Spirituality Subscribe

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


Blogs

Earth Etude for Elul 19– Teshuvah in the Desert

by Rabbi Mike Comins ~ In order to acquire wisdom and Torah, one must make oneself hefker, open and abandoned, like this desert. (BaMidbar Rabbah 1) Of the many reasons our tradition offers for why the Torah was given at Sinai, one is particularly relevant for Elul. The desert is an optimal environment to do Teshuvah. More than that. To reach our full potential, we are advised to become like the desert. Why does the desert have the power to change us? First and foremost, the desert is a dangerous place. Like Hagar1 or Elijah2, you can easily lose the way, ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 18 — What I Hope to Be

by Joan Rachlin ~The temperatures, sun, moon, breezes, trees, grasses, plants, and flowers all signal that change is in the air. We’re moving into a new season and a new month, Elul, with its promise of transformation and its possibility of renewal. Elul is when we can hit the reset button and begin again. Sounds easy, but we cannot appeal to the “better angels of our nature” without engaging in Teshuvah, or “return.” There are many interpretations of what “return” means in this context but, in the end, each of us must choose our own ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 17 — Slow Down

by Nyanna S. Tobin Slow food folding like a snail over her slime. I remember my Dad in his slow down days. Even his deep lined smile crept slowly over his face. A thought made Jack Benny sound like a whirled-gig. Perhaps my Dad was waiting for his angel, While she was waiting for him to scream her name. And he never did. He seemed to be a life-long prisoner of Fear. But my escape from that realm, Invited me to gaze around the corner To play hide-and-seek at ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 14 –Inner and Outer Climate Change

by Rabbi Robin Damsky A local toad finds a home in the pot of a rooting African violet (yes, the leaf got displaced). ~It’s been a year of change. Not just a move, but a move to a new climate zone and a very new culture. I moved from outside Chicago to Durham, NC, the South. The trees here are glorious – pines everywhere, wisteria in April blooming in the wild, crepe myrtle in vivid fuchsia and pale pastels just now. It’s hot. Average days are in the 90s and one can almost swim in the humidity. A long growing season brought daffodils in February, while I just ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 16 — Prayer for the Two-Leggeds

by Daniel Kieval To listen or join in prayer: This is the time for us to finally come home This is the time to know that we are not alone To find our selves in a deep ancient web This is the time to be embraced by the land Kissed by oceans, taken by the hand Rooted down into this deep ancient web Receive us now Retrieve us now Redeem us now This is the way that we awake from a dream Wander out into life's ever-flowing stream Listen now to the deep ancient web This is the place that gave birth to us in love We are the children that Earth is dreaming ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 15 —

T'shuvah is an answer. by Andy Oram ~ At High Holidays we speak intently and repeatedly of T’shuvah (תשובה), by which we mean repentance or returning to God. T'shuvah does mean "return", but it also means "answer." We have to answer both God's and a world that is dying before our eyes. How can we answer? How can we approach the High Holidays with the urgency demanded us of from the modern world? In these times of imminent destruction, we also seek an answer to our plea for deliverance. And when seeking answers, Jews turn back to the riches of Torah. The ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 13 –Spiritual Lessons from God’s “Art Museum”

by Rabbi Dorit Edut “Ma rabu ma’asecha, Adonai; kulam b’hochma aseeta; malu ha-aretz kinyanecha-- How numerous are Your works, O Lord; with wisdom You fashioned them all; the earth abounds with Your creations!” These words from the weekday morning blessings before the Shema prayer, were on my lips constantly as I traveled through “God’s Art Museum” in Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon this summer. At every turn was another gasp at an amazing sight – truly photographers’ and artists’ paradise! Using only wind, water, red sandstone, white ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 12 –Two Poems

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D. Urban Garden Urban garden tiny patch of heaven nestled amidst brick and stone; kales and chards salute the sky bok choy sentry elegant, celery, parsleys hold court while lettuce species dance, each offering a breath of life oxygen of garden’s greens infuses air lungs spared inhale may urban gardens grace this world, edible planted prayers of green reviving life and city air; urban garden blessing ground and all Urban garden tiny patch of heaven nestled amidst brick and stone; kales and chards salute the sky bok choy sentry elegant, ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 10 — Earth Mother

by Carol C. Reiman ~ She holds us in her arms, charms us with star sparkle eyes, lilac breath, song of rippling water over stone. She tells us our story, from deep in the loam of her heart, fed by rains and heat, warmth, cold, into the family of breezes, currents, creatures— those like us and not. Movement in spurts, and slow, creeping, climbing, sliding, changing skins and gestures, while we grow along with our earth siblings, cousins, at pause and in dance, flowing in mutual ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 8 –A Year of Travel, A Year of Wonder

by Susie Davidson Photos (from top left clockwise): Louisiana Bayou from Amtrak; Maine foliage; Hills of Mexico, Del Rio Texas; Susie Davidson at El Paso Crossing; Banyan tree, Miami, FL. ~ Over the past year, I've had many unforgettable experiences in different countries and regions, within amazing, varied landscapes. There is nothing like discovering and living in a new environment. The languages, cultures, geography, and people are so different. However, it is within these strange surroundings that I have conversely noticed what is similar. There are common ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7 — To Everything There is A Season

