by Rabbi Marisa Elana James
I’m lying on my back in the grass, watching the sky in late summer and the swallows and bats skittering across the sky. There are only a few clouds, stretching out thinly as the winds drag them by.
Maybe you’ve experienced the moment that I sometimes do, back pressed to the earth, suddenly feeling that I’m getting a taste of the planet’s perspective, that the clouds aren’t moving at all, but instead I’m the one slowly rotating on my axis and spinning in space. The clouds stand still, while I roll backwards into the universe, dizziness setting in as this new orientation disorients me.
Some moments that make us feel small and insignificant are terrifying. This is the opposite. To feel not only how tiny I am, but also how tiny the Earth is in the vastness of the universe, can be glorious, soul-expanding, joyful.
In these moments, so deeply connected to this sweet little planet, I feel most strongly how much we’re in this together. The earth and I are partners in keeping each other alive and healthy and growing. The earth and I, back to back as we face serious challenges, holding each other as we spin together into the future.
Rabbi Marisa Elana James is Director of Social Justice Programming at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, she was previously a college English teacher, competitive ballroom dancer, insurance broker, student pilot, bookstore manager, and professional Torah reader. Marisa and her wife, contrabassoonist and translator Barbara Ann Schmutzler, live in New York City.
by Rabbi Robin Damsky
Here I sit on top of the Mountain, watching the sunset. It is spectacular. Sunsets here always are. This one is that much more extraordinary as it tops off a powerful thunderstorm, a storm in which a vague sun was visible throughout, just trying to set and get ready for tomorrow.
My partner and I moved to the Mountain in December. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but we wanted enough land to start a food forest, raise hens and design a meditation labyrinth of natives and pollinators, so we can teach Body-Spirit-Gaia: mindfulness, physical well being, regenerative agriculture, composting, permaculture… the work of Limitless Judaism.
Being a Shmitah year , and simultaneously following a tenet of permaculture to watch the land for a year before you plant, we have been doing just that: watching. Shema teaches us to hear; there is also listening in our observance.
We’re on a couple of acres. Blessed with no landscaping we have a blank canvas. In our watching we’ve decided to put in two cisterns since the well here doesn’t have heavy output. We’re considering a pond. And thinking where to put a high tunnel for the winter garden.
All this beauty and possibility rests on the anxiety we’ve been living in these last few years: Covid, politics, the ever-shrinking sense of our democracy – which now includes less power in the EPA to regulate pollution – shootings, shootings, shootings with more and more loss of precious lives, racial issues, religious hatred… was it always like this? I don’t think so. Yet we have a sense of community here on the Mountain, a constant reminder of what is good and right, and the commitment to treat our earth with kindness and respect: feeding her, learning from her and with her, and bringing that discovery and wisdom to those we touch. The generosity of the earth is a model for our relationships with ourselves and one another.
I suppose this year has been a kind of teshuvah. It has been a return to the land, watching her and letting her soak up her rest, and through her, learning more about resting ourselves. Certainly this is part of what the Shmitah year is all about, and now that she comes to a close, we ask: what lessons have we learned? What gifts can we take forward? What work is still in front of us to heal us within, in our bodies, souls and psyches? Our inner work fuels our connection with Havayah – the Divine Presence of All, and therefore extends our healing and growth to the beautiful Creation that is our very lifebreath. This is the work and the play of Elul. May we engage our process with compassion and diligence, and may we see our work of heshbon hanefesh – taking account – grow vital shoots from us that connect with the shoots of others, weaving a planet of goodness, kindness, well being and caring for all of Creation.
Identified by Kenissa an innovator redefining Jewish life, Rabbi Robin Damsky recently launched Limitless Judaism™ – a project of learning, movement, meditation, melody, art, tilling and tending that draws the lines of connection between our physical bodies, our spiritual expression and Gaia, our earth cosmos. She is also the Rabbi-In-Residence at Judea Reform Congregation in Durham. She lives in on Thunder Mountain in Efland, NC.
