I give thanks

For everything I am
For everything I’m not
For who I was
For who I will be
For every moment of this crazy Journey
I give thanks.

pleasure and pain
joy and sorrow
love and anger
All comes from Gd
and so, for All,
I give thanks.

For the agony of familial rejection and shame
that led to years I couldn’t look in a mirror,
I give thanks.

For the pitch-black darkness of spiritual exile
that preceded the blinding light of redemption,
I give thanks.

For those who truly see me
For those who don’t
For my Angels
For the evil inclination
For infinite opportunities to grow
I give thanks.

From the Unity, I came.
To the Unity, I will return.
And, Baruch HaShem,
in the Unity, I remain.
For the peace I found in that Truth,
I most certainly give thanks!


Praying each of you also has much for which you are grateful
this Thanksgiving and always, jen




Hasidim of the shtetls shared wonderful tales of their Rebbes, “lofty souls” sent from Heaven to “illumine the darkness of exile*:”
Miracle workers
…who led other souls to Gd.
They didn’t just teach Torah,
they turned lives into Torahs,
and showed others to see
the divinity that infuses all things.

. . . I once met a Zaddik
who could set aside her ego.
She turned my life into Torah
and walked me back to Gd.

What a blessing it is to know
Gd still sends lofty souls
to illumine the darkness of exile**!

Shabbat shalom, jen



*Both of the phrases in quotations were taken from page 16 of Rabbi Louis Jacobs’ book Hasidic Prayer (Schocken Books 1972).
The ‘exile’ to which Rabbi Jacobs refers is the physical exile from Jerusalem.

**The exile to which I refer is spiritual exile from Gd and/or from one’s own soul (the root of which is Gd).

The photo is of a yarmulke or skull cap worn by Hasidim who follow the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who was the great-grandson of the Baal Sham Tov.

The Portal


     There is a place where reality meets reality, a portal through which our souls can slip, and in that other -eternal- reality, the problems of this mortal life melt like tiny ice cubes in the light of the blazing hot summer sun. There is Joy. There is Love. And there is a melody that can’t quite be heard but toward which my soul yearns to grow, so that I too might learn to hum along with the angels as the one and only infinite and eternal Gd dances our Universe into being.

      And where, you might ask, is that portal? 

     It appears anywhere a person of faith –any faith– accepts the present moment and calms her mind enough to pass through the thin veil that separates reality from reality, finite from infinite, momentary from eternal. 

      May your faith and practice show you the way . . .  

shavua tov, jen

For my younger brother



My younger brother has been a special gift to me, in more ways than I can explain right now, for most of my adulthood. We don’t spend enough time together anymore, but before we each had families of our own, we went to action movies, concerts, car and motorcycle races, bars, mountains, etc.

Although he and I can easily laugh together about current events or memories from childhood, he’s also one of the few people on the planet who can ask me difficult, but truly meaningful, questions without offending me.  

We grew up in a very conservative Baptist family. He became Catholic not long before I became Jewish, and we enjoy watching one another’s spiritual Journeys.

Siblings can be a special gift from Gd.

That’s how I see my younger brother.

And this poem, The Sacraments by St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1182-1226), goes out to him, with love:

The Sacraments

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments– he got so excited

and ran into a hallow in his tree and came back holding some acorns, an owl feather, and a ribbon he had found.

And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear, you understand:

everything imparts His grace.”

published at p. 53 in Daniel Ladinsky’s 2002 book: LOVE POEMS FROM GOD: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (Penguin Compass).  


A poem by Kabir




How Humble is Gd?

Gd is the tree in the forest that allows itself to die and will not defend itself in front of those with the ax, not wanting to cause them shame.

And Gd is the earth that will allow itself to be deformed by man’s tools, but He cries; yes, Gd cries, but only in front of His closest ones.

And a beautiful animal is being beaten to death, but nothing can make Gd break his silence to the masses and say,

“Stop, please stop, why are you doing this to Me?”

How humble is Gd?
Kabir wept when I knew.

Poem by Kabir (c.1440-1518)

published at p. 226 in Daniel Ladinsky’s 2002 book: LOVE POEMS FROM GOD: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West. (Penguin Compass, NY).