by Maxine Lyons ~ Growth takes many forms and like other Jewish seekers, I rely on the life-cycle events to provide a framework for growth, celebrating nature and new life, knowing that to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. I started this year’s Elul preparation in June, with conscious gratitude for the experience of becoming a grandmother for the first time in my 70’s and ready to welcome a second grandbaby due to arrive before Rosh Hashanah. Through my work as a professional educator with older adults for several ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 6 — God I Am Your Sapling

by Nakhie Faynshteyn ~ God I am your sapling Let me take in your sunlightso that I may nourish my leavesAnd grow vibrant and green Let me take in your rainsand let them soak into my roots beneath the ground I will be nimble and bendMy branches will stretch and sprout budsWhile my roots hold me firm and planted God I am your sapling Nakhie Faynshteyn is a first generation immigrant from Odessa, Ukraine who lives in the Fenway area in Boston. He is as climate and social justice activist working with the Sunrise Movement, Kavod and Boston Workmen’s Circle ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 4 — Experiencing G!D in the Wilderness

by Rabbi Greg Hersh ~ Elul is the time of year where we can take a break from our routine and set ourselves on a path of returning to our purest and best selves. For many Jewish people, this involves getting dressed up and attending long services. In addition to (or in lieu of) those experiences, we can also accomplish these annual goals by stepping into the natural world, just like our teacher, Moses. One day, Moses was doing his usual work of tending Jethro’s flock, when he decided to “turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 3 — 200 Jewels

by Thea Iberall ~ I had a medical emergency. The room felt like the galley of a sinking ship and I was lurching against the walls. The doctor said my heart had become irregular. He handed me blood thinners and I wanted to run away. My mind flooded with trying to figure out what to do. His western medicine uses empirically-based tools and years of rigorous scientific testing. It’s ingrained into us to believe doctors. But this medicine is what killed my father. Besides, it is only one model, one that continually evolves. Look at how much Western medicine has ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 2: A Plan

by Judith Black ~When despair for my planet came ramming down my door, my heart, my hope, I stood crushed. When despair entered my bloodstream and resonated as cancer, I nodded toward death. When despair began to drive away friends, family, like a toxic odor, I kept belching it out. Then Spring woke the earth. It bloomed in every color imaginable. It smelt like the heaven of the very good. It started to grow cabbage and weeds and insects and flowers. It lives. If this mother of us all has the resilience to wake up and give life, who am I to lose hope? ...

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Re-Turning, Turning Around, Turning Toward: What Does it Take?

by Rabbi Katy Allen ~ The Jewish month of Elul is almost here. It's meant as a beginning of our process of turning and re-turning and returning to G!d as we prepare for the most holy day of the year, Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement. It is a time to turn away from that which is not good for us, others, and the world, and to turn toward healing, wisdom, blessing, and all that is good for us, others, and the world. Common wisdom reminds us that it requires 21 days - three weeks - of doing something in order to change. Elul has 29 days. And then there are 10 more days ...

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I want to invite you to BeLoved Shabbaton! Rosh Chodesh Elul Jerusalem Hills

B"H Shalom I want to invite you to: The FIRST EVER BELOVED SHABBATON: A Shabbaton Experience: Celebrating SHABBAT & Commitment to the World! Environmentally Friendly : Vegan : Wholesome : Halachic Fresh Farm to Table an Enchanting Shabbaton to reconnect to our Beloved. a celebration of Eco Torah natural living, wellness, & sustainability For Families, Individuals Raw food foodies and vegan connoisseurs, meditators people who love praying, learning, holistic natural living Torah! Learn Pray Sing Dance Meditate Eat Wholesome Holy Food Prepared ...

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The Dead Sea Revival Project

Vision- Rehabilitation of the historical water flow to the Dead Sea from the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. Purpose The Dead Sea Revival Project (DSRP) aims to become a leading NGO for environmental education and activism. We want to stimulate the growth of global support for “saving our water treasures” by exciting the imagination of individuals and groups. About The 'Dead Sea Revival Project has been recognized by CNN/VR, National Geographic, the Israeli mainstream news media in Hebrew and English, the Israeli Knesset’s “Committee for Saving the Dead ...

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Purim: The Anti Addiction Holiday

My kids have only seen me get drunk in one situation: at the Purim meal. Because that is basically the only time I do get really drunk. I’ll have a drink or two when friends come over for Shabbat or just for a get together, and I’ll sometimes take a beer out of the refrigerator to watch a ball game or occasionally have a glass of wine as I’m relaxing on a quiet evening. But pretty much I only get drunk on Purim. I do it because it is a mitzvah on Purim to drink “ad delo yada” —until you can’t tell the difference between “cursed is Haman and ...

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People as Letters, Israel as Torah

In our up-coming Organic Torah webinar class “The Royal Road to Relational Spirituality” we’ll be looking at an amazing commentary by the Piazetzner Rebbe in which he talks about getting our spirituality into our whole beings. Though his commentary starts on the story of Noach, it includes a very interesting observation on this week’s Torah reading which tells of the Receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, on the verse “and the whole people saw the voices…” [Exodus 20 :14]. This “synesthesia” or mixing of the senses, is remarkable enough, and gives a ...

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