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 3 Elul – Paying Attention to Roots

by Maxine Lyons Being a passionate gardener, I have been tending several gardens in my yard as well as many flower pots on our large deck so my hands are in dirt quite often these days. I have been transplanting yellow primroses, succulents, day lilies and sunflowers, focusing on the integrity of the roots, noticing how each root system is different. For example, some plants require a full root for transplanting while others need a ...


Earth Etude for Elul 2 – Elul Writing Project

by Molly Bajgot We’re nearing a time when the Earth will not provide as bountifully as it has in the past. In exchange for a loss of resources, I believe the Earth is pleading for us humans to return to ourselves, our deep souls, so we recognize a bounty that lives within us. Could this lead to the feeling of fertility in the human spirit, we may extend the times of plenty. Answering this call is not easy. We cannot stop deadlines so we ...


Earth Etude for 1 Elul – Restoring The New Year for Animals

by Richard H. Schwartz Today is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the month before Rosh Hashanah, when the shofar is blown at weekday morning services (except on Shabbat), and Jews are to examine their deeds and consider how to align their lives more with Jewish values. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, Rosh Chodesh Elul was a New Year for Animals, a day devoted to tithing for animal sacrifices. ...


Earth Etudes for Elul Are Coming

This evening we enter into the last day of the Jewish month of Av. Tomorrow evening we begin the journey through the month of Elul, leading up to Rosh HaShanah and the Days of Awe. Tomorrow evening we begin the process of spiritual preparation, and on Tuesday morning for the first time we hear the sound of the shofar, reminding us of the call to teshuvah, to return - return to the Holy One of Blessing, the Merciful One. To help us along our ...


Parashat Sh’mot – Heirloom Seeds, Our Ancestors, and Friendship

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen My first seeds from the Seed Library arrived in the mail today, part of a gift membership that I had given to myself. Gift packets to my two sons arrived in their mail as well. The packet is artistic, aesthetic, and pleasing not only to the eye, but also to the heart and the soul. Every packet is designed by a different artist. Inside are heirloom seeds, in the one I received are Purple Podded Peas. These are peas ...


Earth Etude for 29 Elul

May We Open Photos by Gabi Mezger Text by Rabbi Katy Allen May we all unfold and open our hearts. May we bloom and blossom in colors vivid and energetic. May we find butterflies in our midst, seeking our sweetness. Thank you for traveling through Elul with us. Thank you ...


Earth Etude for 27 Elul

The Known and the Unknown by Rabbi Anne Heath I celebrated my first Hanukkah amongst my siblings and their children celebrating yet another family Christmas. We had gathered for winter break in Santa Fe, NM, at our brother's home, glad to be together after travels of varying distances and difficulties. My lengthy, made-it-in-one-day drive from St. Louis culminated in a wondrous night ...


Earth Etude for 26 Elul

Hashem's "Gaslands"* by Judith Feldstein My Lord, You sent us not a burning bush, but Your flaming water; a fire that lives in gas and is not drowned in H2O, with flames that are not quenched, and danger not consumed until we hear and live your will and love Your home as part of You. Last year You gave us Elul with the kiss and aftermath of Your Irene's with all the might of ordained winds and ...


Earth Etude for 25 Elul

Rocks in my Life by Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein They say that Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the world. It is an opportunity filled with new beginnings. Everything seems fresh and new. So much more so out in G-d's glorious creation, singing psalms that express that majesty. Many Rosh Hashanah mornings have found me at Plum Island before sunrise or a Walden Pond trying to figure out in Thoreau's words, "I went to the ...


Earth Etude for 24 Elul

MEDITATION on ELUL by Richard H. Schwartz Elul is here. It represents an opportunity for heightened introspection, a chance to consider teshuva, changes in our lives, before the “Days of Awe,” the days of judgment, the “High holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The shofar is blown every morning (except on Shabbat) in synagogues during the month of Elul to awaken us from slumber, to remind us to consider where we are ...


