Intentional Communities Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on intentional communities.


Blogs

Earth Etude for Elul 26- We Will be the Change We Want to See

  We will be the change we want to see   I am squatting I am wringing laundry with my hands I am picking chunks of dirt from the soles of my feet   I am learning to smell the open sewer when I breathe in and out   I am walking I am jostling in a vikram, in a small car that must have the air conditioning switched to off in order to make it up the Himalayan Mountain where love calls   I am exhausted I am exhilarated I am joyful   I am fretting as we weave ourselves up the steep slope and you can ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 24- Elul Love and Joy

by Maggid David Arfa   I’d like to speak about Joy.  I know that Elul is upon us; a time for relentless self-reflection, spurred on by the blasts of shofar.  And yet, the rabbis in their complexity have added another dimension to Elul, Love. Remember the acronym for Elul?  It’s from the Song of Songs, Ani l’dodi v’dodi li - I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.  Reciprocal love is spiraling back and forth right here in Elul along with our lists of how we missed the mark.  Isn’t this worthy of attention?  What might it mean?   ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 23- Teshuva and Beauty

by Lois Rosenthal   The weekly Haftorah readings follow the story of the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land.  The writing styles vary greatly, from poetry to historical prose. Of particular note are writings from the time of the divided kingdom. Conquests of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah were seen by the prophets as divine punishment for failure to follow the Torah.  The writings from this time are full of harsh rebukes and biting metaphors. This is the type of reading found in the weeks ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 22- “Yeah, I Think We Should Kill Them All”

By Alexander Volfson I wasn't sure visiting Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial, would leave an impression on me; after all, I had heard it all before. Not only that I had absorbed the notion that all of humanity's reckless violent ways were behind us. Genocide, alas, is so common that it has its own major in college, which, unfortunately, does not fall under archaeology. Remarkably, this practice continues to this day. The typical story arc of the Holocaust goes like this: those awful Germans wanted to murder all the Jews and almost got away with it. ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 21- What Does Atoning and Returning to God Mean?

by Rabbi Judy Weiss   Ps. 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my rescue. Whom should I fear?" For an entire month before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we focus on atoning and returning to God. But what exactly, in real life terms, does atoning and returning to God mean? We plan our path to return by adding Psalm 27 to our daily prayers. This psalm repeatedly affirms hope in God. It ends with: Ps 27:14 "Let your heart be firm and bold, and hope for the Lord." As Robert Alter comments, the Psalm opens and closes with the same sentiment "It begins by affirming trust in God ...

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Earth Etude for Elul- Turning and Returning

by Daniel Kieval   What is the shape of time? This question may sound strange, but it actually guides us to understand the process of teshuvah, our great task at this time of year.   In one dimension, time is circular, repeating in endless cycles. “And the seasons they go round and round…” Every year in the natural calendar, the same seasonal patterns repeat at the same times. In the Jewish calendar, we observe the same holidays, rituals, and rhythms each year. In the process of teshuvah we return to our self, coming home to who we were before ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 19- Soul Accounting in the Year of Release

  by Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips   Ecology and economy, spirituality and social justice are directly connected in our Jewish values of heshbon (accountability).  Every time we open our wallets or check our bank balances, we face issues of heshbon — no less than when we search our souls (heshbon hanefesh) during this Season of Turning.   How are we “spending” each day of our lives?   The ancient sage Ben Zoma (Mishnah Avot 4:1) taught that the wise are those who learn from every person; the brave are those who control ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 17- Meditation on Elul

by Richard H. Schwartz   Elul is here. It represents a chance for heightened introspection, an opportunity to do teshuva and improve 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 in our lives and to urge us to make positive changes.   How should we respond to Elul today? How should we respond when we hear reports almost ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 16- The Compost Bin in Our Hearts

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen   My compost bins are so much more than just a place where compost happens. The area beside the three wire and wood bins is place where I often feel my father’s spirit – he was raised on a farm, and though he became a professional, gardening was in his blood, and he spent much of his spare time in his garden and his orchard.   Yet, it is not just the reminders of my father or the sense of his hovering spirit that gives meaning to my compost bins. They are symbolic of so much – which may be more the truer reason that I think ...

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Why Jewcology Matters

It feels good to be back blogging on Jewcology after a 6 month hiatus.  During this period, my wife gave birth to a baby boy and we moved from NYC to Maryland.  Although it has been a very hectic time, as those with children or nieces/nephews know, the birth of a child changes one's perspective on the world.   I have been involved with Jewcology since its inception and think it serves a very important purpose.  I am thrilled that a new group of individuals has become involved, breathing a new sense of energy into the movement, including the launching of the redesigned ...

