Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it’s all up to the participants.
Rest can be tricky in large busy pluralist urban environments where individuals and small groups create modular, individualistic ways of ‘unplugging’ to suit their own tastes and styles of down-time. With the decline of religiously prescribed rest, what does it look like today compared to before? Many of us don’t engage in substantial down-time when we continue to ‘connect’ to through technology from home, on vacation, etc. Is the concept of rest simply different or has something important been lost? This conversation will consider where and how we are seeking rest? Can we survive/thrive without it? Are we really resting when we think we are…?
Thibault du Chéné is a licensed psychologist specializing in pain management. He holds a master’s degree in counselling psychology from McGill University and has two bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from Concordia University. He’s certified in clinical hypnosis and is an approved consultant by The American Society Of Clinical Hypnosis. He spent 10 years studying isolation tanks and its effects on rest. For over 15 years, he has maintained a rigorous practice in Zen Buddhism.
Rabbi Lisa Grushcow is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Montreal. She was ordained a rabbi in 2003 at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. She is co-president of the Montreal Board of Rabbis, and an active member of the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal.
Afra Saskia Tucker is committed to the practice of rest, stillness, and non-action. In early childhood, Afra savoured the rhythms of rural living, which skirted the small town where she grew up. She has seized opportunities in study and work to engage in frantic productivity, yet has come increasingly to appreciate Sabbath, a core part of her life and faith tradition.