Earth Etude for Elul 1: Elul is here

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

I turned inward with the lockdown. I didn’t want to go anywhere.

My garden saved me. I worked outside almost every day.

In early summer, I started again to lead outdoor services with small groups. But no walks on my own, in nature.

After the depths of despair of Tisha B’Av, as the weeks of consolation began, knowing Elul was approaching, I started to turn outward.

I spent a week of early mornings in a little-traveled conservation area, before the heat settled in.

Reveling in the blooming flowers


Staying in the moment

Picking blackberries

Setting in beside a deer resting spot


Lying back, looking up

Letting the more-than-human world heal me

And strengthen me

And prepare me

To go out into the world

To do what must be done

To try to make the world a better place

Join me in journeying through Elul

Note: This is the first in a series of Earth Etudes for Elul that will appear here most days of Elul. The etudes are reflections on teshuvah and Earth during a pandemic when we are acknowledging more deeply that Black Lives Matter.

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain and now considers herself an eco-chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma’yan Tikvah

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