Member since 2012

Owner of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen is the founder and leader of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, a congregation without walls that meets outdoors all year long. She is the co-convener and President pro-tem of the Boston-area Jewish Climate Action Network, and the founder of the One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit in Framingham, MA.


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Shanah Tovah 5777

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen   As you enter this new year may distance bring clarity     and may the many shades of the forest be clear to you  as separate and individual colors each unique in its own right   may the sky be ever visible to you  between the leaves    may you understand that the leaves the sky and the tendrils ...


Earth Etude for Elul 29: Hope Sprouting

by Rabbi Judith Kummer   ~ When the world is whirling and despair for the future begins to crowd in I turn to growing things, seeking hope.   The sweet potato plant cutting I made last week, Bereft of leaves but stuck into a vase to root anyway-- Just in case-- has now sprouted tiny purple and spring-green leaves, against all odds.   How did it know to grow, know it could grow?  What generative ...


Earth Etude for Elul 28: Our Repentance, Prayer, and Deeds of Righteous Action Will Stop Climate Change

by Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith ~ This year, as the sun sets on Yom Kippur, our prayers will reach a pinnacle of intensity as we recite the UnetanehTokef prayer:  “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.  How many shall leave this world, and how many shall be born; who shall live and who shall die, who in the fullness of years and who before; who shall perish by fire and who by water, who by sword and who by a wild beast; who by ...


Earth Etude for Elul 27: Teshuvah in the Garden

by Maxine Lyons ~ My perennial love relationship with the earth is expressed most explicitly in tending my flower gardens. For me it is spiritual work, a way to respect the earth while feeling more mindful of how growth and change is an ongoing  process and mirrors the major themes of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The spiritual work of Teshuvah on the Yamim Norayim for me often centers on facing challenges, reviewing the aspects of my life that ...


Earth Etude for Elul 26: You Were Wrong

by Ben Weilerstein ~ I You were wrong about environmentalism, man, no that’s not what I think no, I’m not really an environmentalist because if I say I am you’ll say in your head I’m saying things you don’t think need to be said, out loud, at all so, no, I’m not an environmentalist and I don’t feel a rush of flight, of my heels lifting up off the ground when I recycle a plastic bottle not like I do when I recite over and over again ...


Earth Etude for Elul 25: Bees, Fireflies, and Stars

by Ruah Swennerfelt ~ The bee was busy, humming around me and traveling from flower to flower, while I was sitting and weeding. I stopped my work to take a closer look and was amazed to see that, as the bee dove deep and touched a certain spot in the flower, the flower reached its stamen up to the bee’s butt and deposited some pollen. This interaction occurred again and again. I saw so clearly how the bee and the flower miraculously co-evolved for ...


Earth Etude for Elul 24: What Is Remembering?

by Steph Zabel ~ What is remembering? As I’ve ponder this question over the past several days, the following thoughts have come to me… Remembering is a return to wholeness and truth: a wholeness of self, of spirit, of place in the world. When we remember who we are, why we are here, and how we relate to the world around us, these remembrances — these truths — infuse our lives with richness and radiate outwards to all the lives around ...


Earth Etude for Elul 23: Tandem

by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman               Biking home on Orchard Street With the wind behind me, and Jamaica Pond Wrinkled and clear beyond the houses, A peregrine falcon winged down A feathered grace, gliding on my right.   For a breath, two, we flew side by side.   My grief, of late, has become more precise. There are worlds Beyond worlds, the ...


Earth Etude for Elul 22: Earth Rituals

by Molly Bajgot ~ This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to ...


Earth Etude for Elul 21: The Food We Eat

by Leora Mallach ~ The severe drought affecting the northeast this growing season is causing farmers to apply for federal disaster relief (they must prove at least 30% crop loss to qualify). According to USDA data, Massachusetts topsoils were 25% drier in July 2016 than the 10 year mean, and there are mandatory water restrictions in many towns. The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), established at the University of Nebraska-Linc...


