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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Earth Etude for Elul 23 – Adonai, Adonai

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen Adonai, Adonai, G!d, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness and truth, showing compassion to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. (Ex. 34:6-7) G!d speaks the Divine name twice! Wouldn't once be enough? Whose attention is G!d trying to reach? The medieval commentator Rashi teaches that “Adonai” is G!d's attribute of compas...


Earth Etude for Elul 22 – For Lifts

by Nyanna Susan Tobin I am helped by...Remembering that where ever I sit or stand, it is sacred ground. Sometimes it is hard to believe this wisdom. But, If I can re-remember my roots, and my strong belief that we are all apart of the on-going cycles of creation and of unraveling, then I can wake up and realize the miracle of this moment. One of my goals for this summer was to slow down, and honor my desire for living closer ...


Earth Etude for Elul 21 – How Do You Meet the World?

by Alexander Volfson There are many ways to look at life. This lens through which we perceive reality affects how we feel and how we act. Elul, a time of returning, is a perfect opportunity to reflect on our lenses. Is our outlook truly helping us be the best self we can be? Sometimes we can get into phases where we're caught up in one particular lens. You might notice a particular pattern of thought you're reenacting, ...


Earth Etude for Elul 20 – When the Land is Allowed to Rest

Photos by Robyn Bernstein, text by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen The sabbatical year, or shmita (meaning 'release') is the seventh year of the seven year agricultural cycle described in the Torah and applying to the Land of Israel. During the shmita year, the land lies fallow, debts are forgiven, and all of creation is allowed to rest. In this country, land set aside as conservation land is allowed to rest for ...


Earth Etude for Elul 19 – The Nature of Quiet

by Joel Wool The blood is thrumming through my veins as, once again, Saturday, I wake up with the buzz of the week still driving my heart and mind, a sense of rush and to-do crowding out any notion of rest. A glass of water on the windowsill, dappled with light, catches the shifting beams of sunrise as I reach out to recharge my body, lukewarm moisture rolling on the tongue, and peer out the window, searching out the ...


Earth Etude for Elul 18 – Reflections on the Seasons of My Mourning

by Leslie Rosenblatt Almost a year ago my husband Marty succumbed to the ravages of cancer, leaving us on a Fall evening in October. Although this event was not unexpected we had been hopeful that he would live longer with Hospice in place. We had no idea how very sick he was and how soon the end would come. He came home from the hospital for the last time on Yom Kippur. Just days ago we had sat for ...


Earth Etude for Elul 17 – Do Not Be Daunted

by Susie Davidson Last week, my brother said to me, “Why do you spend so much time working for the environment and trying to change the world? It is hopeless.” He then cited an activist friend who, for decades, has been researching and trying to uncover the full story behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Despite a History Channel episode on this issue that he helped bring about, he has virtually gotten ...


Earth Etude for Elul 16 – Memories for the New Year

by Carol Reiman I think a lot about memory as I listen to my 93-year-old mother. Her short term memory has changed to the point at which she rarely remembers what or if she has eaten a few hours ago, but she thinks a lot about her childhood and into her married life 60 years ago. She says that she doesn't miss people so much but that she misses scenery. While I know that my mother does miss people, nature has played a large role ...


Earth Etude for Elul 15 – Caring for the Planet

by Rabbi Laurie Gold “When God created the first human beings, God led them around the Garden of Eden and said: ‘Look at my works! See how beautiful they are; how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.’” (Midrash Kohelet Rabbah, 1 on Ecclesiastes 7:13) I read this midrashic story only ...


Earth Etude for Elul 14 – Seeing the Beauty

by Sandra Daitch Last night I returned from a week-long trip out west with my brother and his family. My brother planned a wonderful itinerary and I was gifted with seeing and experiencing the magnificence and beauty in nature. I saw Muir Woods, Scenic Coastal Route 1 in California, theGrand Canyon, and the red hills/mountains, in Sedona. In these places in California and Arizona, ...