by Gabriella Feingold and Rabbi Louis Polisson
Le’ovdah ule’shomrah (x2)
The storms, they crash, and the fires burn
The rivers flood, and you don’t know where to turn
Give me your hand
And we’ll stand together
For a better day
Le’ovdah ule’shomrah (x2)
We will serve the earth and protect our home
Stand for truth, for justice, for hope
They may turn away and pretend that they don’t see
But still we say “for our children to be free
we must change our course,
let go of the greed
and make a better day”
We’ll show them how we can heal our dying roots
We’ll work the ground and they’ll see the flowers bloom
The-sun comes up again
Though we’ve got no time to lose
We’re on our way
Le’ovdah ule’shomrah (x2)
We will serve the earth and protect our home
Stand for truth, for justice, for hope
Le’ovdah ule’shomrah (x2)
Le’ovdah ule’shomrah (x2)
We will serve the earth and protect our home
Stand for truth, for justice, for hope
Be the truth, the justice, the hope
We are truth, and justice, and hope
Louis & Gabriella are a married duo who compose original Jewish and spiritual folk music. Gabriella feels most spiritually connected in contemplating nature and in considering the needs and emotions that make up the universal human experience. She approaches singing as a practice of embodying and reflecting on those themes. Louis is deeply inspired by traditional modes of Jewish liturgy and uses music to connect to his religious and cultural heritage, bringing the past into meaningful engagement with the present moment through reinterpretation and renewal. Together, they bring you original music, hoping to provide new and wider avenues for Jewish and spiritual experience.
by Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The world is in super-crisis, standing where the ancient Israelites stood at the climax of Exodus: Ahead, a stormy Reed Sea and an Unknown Wilderness. Behind, the hoofbeats of Pharaoh’s horse-chariot Army, offering submission as the price of normalcy.
It took an adventurous activist, to step one – two – a dozen --- steps into the water, up to his nose, on the verge of drowning, before the rush of waters broke, divided, and a path opened up from what had become a Taut Place to signal that the birthing into Unknown could begin. There are some prophetic voices today who will take the first steps into the Unknown to grow a new world of love and justice. Or will the Greed of some and the Fear of others return us to normalcy and subjugation?
The Problem: We face a double existential crisis, intertwined: Earth is under threat of mass extinctions and climate chaos arising from “Corporate Carbon Pharaohs” that bring plagues of fire, flood, famine and disease on large regions and small towns and neighborhoods.
And in the United States and around the world, movements have grown to overthrow democracy, Surrendering to Pharaoh’s army, to corporate overlords who seek to cement their power by-subjugating communities by race, immigrant/refugee status, sex, gender, religion, kinds of work, and low income.
A Theory of Change: The dangers that we face are rooted in spiritual failings – Greed for Wealth and Power, plus Fear of the unknown. Faith communities ought to be, and sometimes are, the embodiment of a world where Greed and Fear are minimal, the values of Love and Justice are central.
And those values need to be actively carried into the world, not nurtured only at home or in a congregation. When great change has happened in America before, faith communities have gone into the streets and polling booths to make it happen. That is what the Prophetic Voice must inspire.
Actifests: Activist Festivals to Transform the Future: The Shalom Center will respond to this super-crisis by activating activist festivals—“Actifests.” We will focus on the Jewish festival cycle, while welcoming allies to our public celebrations aimed at transforming the broader society, and will share in theirs when we are welcomed to their own new Actifests:
Passover Seders in the Streets, confronting those “pharaohs” who are plaguing Earth by burning fossil fuels.
Isaiah’s challenge on Yom Kippur: “The fast God seeks is to Feed the Hungry, Clothe the Naked, House the Homeless, Free Prisoners from their Handcuffs, ” not only chanted in congregations but chanted again during Sukkot at Congressional home offices: “End Hunger in America!” “HouseEvery Homeless Person in America!” until the laws are passed and implemented.
“Share Sukkot, Green and Grow the Vote”: In every Sukkot, we seek to harvest abundance not for the Jewish people alone, but for all the “seventy nations of the world.”
In every Sukkot, we re-member that milchama, the Hebrew for “war,” means “m’lechem, away from bread” – that it is hunger for bread or for dignity that sparks wars and violence.
We remember that we pray, “Ufros alenu sukkat shlomecha, Spread over all of us the sukkah of Your shalom” – not a fortress or a bomb shelter but this vulnerable, leafy, leaky hut is where we can share peace with our neighbors.
Not only the Human neighbors but all the lIfe-forms of our planet, each a necessary part of the Great Eco-System of Echad.
