Earth Etude for Elul 29: Elul Unmasked

~by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.

In rendezvous with You

dare I reveal, 

express the self

behind the mask,

the one not dressed in Yom Tov finery,

but quarantined instead in tattered garb,

clutching remnants of protection

combat refugee within and out,

who journeyed through the year 

bracing challenge, tasks You offered?


Might I share my truth, not wishful fantasy,

my doubt, uncertainty and fear,

brokenness and grief,

contained in fragile self 

sustained by You, 

deprived externals

nourished by Your hidden sparks

embedded in each tear?


Might I share in darkness 

impetus for sight otherwise unseen

ex nihilo 

path to see true self

no blocks, defenses,

broken, open, transformation

of perception

struggle birthing vision 

You arise to meet me

when barriers are whittled down


This rendezvous with You

adversity has left me broken, 

open hearted seeking, 

seeing You 

this year of Torah journey cracked the walls, 

the light is there

as I see You in all 


In the field this year 

I am unmasked 

we are One


Judith Felsen, Ph.D. is a N.Y.S. Licensed Clinical Psychologist who resides in Bartlett, N.H. at the edge of the White Mt. National Forest. Judith is a lover of and advocate for nature and all life, a hiker, walker, dancer, meditator, poetess, volunteer, gardener, wife and dog mother of two rescue dogs. She offers consulting upon request and spends time practicing and studying various treatment and healing modalities. She is on the board of the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation, the Mt. Washington Valley Havurah and Neskaya Center for Movement Arts. Since Covid-19 Judith and Jack, her husband, have lived in Long Beach, New York where she practices, walks the beach, boardwalk and delights in the garden Jack cultivated. Judith participates in virtual services and is active in the Jewish community of both New Hampshire and New York. This year, Judith and her husband were awarded the JFNH Shem Tov Award for work on Holocaust and Genocide Education, related studies and offerings to the public and other organizations and audiences. Judith and Jack are second generation survivors and work to enhance the end of genocide for all.

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