Everett group finding wisdom, growth in Kabbalah

Cafe Zippy is Everett’s home of poetry readings, live music, a hang-out for progressive activists and, oh yes, those steaming, foamy-topped caffeinated drinks so associated with the Northwest.

Now it’s opening its doors to a new group interested in exploring Kabbalah.

Kabbalah isn’t a religion, it’s wisdom, said Bonnie Campbell, 70, who leads weekly Kabbalah meetings in her Everett apartment. “We need a spiritual life, a connection, something to really believe in,” she said.

The philosophy has received national attention largely through the publicity surrounding its celebrity adherents, including Madonna, Roseanne Barr and Sandra Bernhard.

Campbell said that her interest has nothing to do with its rich and famous followers.

While interest in Kabbalah may have grown from its association with such well-known followers, “from my small circle it’s negative,” she said. “People say, ‘I don’t want to get involved with something involving a movie star.’”

Campbell said the thing that matters most to her is its meaning in her life. “It has worked wonders for me,” she said.

In part, this philosophy calls attention to the personal pitfalls that can occur through an oversized ego. These include the thoughts, or inner voice, that, by turns, can encourage us to indulge in even the minor temptations of daily life, like eating a piece of cake, then criticize us for doing so.

“The whole idea is to diminish that ego, to squash it as much as you can,” Campbell said. “It represents fear, our dark side.”

Campbell said she received a workbook and other information from the online Kabbalah University to guide her studies.

“I believe they’re trying to get you to get off the surface and get down deep to see what you really, really want and to look at how you’ve been behaving and treating other people,” Campbell said.

“They do advocate strongly that we help other people in whatever way we can.”

Karin Jones, of Arlington, said she began noticing changes in those following Kabbalah principles and decided she would try it, too.

She said she hoped that following the Kabbalah philosophy will help her be “the best person I can be … having a positive effect on the world and others.”

Although some contemporary Kabbalah followers say it has no direct ties to religion, historically there has been a Kabbalah tradition in Judaism that dates back centuries.

“It’s a very complicated subject,” said Martin Jaffee, an emeritus professor in comparative religion and Jewish Studies at the University of Washington.

Kabbalah was “pulled out of the nest” of Judaism, he said.

Its Jewish traditions date back to the 3rd century A.D., he said, with practices that included meditation and magical visions of the heavenly world by keeping the commandments.

Kabbalah is simply experiencing God’s presence in the act of fulfilling the commandments,” he said.

Rabbi Jessica Marshall of Everett’s Temple Beth Or, said that the practices of modern Kabbalah may be loosely inspired, but is fairly removed from its Judaic roots.

Jewish Kabbalah practices involved different emanations of God that we’re able to connect with as humans, Marshall said.

Part of this Kabbalah tradition is included in the temple’s Friday evening Shabbat services, she said.

“This idea of unification with the divine or transcendent is something that almost everyone seeks in some way or the other,” Marshall said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

Learn about Kabbalah

Cafe Zippy, 2811 Wetmore Ave. in Everett, is hosting a Kabbalah class. Possible meeting times include Wednesday evenings or Saturday afternoons. For more information, call 425-303-0474 or email CafeZippyInfo@gmail.com.

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Most Read