In every Sukkot, but especially this year. For this very year is Shabbat Shabbaton, a seventh year, a Year of Shmita – Release. Release for Earth from being forced to work and release for the pressed-down poor from debt. So next Sukkot comes just after the Year of Release. We hear Moshe Rabbenu, Moses our Teacher, telling us:
And Moshe commanded them, saying: At the end of seven years, at the appointed-time of the Year of Release, on the pilgrimage-festival of Sukkot, when all Yisrael [the Godwrestling folk] comes to be seen at the presence of YHWH [Yahh, the Breath of Life] your God, at the place that the One chooses, you are to proclaim this Instruction in front of all Yisrael, in their ears.
Assemble the people, the men, the women, and the little-ones, and your immigrant that is in your gates, in order that they may hearken, in order that they may learn and have-awe-for YHWH your God, to carefully observe all the words of this Instruction;
And (that) their children, who do not know, may hearken and learn to have-awe-for YHWH your God, all the days that you remain-alive on the soil that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.
(Deuteronomy 31: 9-13å)
So as part of our commitment to address the future with actifests, we must make every effort to make real Hak’hel -- Assemble! -- to challenge the House of Greed and Fear, to give fuller meaning to this Sukkot -- the Festival of Huts, the House of Love and Shalom. We know that we can only sow the seed for a future Harvest.
For example, one approach to connecting prophetic Sukkot vision with contemporary issues and vigorous action this year:
Providing people with simple instructions for gathering at home offices of Senators or Congressmembers or state/local officials, or of national offices or local branches of Chase Banks, or of local gun shops -- shaking the Four Species of branches and fruit in the seven directions of the universe, with suggestions for using North American species if the activists wish.
Add new “Hosha-Na Please Save Us” prayers directed to the Breath of Life, addressing the need for even stronger climate action, for control of guns, for codifying Roe into state and national law. Connect with Get Out The Vote information.
We choose for The Shalom Center this “actifest” role to move and mobilize those who are fed up with celebrating the past while the present and the future dribble blood. We choose this path like a wise individual species or culture in the eco-system; like a wise piece of the jigsaw puzzle, shaping its own unique shape to fit with others in a Unity of bounty.
We choose this path to bring “spirituality” and “eco/social transformation” into a coherent sacred whole.
In an old and exhausted “normal,” the festival cycles of the Jewish people celebrated moments from the past, rooted in the earthy dance of Earth, Moon, Sun. Now they need also to tap into a root that calls forth transformation of the eco/social future.
We choose this path because in the Diaspora, the Festival cycle is the clearest way in which the Godwrestling Folk can make clear our prophetic vision in the seeing of all people. Can choose not bowing low to Pharaoh’s Armies, but to walk through waters of Unknown, into the Wilderness.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center. He is the author of 28 books, including the Freedom Seder, Seasons of Our Joy, Godwrestling --- Round 2, and Dancing in God's Earthquake.
by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
you who make your home in my yard,
I see you wandering,
eating the grass (which is fine),
or the flowers I so carefully planted,
or the vegetable plants I’d thought would be safe--
this year you seem to especially enjoy zucchini,
having devoured their leaves not just once,
but already four times,
and it’s only July.
I remember in the past when I hated you—
or perhaps it was your grandmother,
when I wanted you removed from my yard,
and I tried to deter you,
to get rid of you.
But this no longer works for me.
Instead of you,
the hatred has passed,
I no longer have the strength to fight.
I’ve come to understand that you, too,
are one of G!d’s creatures,
made in the Divine image,
that you were, in essence,
here before me.
Not you specifically, of course,
but your ancestors.
They were munching this patch of land
long before my ancestors invaded your territory.
It’s chutzpadik for me to believe you don’t belong.
What right have I to think I’m more important
I admit it would be dissembling on my part
not to acknowledge the despair and sadness
that overcome me
when my zucchini plants
are suddenly bereft of leaves,
or when the plants I love
don’t burst forth with color
because of your constant munching.
I honor my grief,
holding it gently to my heart,
grateful that I no longer ooze with hatred
and that my desire to destroy is gone,
knowing that I am blessed,
but also knowing that I have much work to do
to extend this to so many others.
