning in addition to my words of meditation guidance. I shared a little "Ohming" at the end. I wonder if these were helpful, instead of my going straight into the bowl playing...

I did not play my bells from my ancestral matriarchy. I wonder if more of my gong playing would have been better,  or was that enough?  I have paid people to gong me for an hour. I pay to have people "bowl" me for half an hour, or less. I wanted the women to experience the individual sessions as I played over their bodies, with the bowls, ocean drums and rain sticks. I gave my all in offering the healing sounds for magic, relaxation and transformation. I chose bowls that I felt would resonate best for the very large space as the women were throughout the area. I hope that they received the sounds even when I was not directly by each one.  At times, I played sitting by my altar space mixing, overlaying the sounds. I would appreciate any feedback from you to learn for next time.

I do think that I offered sensory overload at my own altar. I was so happy finding so many sensual pieces of scarves, purple feather boas, pillows etc., etc. I may have over done it. Next time, I think I need a simpler setting. Although I must say, I felt like I was in a favorite place of mine, a Moroccan casbah, and felt good that I could offer that experience. I did have Moroccan pillows with me, purchased from my journeys as well as unusual ethnic instruments, like the Indian jingles on long brass frame. I loved bringing the energies of the sacred places I have been, and the people who have gone to the next world, whose memories I have inherited with their tools, their textiles, their gongs and bells.

I love it when Chris blended in and played didgeridoo and flute with me (as arranged before hand) Christine carried the ocean drums and the rain sticks with me (to double up in the room space), and dear child in age, Valeska, too, carried a rain stick, taking her place in the "tribe" as leader and learner.  I felt badly that I did not thank them publicly when my set was over, but I did introduce them at the beginning. No many musicians acknowledge others at the beginning. I did thank them privately.

I loved it when Christine invited me back in with the singing bowl at the closing circle to join her "Indian drum" and Chris joined on didgeridoo as all the women sang and danced. At times, I offered Chris my singing bowl to play into, as the ancestral sounds of the 'didge' reverberate and become deeper, fuller, bellowing when in more enclosed space.

The spontaneity was lovely as we danced with my large, happy purple-ribboned (circusy) scarf while dancing with our small colors of scarf as mirrors and beyond. That was delightful, fun, joyous. I loved Christine's first time, original exercise.  I loved it when the immense scarf became a canopy for us to dance through.

Chris really got us all into the Afro-Cuban mix. She is so skilled. I never knew to hold the claves like a hot dog!

I was glad for the deep breathing by Janice. It was fun to choose a color to sit by, although I would have liked for the facilitator to open up to us earlier, to why we chose those colors for ourselves at that moment. I did not go to the purple triangular slice of color, but I chose RED. I fell asleep so am not sure what transpired during her hour except that I had some weird dreams (about a rabbi, former teacher of mine, recently deceased.  (If you get a chance, let me know what I missed, if you were awake. Hearing others snore, I know I was not alone. Shivasana / resting was always my favorite part of yoga, like being in kindergarten.)

Young Valeska was brave and open enough, alone, to share the experience she had, when asked to share. Such a model. I am glad that I acknowledged the next generation.
In Hebrew, our blessings and teachings include "L'Dor V'Dor" / from generation to generation.
Valeska exemplifies this and she is always so inclusive of others, motiivating us to come into the circle, and offering leadership to others. Is she nine years old?

I felt toward the end of the day, that I needed some Sufi type of intimate face-to-face interaction with all the women, close up, and sure enough we had the dance at the end where that happened and all smiles and eyes could be witnessed. A great ending. The women played the Indian hoop drums. I played the crystal singing bowl as we greeted each other in the circular dance.

Some wonderfully helpful ladies helped me put my instruments into the car, couple trips each. I felt cared for.  Of course I had to do the ten trips into my home on my own. I should take the women home with me.  Jerry graciously helped me in the morning and was there for us at Remo to have our day. I am grateful. And as you heard, most of the women used the word "grateful" in the closing.

It was Kris, the creator of the next "Gaia Festival", who really helped me along with other women, to carry my instruments.  She understood the word, "help". She learned a lot today from us at Women's Drum Day, and I am grateful that we could make space to announce her festival, and others' books, workshops, and music CDs and spiritual cruises...

Laney, I hope that you feel really good about your Women's Drum Day. It felt so good to finally see the chairs fill in the circle. The women came.  You are always so gracious, peaceful, creative, trusting, humble, responsive and sweet.

In addition to all the organizations and news places that I sent PR, I tracked down some goddess temples in greater LA, and sent all the contacts the flyers on WDD. Did you ever find out how today's women found us? How many from prior WDD's?

It was fun to do brainstorming, gestating, with you months ago, even if Women's Drum Day did not happen at the Spring Equinox. But you surely birthed, anyway. You had faith and were supported.  Thank you, my friend.

May you be  blessed to go from strength to strength.
You Are A BlesSing.

One love, shalom and abundant blesSings of health and joy to you,
"Serve G*d With Joy"

Cc: Christine Stevens

Jerry Zacarias

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