a prayer for Yom Kippur


If I come to you with a repentant heart,
will you stay your strong left hand?

If I bow down and ask your forgiveness,
may I see the glory of your face?

If I admit the years I denied the truth your existence were because of my own fear,
will you catch me with your loving right hand and shelter me from my own doubt?

For here I am, barely able to breathe in the awesomeness of your presence,
please wrap me in your Infinite Love and let me continue to be aware of the Unity that binds us together eternally.

In this season of turning and returning, may we find signs of The One we seek,

“for want of appreciation”


“As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines.  Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind.  We will not perish for want of information, but only for want of appreciation.”

— Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Next week is Yom Kippur, the day on which Jewish tradition teaches G-d seals The Book that tells who, during the next year, will live or die.  Rabbi Heschel’s quote reminds us that there are more forms of death than just the physical.  Our souls can experience a death of sorts, if we wander through our daily existence without appreciating any of the wonders and miracles that unfold around and within us.

On this, the first Shabbat of 5775, may each of us find a moment or two to look at our world with renewed wonder, and may we take that wonder with us throughout this year so that we might truly live, not just physically, but spiritually as well.

Shanah tovah and Shabbat shalom!



In clouds what I see . . .



Many times I’ve been asked, “what do you see in the clouds?” And I’d no words for what I should say. For the answer was hidden there inside of me, in a mystical, word-absent way.  In clouds what I see is my own immortality, my soul floating through time and ‘cross space. For though I’m here now, I somehow know other places; other times I do know like they’re mine. There are people I know that I simply could not, if my soul had not known them elsewhere. I don’t know the where, and I’m not sure the when, but I no longer worry ’bout those. I just know that my soul is part of The Soul, that was, is, and always will be. And I float thru my days like a cloud in the sky, going wherever Ruach Elohim will take me



this path


Once in frustration
I shattered the tablets,
thinking I’d make my own way.
But that map it was Holy,
so I had to re-carve it,
after my ego was dethroned.

Now the future hurtles toward me,
but I’ve no more fear
of what G-d might have planned for me there.
I was born for this path.
It is not of my making.
G-d’s ‘finger’ had carved it in stone.

I don’t know the timing
or how it will happen,
but I see now where my path ends.
And that hum in my bones?
It’s the universe calling,
to remind me that I’m not alone!

praying Shabbat brings shalom, jen

“. . . just a hallucination?”

A couple of weeks ago during lunch with a friend, as we talked about our journeys, she asked me what the experience of meditation was like for me. I explained that some days I am so distracted by concerns about family and friends that I spend most of the time processing problems and trying to clear my mind of life’s distractions. But then other days, when I am more at peace, my mind is clear, and I experience myself filling up with so much love and light that my chest might explode and I feel like I surely must be hovering above the ground where I had been sitting.

Much to my surprise, she quietly asked, “Do you think it’s just a hallucination?”

There was no judgment in her tone, but I looked at her for a long moment as I put aside my fear and tried to assess whether she was looking for a particular answer. Then, speaking from my heart, I gave her the only answer that I have:

“I don’t honestly know . . . .  But I don’t think it matters, because every time I have that experience, I walk away from it being more certain that all of us [gesturing at all the people around the restaurant] are essentially the same.”

By this time, I was crying, and my friend put her hand on my arm as I continued:

“It’s true that we’ve all had different life experiences, but . . . in our hearts, we are the same. We all just want safety and adequate resources for ourselves and those we love, to raise our children in peace, and we want to know that our lives have meaning . . . real meaning that makes it worth experiencing all the crap that we experience as we just try to live our lives.”

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe other people really do want something besides just security and meaning.

But that’s what I find in the silence of meditation . . . this idea that if we could live in a place where everyone believed every person’s life has meaning and where every person took seriously the obligation to respect every other person’s need to have security and adequate resources to live simply, but comfortably . . . that would be the messianic era . . . “Heaven on Earth” . . . we could beat our swords into plowshares because there would be no war, and there would be no starvation because we would share whatever resources exist . . . it seems so simple and so beautiful . . .

The Love and Light that fill me up . . . maybe those are just a hallucination . . .

But the world I can imagine, where I live with security (but without material excesses), while surrounded by others who do not doubt that our lives have great meaning . . . that is not a hallucination . . . that’s what my soul needs, and I’m going to find a way to make it reality on whatever scale G-d Wills . . .

shavua tov, jen


390 million years ago


The Falls of the Ohio State Park, in Clarksville, Indiana, just across the river from Louisville, Kentucky, contains an amazingly huge fossil bed that was uncovered by the river.  Believe it or not, 390 million years ago, this area of the United States was covered by warm sea that permitted the growth of a coral reef.

Looking south from on fossil beds toward Louisville:


Bottom half of a fossilized clam shell that was bigger than my foot:


Fossilized Sea Anemone that was about the size of a large cantaloupe:


Seeing the remnants of animals that lived 390 million years ago is quite a reminder of how short our lives are and how important it is to make the most of each day!!
shavua tov, jen