,את שעושה את ביתך בחצרי
אני רואה אותך מסתובבת
,אוכלת את הדשא (שזה בסדר)
,או הפרחים ששתלתי כל כך בזהירות
--או צמחי הירקות שחשבתי שיהיו בטוחים
,השנה את נהנית כנראה במיוחד מהקישואים
,לאחר שזללת את העלים שלהם לא רק פעם אחת
,או אפילו שלוש
,אלא ארבע פעמים
.וזה רק יולי
--אני זוכרת בעבר כששנאתי אותך
,או אולי זאת היתה סבתא שלך
,או סבתא רבא
--או סבתא של סבתא
,כשרציתי שאת תיעלמי מחצרי
,וניסיתי למנוע ממך
.אבל השגאה הזאת כבר לא עובדת בשבילי
.כבר אין לי כח להילחם
אחרי הכל, הגעתי להבנה שגם את
,אחד מיצירי האל
,נוצרה בצלם אלהים
,לא בדיוק את, כמבן
הם נשנשו בחלקת האדמה הזאת
.הרבה לפני שאבותיי פלשו לשטח שלך
.זאת חוצפה מצדי להאמין שאת לא שייכת כאן
איזו זכות יש לי לחשוב שאני יותר חשובה
אני מודה שזה היה להעמיד פניפ מצידי
לא להודות את הייאוש והעצב
כשצמחי הקישואים שלי
,פתאום חסרי עלים
או הצמחים שאני אוהבת
לא מתפרצים בצבע
.בגלל הלעיסה התמידית שלך
,אני מכבדת את אבלותיי
,מחזיקה אותן ללבי בעדינות
אסירת תודה שאני כבר לא מטפטפת שנאה
,ושהחשק שלי להרוס נעלם
.בידיעה שאני מבורכת
אבל גם בידיעה שיש לי הרבה עבודה לעשות
.כדי להאריך זאת לכל כך הרבה אחרים
Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY, in 2005, and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the.singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.
by De Fischler Herman
Leaves yellow, wither, and fall
Acorns drop, clacking on the street
It is only the middle of August
The creek shrinks, stalls, and stagnates
Leaves floating, halt, holding in place
We wave the flag for Independence Day
Air swells, heats, and suspends
Strawberries redden, picking time already
And it’s not yet June
Azaleas bloom and leaves unfurl
Long before Mother's Day
Cherry trees blossom, the river retreats
And April’s parade is weeks away
March winds don't blow
February's snow pays no visit
January's weather brings forth no complaint
Hineni—Here I am
In the land of riches
Humans regard Early as a virtue
But Nature begs to differ
Early is okay every so often
But not as a steady diet
Too much Early
Like Jacob wrestling the angel,
Struggles for its very survival
Ice caps melt
And trees weep
Mother Earth and Father Time Yearn for TLC from us,
Their bipedal offspring
It’s Time to wake up, you sleepy heads!
Oh, brothers and sisters,
Can’t you see?
Our parents, and all planetary life, crave
Not only from one another
But from us two-legged children
Who've been playing way too roughly
Long past our bedtime
We've trampled on this Cadillac of playgrounds
(This amazing gift from the Holy One of Blessing,
Who has entrusted it to our care)
We’ve been ignoring our Mother's call to return home Early
So we can have Time to get ready
It’s high Time we see that menucha--rest is in order
We need to return to the family table
With our precious parents and each other,
Enjoy the fresh fruits of the local harvest,
And repair our wounded senses
Only then may we all reconnect with the One
Source of Life
Creator of the Universe
Rabbinic Pastor De Fischler Herman, ordained by the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP), served as hospice chaplain until retiring in 2019. She serves AOP students as a Director of Study (DOS) and is a climate activist, writer, artist, gardener, avid bicyclist, and food distribution volunteer in her community. De lives in Takoma Park, Maryland with her husband and cat.
by Harvey Michaels
There is a tradition that in the month preceding the Jewish New Year in September, we begin our contemplation about our failures, and returning to our true selves - our Teshuvah. We can consider climate change a failure that we all share; a problem created by us all. And since we haven’t yet healed the Earth’s climate, we have more frequent extreme weather, fires, drought, floods, glacier melts, sea level rise, habitat displacement, infestations, and diseases, and the devastation that these cause in some places. But we all feel environmental loss: we recall wonderful days in beautiful places, especially with those we love, and realize that they were precious. But when I look at my young grandchild, I worry – will he still have access to them?
I remind those of us getting more advanced in years, such as myself, that we have to take more responsibility: we’ve cumulatively created more emissions than those who are younger, and also we didn’t do enough to discourage the world’s addiction to fossil fuels, carbon-emitting agricultural practices, and deforesting, which we’ve known to be necessary. We could have done more.
