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.


Divrei Earth - Spiritual Wisdom from Earth and Torah from Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope Subscribe

Earth Etude for 4 Elul

Enfold me, Earth By Carol Reiman Enfold me, earth, Entwine your thick limbs With mine; Lift me up above Your blushing beauty, Opening me to your new day. Show me how to know you As we whisper in each other's ear-- Willow rustle, Sizzling spray upon the sand; How I meant to help, How I hurt you, How we can heal In easy forgiveness, How I can keep you as You keep me--whole. Dance in freedom,...


Earth Etude for 3 Elul

The Earth Is Crying Out in Pain Rabbi Katy Z. Allen “The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” (Ps. 24:1) The Earth is crying out in pain. Yet, its beauty and mystery shine forth, ever ready to calm us, inspire us, strengthen us, and remind us of our smallness in Creation. We walk in the woods and find wonder in the spring wildflowers. Eagerly we bite into the delicious bounty of the late summer ...


Earth Etudes for Elul

Rosh Chodesh for the month of Elul, 5772, lasts for two days. Saturday is the last day of the month of Av and Sunday is the first day of the month of Elul, and together they mark the beginning of a month-long period of reflection as we travel through the remaining days leading up to Rosh HaShanah, the New Year. Summer is still with us, and the hot, humid days of August often carry thunderstorms, but already the nights are coming ...


Pashat Pinchas – How Much Strawberry Shortcake Should I Eat?

This week's Torah portion, Pinchas, contains instructions about how the Israelites are to divide up of the land once they arrive: "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Divide the land among the tribes, as an inheritance according to the number of the names: with larger groups increase the share, with smaller groups decrease the share. Each is to receive its share according to its enrollment.'" (Num. 26:52-54). The land is ...


To the Stars and Back – Our Quest for Connection / Part 7 of 7

If I am to authentically hang on to my pluralism, if I want to be true to my belief that we should each be allowed our beliefs, I must allow you to believe what you want, even if you want me to believe something else. I must remember that it is what we do with our beliefs that makes a difference in the world. In some important way, it doesn’t really matter what we believe, whether in G!d or in stardust, or in fairies. We all come from the ...


To the Stars and Back – Our Quest for Connection / Part 6 of 7

Another aspect of our connectedness is that we share with each other our need for each other. We can try to live “off the grid,” but it is not really in our genes to do so. Like those ants, we are social creatures. To live totally independently of all other human beings is not how we are programmed, and it takes a yeomen effort to make it happen. Just going to live in the woods isn’t truly getting away from others, not if we ...


To the Stars and Back – Our Quest for Connection / Part 5 of 7

For each one of us, our vision or Big Picture is personal and unique, based on our individual life circumstances and our sense of who we are as a human being. And yet, for all of us, our universal realities intersect. We are all human beings, and like other organisms, we need food, water, air, and a place to lay our bodies down to sleep – even if that place is the street. A baby who is not sufficiently held and cared for – even if it ...


To the Stars and Back – Our Quest for Connection / Part 4 of 7

Related to whether or not to engage with others and with the world is the matter of how we engage. Part of a Talmudic sequence of stories related to seeking forgiveness offers some options. “When a certain person injured Rabbi Zera, [Rabbi Zera] would repeatedly pass before him and invite himself into his presence, so that the injurer would come and appease him.” Moshe Halbertal identifies Rabbi Zera’s graceful entrance into the ...


To the Stars and Back – Our Quest for Connection / Part 3 of 7

Time walking the journey of life makes clear that managing in the world asks us to stand in the “breach,” in the tension, in the paradox between our individuality and our universality. And yet, the breach, the tension, and the paradox also ask us to stand between our own needs and the needs of those around us; between our finite physical selves and our minds and our spirits that reach beyond what we can actually do in the time and ...


To the Stars and Back – Our Quest for Connection / Part 2 of 7

Each of us searches for our identity amidst a sea of human faces. Who are these people around us? How are we connected to them? How much do we overlap in our experiences of life? The questions are complex and the answers not obvious. In my work as a hospital chaplain, visiting patients no matter what their religious persuasion, their country of origin, their cultural background, or their diagnosis, I find both moments of profound connection and ...


