A sprawling, green stretch of land… with small chalets, tastefully designed but conveying simplicity…a herb garden…a spacious, inviting kitchen and dining room… and a meditation hall saturated with that profound, silent quality arising from innumerous hours of ongoing practice.
A place where you can come to practice meditation whenever you please, for a weekend, several days, or several months. An sacred space of acceptance, allowing all who seek to rejuvenate from life's intensity, to simply pause and take a breath. A place that supports our individual as well as our collective path, towards liberation.
A place that enables sangha gatherings on a regular basis, where companions may meet, laugh, and share… a place to return to again and again.
Since its establishment in 1995, Tovana - the Israeli Insight Association – has been actively and continuously expanding its activities, even without having a permanent physical structure that serves as the basis for its widespread activity.
Impermanence, as we know and practice it, is valuable in and of itself. Many wonderful things transpired during those first years, as we "travelled light."
Nevertheless, over the years, the sangha began to recognize a growing need and necessity for a permanent place of residence for Tovana.
The first steps towards permanence and stability were taken during those years through the establishment of the Tel Aviv Sangha House activities and by developing a long-term relationship with Kibbutz Ein-Dor, where the bulk of our retreats take place.
Kibbutz Ein-Dor was a pleasant, hospitable host for quite a number of years. Why, then, aspire to establish a center? And why now?
The following are a number of considerations motivating us to establish a permanent home and center for Tovana:
1. First and foremost – as opposed to a hostel – a home allows continuity, a stable, steady place to hold retreats (even now, difficulties occasionally arise, which threaten our ability to remain at Ein-Dor. We may suddenly find ourselves, meditation cushions and all, out the door).
2. Secondly, a Dharma Center would allow the development and expansion of our activities, including some of the following:
· The center will permanently house a resident teacher, who will offer accessible dharmic support to whomever needs it, at all times. One may come visit the center spontaneously to recharge, listen to a dharma talk, sit together for a short while, consult and ask for advice, not necessarily as part of a pre-planned retreat. In the words of Dr. Amit Ray, a place "to live in the breath."
· The center will allow us to host international teachers, who would be able to come and stay for longer periods of time, enabling us to hold long retreats, something that in the current framework we are unable to offer. In addition, practicing yogi volunteers may live at the center as well, and they will oversee the overall operation of the center in an optimal fashion, receiving and serving the ever-growing community attending our retreats.
· The center will offer long, unbroken periods of practice and individual seclusion.
· The center will nourish its immediate and remote environment with activities and initiatives by the sangha members to support the surrounding community (meditation for at-risk youth, for abused women, groups in conflict, etc.).
3. Last, but not least – many of the Tovana practitioners seek a place that enables a deeper ongoing daily connection with the sangha, which, for most, is now lacking in their lives. The new center could be a place of connection and belonging, and its physical and organizational structure will be designed to serve this purpose. Imagine weekends with families and children, activities during summer holidays, seasonal celebrations… Some may choose to build their home by the center or in its vicinity, thus creating a tangible, intimate and accessible community, providing support and inspiration to its members.
4. In addition – we can rent the place out for the activities of other similar organizations. Income from such activities may help cover the center's expenses.
Sounds good, beneficial and rewarding?
So how can we realize this dream?
Over the past years, much time and effort was dedicated to locating a place, based on the idea that once we find a place – the money will follow. This course of action was ultimately not fruitful. We recently understood that first we must obtain the necessary funds. This will then fuel a more committed process towards purchasing an appropriate property.
We feel that now is the time to make this vision come true!
It is our turn – close and remote Tovana members – to take the first step, to renew our sense of connection, partnership and responsibility for the fulfillment of this dream.
Simply put: Now is the time to contribute - each according to their ability and understanding.
Not at all!
If 5,000 of us donate 200 ILS each, we'll have one million NIS!
200 NIS - not a small amount, but definitely possible, if we truly wish to make this happen!
Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Tonight, we are taking this first step together.
Let's gather together and donate towards the founding of the Tovana Center!
Donations may be transferred in the following methods:
· Secure donation via PayPal
· Wire transfer to the following bank account – Bank Ha'Poalim, Pinkas Branch 754, account no. 220976
· Check donations by mail – Tovana Association's address: POB 1465 Hod Hasharon 45114 (please do not send by registered mail).
Please specify that the donation is for Tovana's Dharma Center. With many thanks in advance!
For information and questions regarding the permanent center, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.