This has happened, despite many of us being dedicated to improving the Environment; and some pursuing education, careers, and political acts towards that goal. I was one, inspired as many were by the wonderful Earth Day 1970; an unparalleled gathering of more than 10% of the population. Our collective work that followed did help clean poisons from our air and water, save energy in our homes, and develop new forms of cleaner energy from the sun and wind, and other things; but nowhere near enough.
In a text of ancient maxims, there is a famous quote of a leading second century Rabbi: It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it. So as one at work in his sixth decade since that first Earth Day, I consider this season: I haven’t finished the work, but have I done enough? Although older, I fortunately can still do much, along with many of my older peers:
We can reduce the emissions we cause, and teach others how to do so. In so doing we can try to encourage and inspire others to Look Up, see what’s coming, and work to prevent it. We can dedicate ourselves to helping those most impacted by what’s been lost. And we can raise our voices in support of those ready to lead us towards the possible solutions that do exist.
When is enough? For me, not yet: I encourage my peers to keep going too. Only when climate change stops, and begins to reverse, have we done enough. For those we love, as well as all those that follow us, for as long as we can, we must try to finish the work.
Harvey Michaels enjoys being an MIT faculty member, teaching and learning about Energy and Climate Innovation, while investigating climate initiatives for cities, the state and federal government. He also engages in environmental justice advocacy, and faith-based environmental initiatives. Before returning to MIT in 2008, Harvey led an energy efficiency company for many years.
by Rabbi Michael Birnholz
It is an adventure to be a garden educator. For me, while I plant produce for food for my home table, I am also planting on my synagogue campus to use the garden to teach Jewish values and the Jewish values of taking care of the garden and appreciating nature. Like many gardeners, I do plan my beds and planting spaces. I have many copies of elaborate maps so the right plant gets into the right spot. However, like many garden educators, hoping to bring my students into the planting experience, the outcome of the planting seldom matches my (elaborate) plans. How often do we say “Humans plan, God laughs?” I have updated it. Gardeners plan and kids plant. Sometimes it is frustrating (those cucumbers need to be next to the trellis) and other times a miracle (those tomatoes are happier near the sprinkler). I have seen the results, as my plan differs from the reality of the planting, range from waste (of a plant, a space, and energy) to wonder.
The challenge of “gardeners plan and kids plant” came to mind as I heard the story of Clay Elder (Act Two: Spring Awakening) In a time of great personal challenge and adventure, a random stranger gave him $200 to attend Sweeney Todd on Broadway. The performance rocked Elder’s world and changed his life dramatically, leading ultimately to a Broadway career. It's an amazing story of a figurative seed being planted, with no plan in mind except to make an impact on the world.
I was reminded that planting seeds is both literal and figurative. Witnessing “gardeners plant and kids plant” in the garden is instructive as we move through the world. Now each time I go into the garden, with students or without, I look at all actions as planting. Whether the spark of the Divine goes to the plant or the planter, whether a literal seed or just a seed of kindness and caring, if it is full of love, joy, care, that energy goes forward. It is a reminder that might not be what was planned or intended, but that act of giving positive energy builds much needed kindness and love (Chesed), spirit and strength (Ruach and Koach) into our world.
Rabbi Michael Birnholz arrived at Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach in 2002 following his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Over the 20 years that Rabbi Birnholz has been in Indian River County, he and his family have had a chance to grow in body, mind and spirit right along with Temple Beth Shalom. Rabbi Birnholz enthusiastically shares his ruach and koach -spirit and strength - with the many diverse generations and facets of the Jewish community. From the biblical garden to tot Shabbat, from Men's club breakfast to adult learning while making challah, Rabbi Birnholz is proud to be part of vibrant and meaningful life of his congregation. Rabbi Birnholz has also enjoyed his wide variety of community opportunities to teach and preach Jewish values and wisdom. His hope is to build Temple Beth Shalom into a House of wholeness, harmony and peace and see these efforts spread caring, compassion and justice to the whole Treasure Coast and beyond.
by Andy Oram
The Unetanah Tokef prayer we say at High Holidays contains the famous phrase "a tiny silent sound" (translated in many ways) from I Kings 19:12. The phrase always grabs our attention because of the unexpectedness of the image. Let's look back at the context of the original phrase in Kings to see how it might help us deal with the onslaught of climate disasters.