To the Stars and Back – Our Quest for Connection

Part 1 of 7 Every evening before going to bed, I step outside and look up at the night sky. When I can see the stars, the sense of seeing into the distant distance and distant time invariably fills me with awe. Recently, with Reb Zusya, Plato, Buddha, and other ancient and modern sages on my mind, I’ve realized that when they stepped out into the nighttime air, they saw the same stars I am seeing today. Among these and many other ...


Day 49 of the Omer

On this last day of counting the Omer, this seventh day of the sixth week, which gives us seven full weeks, we consider Malchut in Malchut - Leadership in Leadership, the ultimate in leadership. Tonight, or some clear night soon, I invite you to step outside, lie down on the ground on your back, and look up at the stars. When you do, you will see celestial bodies that have been where they are for billions of years. You will gaze at a ...


Day 48 of the Omer

On this penultimate day of counting the Omer, we consider the attributes of Y'sod in Malchut, Bonding in Leadership. When we look up at the sky on a clear night, we see a milky section of the expanse of stars, what we have dubbed the Milky Way, which we all know contains no milk and is not a candy bar! It is, rather, our view of the galaxy in which we live - a rotating group of gases and dust and hundreds of billions of stars ...


Day 47 of the Omer

Today we reach the fifth day of the seventh week, and we focus on Hod in Malchut, Humility in Leadership. In gazing at the stars, we often see "stars" that are not really stars. At times, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn shine in the evening, night, or early morning sky near the horizon, and to the naked eye they look exactly like bright stars. In fact, these "stars" are planets, and the light they seem to give ...


Day 46 of the Omer

On this fourth day of the seventh week of counting the Omer, we turn our thoughts to Netzach in Malchut, Endurance in Leadership. Our Sun is a star, and by star standards it is no big deal. There are many other stars that are similar to it. But for those of us here on Earth, it is the Sun that counts, it is the Sun that makes life possible. One could say that the Sun is middle-aged. It is about 4.5 billion years old, and ...


Day 45 of the Omer

Today we consider the Divine Attributes of Tiferet in Malchut - Harmony in Leadership, as we reach the third day of the seventh week of the Omer. The stars are in the sky all the time, during the day and at night, we just can't see them during the day because the light of our star, the Sun, is so bright, not because it is so big, but because it is so close to us, a mere 93 million miles, or 8.2 light-minutes, away. Only at night ...


Day 44 of the Omer

On this second day of the last week of counting the Omer, we focus on Gevuarh in Malchut - Restraint in Leadership. The amount of energy involved in the Big Bang was so unbelievably huge as to be beyond our comprehension. Today, the brightest events in the sky - those releasing the most energy - are supernovae, or exploding stars, which also involve an unfathomable (though significantly smaller) amount of energy, so much energy, in ...


Day 43 of the Omer

Today we begin the last week of counting the Omer, and all during this week, as we count the last seven days until Revelation, we focus on Malchut - Leadership, beginning with Chesed in Malchut, Lovingkindness in Leadership. And this week we focus on the stars. When we look into the night sky, we see only a tiny fraction of the stars in our galaxy, and there are billions of other galaxies out there that we also can't see, each of ...


Day 42 of the Omer

As we reach the end of the fifth week of counting the Omer, we focus on the Divine Attributes of Malchut in Y'sod, Leadership in Bonding. As I walk through the woods today, I am suddenly struck by the dead trees. They are dead, certainly, and yet they are home to so much life. Most readily visible are the bracket fungi I see on some, forming small shelves all the way up the still-standing tree trunk. In one place, I see the ...


Day 41 of the Omer

On this sixth day of the fifth week of counting the Omer, we consider Y'sod in Y'sod - Bonding in Bonding. Some trees are covered with large, bright, decorative blossoms in the spring - magnolias, flowering dogwoods, cherry trees, flowering crab apples. These and others we plant in our yards and parks so we can enjoy their showy blooms. We plant oaks and maples and beeches for shade and spruce and fir for their gracious ...