Earth Etude for Elul 13 – Resistance

by Lois Rosenthal There is resistance to the waning of the year These late summer days of afternoon warmth Sun’s glare softened by a chill A bit of orange creeps in to the solar yellow Fall is almost upon us, Elul is here Time to think about wrapping up this old year And stepping into the next There is resistance Remember last year’s beginning? The intentions, the clarity of changes ...


Earth Etude for Elul 12 – The Season of Change

by Rabbi Howard Cohen Fall is the season of change. Leaves turn colors, days grow shorter, and birds begin to migrate. Animal fur grows thick; layers of fat are laid in. Water warmed all summer by the sun slowly begins to sink to the bottom of the lake and displaces the colder less dense water. Everywhere you turn, change is in the air. When I think of the high holy days I think of change. Our ancestors called this change ...


Earth Etude for Elul 11 – A Thorny Dilemma

by Rabbi Judy Weiss My younger son left on July 16 to take a job in Israel. As he was packing, he asked me when would I visit him. I choked out the words, "I'm not going to visit you." Actually, I would love to visit, see what his life is like in Tel Aviv, and spend time with him. Yet, I'm afraid my trip would destroy his future. If I visit, flying 12,000 miles round-trip, my share of the plane's carbon ...


Earth Etude for Elul 10 – Ready for Withering Flowers

by Sarah Chandler I'm familiar with your story This gratitude you cultivate helps ground you And yet, do you really deserve to ask for more? The answer to this question will give you the balance you seek Sometimes you need a reminder that we already said farewell to the month of Av As it is written in Job: "Man born of woman is short of days, and fed with trouble. He blossoms like a flower and withers, ...


Earth Etude for Elul 9 – Calling For This Year’s Blossoms and Weeds

by Rabbi Dorit Edut This year I decided to take photos of my garden during each of the different seasons, and it is quite amazing to see the development of the various perennials and how the overall face of the garden alters. It is quite astonishing, too, to find flowers growing in places we never planted them – including a beautiful white hydrangea bush that seems to have come ...


Earth Etude for Elul 8 – An Etude for an Ode

by Maggid David Arfa As I enter into teshuvah, into fierce self examination, into the landscapes of guilt and renewed responsibility, I worry about stumbling into the bottomless pit of despair. After all, in systems, every part matters. In systems, every individual action contributes to outcome. How do I feed family fights, community squabbles, ruined habitats and global wars? The list grows and grows and the pull ...


Earth Etude for Elul 7 – For the Gardener

by Judith Felsen My Love, You made for me a garden filled with care and sown with grace. Your seedlings flourish, offerings of life and sustenance. Each shining leaf extends a blessing from Your heart to mine, delicious kisses placed upon my lips, digested gratefully with prayer. There is no source but You and through Your garden light does ...


Earth Etude for Elul 6 – Today the World is Born

by Rabbi David Seidenberg On Rosh Hashanah we hear the shofar and call out, "Hayom Harat Olam"! "Today is the birthday of the world; today the world is born." So says the liturgy according to most readings. And this birthday is not just one of celebration: "Today the world stands in judgment." These two motifs alone should give us pause today to consider what we are doing to the ...


Earth Etude for Elul 5 – Journey to a Mountain Pond

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen The word makom in Hebrew means place, or space, but it has also come to be a name of G!d. Some places take on more significance in our lives than others. They touch us more deeply, or are associated with significant memories. For me, one of these is a place I have come close to, but have not yet seen with my own eyes. Yet just through proximity, it has touched me deeply, ...


Earth Etude for Elul 4 – Rainbows

by Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein “Red and yellow and pink and blue, purple and orange and green. I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow tune.” There are many songs about rainbows. This is one that I learned at Girl Scout Camp many years ago. Since that summer rainbows have had a special place in my heart. Learning the story of Noah in a parshat hashavua class in college was ...