I Kings 19 describes the flight of Elijah after he has pulled off the biggest miracle since the fall of Jericho: an extravaganza that brings fire down from heaven to strike a blaze on an altar drenched with water. Elijah's spectacular performance, however, did nothing to bring t'shuvah to the royal family, who chased Elijah out of the country under threat of assassination.
Elijah flees south in despair and resignation, not stopping in the safe haven of Judah but walking another forty days to reach Mount Horeb. He stops there, the site of God's foundational revelation to Moses, as if everything that the Israelites had done since then was null and void. God asks Elijah what he is doing there, and Elijah responds with utter cynicism and hopelessness: "The Israelites have left your covenant...and I appear to be alone."
God comes back with one of the Bible's most striking mystical passages: "And here a great, powerful wind passed...God was not in the wind. And after the wind, a noise; God was not in the noise. And after the noise, fire; God was not in the fire. And after the fire, a tiny silent sound."
A "silent sound"--directly counterposed to the noise that precedes it--is a sound that we cannot hear. Perhaps we are traumatized by the effects that came before, or perhaps we have simply forgotten how to listen to the Earth.
When God asks Elijah again to justify his actions, he answers with the same words as before: "...I appear to be alone." God senses Elijah's trauma and suggests that he go into retirement, appointing a few other people to replace him (I Kings 15-17). Elijah "gets kicked upstairs."
To me, the tiny silent sound has two meanings. First, it's a renunciation of grand, awesome gestures: certainly the noise and fire preceding it in the passage, and by extension the wonders wrought earlier by Elijah to no useful effect.
Second, the tiny silent sound tries to counteract the noise and trauma generated by droughts, hurricanes, floods, and fires that today dwarf Elijah's demonstration. As destructive as these human-made natural catastrophes are, we must also look past them to silent but more portentous destructions: melting permafrost, oceans dying from the heat, disappearing species.
It is not too late to listen to the world. The tiny silent sound is our new way of returning to God and the Earth. Although destruction has been decreed for us, our fate is not yet sealed. As Unetanah Tokef says, addressing the world with righteous acts can help us bypass the worst of the oncoming storm.
Andy is a writer and editor in the computer field. Andy also writes often on health IT, on policy issues related to the Internet, and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. Andy has lived in the Boston, Massachusetts area for more than 30 years. He self-published a memoir, "Backtraces: Three Decades of Computing, Communities, and Critiques", and his poems have been published in Ají, Conclave, Genre: Urban Arts, Heron Clan, Main Street, Nine Cloud Journal, Poetry Leaves, Steam Ticket, and Wild Roof Journal.
by Lorin Troderman
Spirals of death in a season of drought
Av reaches in and grabs a friend,
Mourners lament in whispers
“It’s way too early” I shout
Each in our own way
On Sunday we will gather by the sea
Temple destruction remembrance day
Our earth, a holy temple assaulted by our ignorance
One less sister to help us reverse the tide
Like our ancestors and descendants
my tears join the waves
slowly streaming down,
seeking their source,
caressing skin on its descent
along familiar nodes etched like rivulets in the desert,
From the wellspring of my heart
joy and sadness lay tender trails of salt to my tongue
this taste will initiate tunes of resiliency
active hope will rise up
Triggering Tishrei with its Elul z’man onramp
A season to reflect recalibrate recall return
Here Now in grief
Expressed in community
Our hearts are raw and open
We share our stories of her
Sacred and wise
Friend and midrashic mother
We are heard
We feel her absence
The Tide will shift
Our tears flow out to sea
Back from where they came
Once, long ago, we crawled out from the destruction
In Av, We remember
In Elul, we reflect
In Tishrei, we flow
Strengthened in our capacity to accept
We spiral into life
Lorin Troderman is a fourth year Rabbinical Student and member of the Earth Based Judaism cohort at ALEPH who completed his first three years of Rabbinical School at Hebrew College. He moved to Maine in August 2020 where he has served as the Rabbinic Intern at Temple Beth El in Portland, Director for Southern Maine Hillel, and now serves as the Jewish Chaplain at the Maine Medical Center. Lorin aims to bring his passion for Judaism, a deep pluralistic perspective and a commitment to building healthy sustainable practices into our communities. He lives in beautiful Cape Elizabeth with his partner Sussi and her 15 year old Border Collie/Lab, Jasper. Lorin has two adult sons: his eldest, Dylan, lives in Seattle and younger son Max in Boulder. He loves to walk at sunrise and bask in the miraculous beauty of the Wabanaki Dawnlands.