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Earth Etude 15- Looking at the Whole Picture

By Susie Davidson   As a writaholic, I am also a readaholic. As we move forward in our chosen missions toward creating communities that feed, nurture and sustain (while protecting) all the inhabitants of the earth, I believe that it is also incumbent upon us to remain informed about the news of the day and the topics that affect underlying societal infrastructures.   Certainly, some of these infrastructures seem entrenched to the point of impermeability, none more so than the economic systems that govern world relations and, therefore, virtually every facet of ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 14- Elul’s Comin”

by Judith Felsen   In days of Av anticpatin’ I have done my exploration searching, seeking digging deeper all to clear the space as greeter. From the bottom of my looking I can sense great times are coming soon our King will sure arrive and in fields we both will thrive. Therefore now and always ever will this earth be seen as heaven by all those who now know its glitter shimmering sparks both there and hither. May we join in joyful meeting in all lands we’ve tilled this season. Welcome King, we greet your visit ...

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Earth Etude 13- The Flood

by Rabbi Dorit Edut   The meteorologists predicted a possible heavy rainstorm and suggested bringing an umbrella to work.  But as I drove home from an interfaith conference, I got a call from my husband announcing: “ You’ll have to swim home – everything is flooded here.” My heart stopped beating for a minute when I heard this, realizing that all my rabbinic books and papers, many photograph albums including those from my parents’ lives in pre-Holocaust Europe, all our children’s albums and  memorabilia, my father’s award-winning black and ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 12- Growing Teshuva

by Maxine Lyons I am often looking for ways to connect to teshuvah even during the leisurely days of summer. Teshuvah for me is turning to those thoughts and actions that help me to become my better self, following those practices that nourish my growth to know peace - shalom - and to reach greater wholeness - sh'lemut. As I pursue personal growth, I resonate to the Hebrew word, hitpatchut, growth through an openness and receptivity to change.This summer I have focused on ways to practice with greater compassion in how I spend my time and focus my energy as I take on ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 10- Topsy Turvy Bus

by Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein   The world seems a little topsy turvy these days. A plane missing. 223 girls kidnapped in Nigeria. 3 teen agers kidnapped and murdered in Israel. A plane shot out of the sky. Israel in Gaza. Rockets in Israel. Too many children killed in the streets of Chicago. Too many deaths. When does it stop?   In the Fox River Valley, Illinois, after a punishing winter of epic proportions, it is nice to be outside. Six congregations, part of the nascent Prairie Jewish Coalition, sponsored the Topsy Turvy bus.   What is a ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 9 – A Cry in the Night: My Decision not to Consume Dairy

by Diana G.   A memory: Our newborn is up again. I turn to the clock. It’s 4:25 am. Less than three hours since she last awoke. My husband and I are exhausted, and we lie quietly for a few moments, willing our daughter back to sleep. But her cries are persistent. Who knows if she’s hungry, cold, or simply distressed and looking for comfort?   Regardless, we’ve reached our “give-her-a-moment” limit; there’s only so long one can ignore an infant baby’s cries. My husband grabs for his glasses, makes his way to the nursery, and returns ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 8 – Waves on the Beach

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen I stand on the beach. Waves--      I hear them, see them, rising, falling, splashing, foaming. Deep within me    waves form,   rise up, are released, unite with the ocean waves. Throughout my body   sadness.... grief.... despair.... engulf me. The Earth is suffering. I cannot simply stand, sit, lie, relax. Act, I must, driven by my grief,  by my love, by the waves, in order to live with myself, with the Holy One of Blessing-- who is able to quiet waves, in the sea, in my soul-- who continues ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7- Rosh Hashanah Shemittah Seder 5775

Created by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, to be shared, celebrated, and enjoyed Click here for a downloadable version to print out and use at your Rosh HaShanah dinner.   Ever since the first breath of creation, time has unfolded in cycles of seven. Six days reach their crescendo in the seventh day, Shabbat - the Sabbath, the day of rest. Six years reach their crescendo in the seventh year, Shemittah - the sabbatical, the year of renewal. Seven cycles of seven years reach their crescendo in the Jubilee year, the ultimate enactment of re-creation.   All ...

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Living with Change

Earth Etude for Elul 6 by Rabbi Howard Cohen   The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilisation.  Ralph Waldo Emerson   With the approach of the season of Teshuvah it is once again time to reflect on our relationship with the earth.  In the past I would have asked myself questions such as ‘did I waste natural resources’; or ‘did I pour unreasonable amounts of carbon into the atmospher’; or ‘did I speak out against corporate environmental abuse’.  These questions are important but I believe that there is ...

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Giving Yourself an Autumn Break

by Andrew Oram This time of year always seems a hurricane of activity: coming back from vacation to reams of email, or starting school, or dealing with all the pent-up housework that went blissfully ignored during the easy summer months. Traditionally, Jews see this time of year very differently. Like typical Americans, this period is for them both an ending and a beginning: a recognition of the waning of life and an invigorating harbinger of new possibilities. But in place of the chaotic hurricane that starts for us after Labor Day, many Jews launch a period of ...

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