Earth Etude for Elul 20: An Old Problem

by Rabbi Jacob Siegel ~ I like to think of climate change as an old problem. True, human-made climate change and the potential it has to wreak disaster on our earth’s ecosystem are new and unprecedented. Every year extreme temperatures rise and extreme weather events become more common. These are challenges we have never faced. On the other hand, this is an old problem. We, as the Jewish people, know what it means to face a crisis of existence ...


Earth Etude for Elul 19: Canopy to Heaven

  by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.   ~ There is a canopy of trees that open to the worlds above so those who come to rest beneath their arbor can transcend both worlds. Their trunks are pillars reaching heights we dream to touch and do not dare to try, and yet we come to rest and seek reprieve from weariness of life within their shelter. Can you see this canopy within yourself, its crown and all its glory yielding to ...


Earth Etude for Elul 18: Help the Honeybees

by Susie Davidson ~ I always enjoy perusing the Jewish holiday-themed emails from Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center. Earlier this year, Rabbi Waskow pointed out that Earth Day ended just as Passover began. "As the traditional Haggadah says," he quoted, "In every generation we face destruction -- and so in every generation all of us -- every human being --  must seek freedom, justice, and healing anew." Waskow suggested ...


Earth Etude for Elul 17: Ode to Water

by Rabbi Laurie Gold ~ Walt Whitman’s beautiful poem, “The Voice of the Rain”, has always moved me. I hope you appreciate it, too. And who are thou? said I to the soft-falling shower, Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated: I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain, Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea, Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether changed and yet the ...


Earth Etude for Elul 16: Choosing Again to Be Good

by Joelle Novey ~I had the opportunity to sit with good folks of many faiths over the last year as we studied the words of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si.   Also this year, I had many moments of feeling overwhelmed by the bad things in our world that seem so much bigger than any one of us: the irrevocable and global suffering already being caused by our damaged climate; the harm being done to black bodies and spirits ...


Earth Etude for Elul 15: Water and Clarity of Mind

by Carol Reiman ~ The month of Elul comes round again, time to prepare for what comes next.  Yom Kippur melodies rise, twist, turn in on themselves.  Time to look in on my self, to find the familiar in a new way, to find my marker in the year. Drawn to water for clarity of mind, sitting by brook or sea returns me to calming rhythm. Rushing thoughts ebb and flow through my meditation. As the currents go their ways, all settles into ...


Earth Etude for Elul 14: Paradox

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen ~ An individual's ability to accurately perceive changes in the rate of violence in the world over human history is near to impossible. Truly understanding global fluctuations in violence requires knowledge of events over such a vast breadth of space and time that it is essentially beyond a human's ability to comprehend. Which of course doesn't stop us from trying. Steven Pinker has tackled the concept, and he reports us ...


Earth Etude for Elul 13: A Tall Order

by Hattie Nestel ~ Creating the earth and all within was the gift of G-d. Opening our eyes to see the situation the world is in, and in particular the destruction of all G-d gave us, is the work of the people. How shall we begin the job of righting the wrongs done not only to the environment but to people dependent on the environment going through catastrophic changes. Daily we hear of forest fires burning thousands of acres and untold numbers of ...


Earth Etude for Elul 12: In the Shadow of the Rabbi’s Tree

by Hody Nemes ~ I spend my days entombed in a skyscraper in downtown Manhattan. I am writing these words in an eight-story apartment building. As the world urbanizes, and as the urban sprawls further afield, we spend our lives increasingly surrounded by the human-made – brilliant engineering, beautiful cityscapes, wonderful in their own way, yet sometimes painfully lacking.  A wonderful other sort of beauty, the emergent beauty of ecosystems -- ...


Earth Etude for Elul 11: The Emergence of Aliveness

by Rabbi Natan Margalit, Ph.D. ~ On Rosh HaShana we say “hayom harat olam” – today is the birth of the world.  But it isn’t just a birthday that happened in the past. The daily morning blessings remind us that God creates the world anew every day.  So this High Holiday season is a time to celebrate a process of on-going creation. It brings up the question: what do we even mean today when we talk about God’s creation of the world? I ...