Earth Etude for 23 Elul

Returning from Forgetting by Alexander Volfson Elul, I’m told, is “a time to return to our best selves.” Upon reading these words this time, something struck me: what if we, every year, are perpetually returning from the same forgetting? We would do a greater justice to G-d and ourselves if we took the time to deeply understand why we turned away in the first place. The truth is that the most compelling ...


Earth Etude for 20 Elul

One Sky by Nyanna Susan Tobin "We are all a family under one sky, a family under one sky." Malvena Renolds wrote and sang this song in the 60's. It had a life of it's own and has travelled around the world. I didn't always see the sky. Earthly chores, right of passage, short term goals, shopping, fitting in..... Now I sit on a dock at Lake Cochituate. My eyes can scan the blue waters ...


Earth Etude for 19 Elul

Personal ethics in the face of climate change by Susie Davidson In his master work "Walden," Henry David Thoreau wrote, "We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us." Thoreau, who is largely credited as a forefather of the environmental movement, was issuing a dire warning that progress can, ultimately, lead to enslavement. He sensed that for all the conveniences that new modes of transportation, farming, ...


Earth Etude for 18 Elul

A Broken Sewer Pipe by Maxine Lyons One might inquire-- How can a broken sewer pipe help elicit responses relevant to Rosh Hashana holiday themes? When our sewer pipe broke under our home directly affecting our front gardens and lawn, and a crew came in to excavate nine feet down to access it and repair it, fillers from the earth's bowel began to surface - tons of rubble, debris, clay, stones and brick. I felt incredulous, How ...


Earth Etude for 14 Elul

Elul Greening by Judith Feinstein Have we done the reparation so to take the consolation and digest it all and well? Have we psalms we want to hear releasing some for other's ears while disregarding somber prohets' words? Can we see Akiva's vision, crumbling Temple fox is running as a sign Moschaiach's coming or do we yet deny our state? Do we choose to not attend to what ...


Earth Etude for 13 Elul

Swimming on Our Backs by Rabbi Judy Kummer All week long, a challenge with a family member plagued me. I stewed over it, allowed it to twist my kishkes into tight knots and my body into a ship tossing on waves of wakefulness in nighttime. I even watched it tug at my mind and heart during long lake swims thru otherwise placid waters. Tears and fresh water mixed, a potent cocktail of sadness. And then, during one ...


Earth Etude for 12 Elul

Dirt and Teshuvah by Rabbi Howard A. Cohen One of my favorite lessons to teach when I take a group on a wilderness trip is the dirt method of cleaning up after a meal. It is very simple and effective but invariably elicits chuckles of surprise. After removing all big chunks of left over food by either disposing it in a fire or trash bag people are then instructed to go to the edge of camp and wipe their utensils with dirt ...


Earth Etude for 11 Elul

Maintaining the Climate by Lois Rosenthal “If you go by my statutes and keep My commands and do them, I shall give you rains in their season and the land will give its yield…” Lev 26:4 The ancient Israelites trusted G-d to maintain the seasons in a fixed and repeatable way. They had worked out their lunar/solar calendar and holidays based on planting/harvesting seasons. Droughts were certainly a constant worry, but ...


Earth Etude for 9 Elul

Return to the Land of Your Soul by Adina Allen In Genesis we read that God places Adam in the garden “to serve it and to guard it.” In the rabbinic imagination there are many possibilities for what this description could mean. It could mean that the first human was given the practical task of keeping the garden watered so that plants would grow, or perhaps of protecting the vegetation of the garden by keeping the animals out ...


Earth Etude for 5 Elul

Personal Reflections for Elul: Mindful Turning to the Path of Love Rabbi Jeff Foust For me, the key to the entire Jewish New Year period comes in the month of Elul, the Hebrew month which precedes Rosh HaShanah. I often have heard people complaining about being weighed down by all the emphasis during the holiday on the mistakes and wrong doings in our lives that we need to repair. Elul reminds us that the very foundation ...