Please accept this gift

ב׳׳ה

Please accept this gift

True North, for me, is not found using stars; it’s found with the voice that whispers in my heart of peace and abundance, a world without strife, Love between people, joyfully sanctified life.

That voice it whispers for everyone to hear. If not drowned by life’s noise, it can be crystal clear.

So run from distraction, wander into the dark, embrace the silence, open your heart to the spark, and find there the Truth that sets souls Free, that shows you who you were, who you are and will be, that teaches of Joy and Love and Light, that turns into day even the darkest of nights.

Please accept this gift, it’s a right of your birth, not just for you, but every human on Earth can stand in the Unity and hold infinity like a stone and know from then on she is never alone.

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May 2018 bring, to each and every one of us, more Peace and Love, Wisdom, Joy, and Light. Shabbat shalom, jen

The Last Jedi (without spoilers)

ב׳׳ה

photo of trading card

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy Star Wars saga because it is a timeless story of the few & weak against the numerous & mighty, and about how I have encouraged my sons to appreciate the struggle of the Rebels because it can show them values that I want them to have.

Values like faith, honor, dedication to a cause bigger than themselves, and courage to fight for justice and against oppression . . . . The same values that we Jews celebrate and teach at Chanukah.

So to celebrate Hanukkah last night, we went to see the new movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. My eight-year-old says it’s the best Star Wars yet. I’m not ready to go that far, but I will say it didn’t disappoint! In interviews, the actors have been saying there were plot twists that they didn’t expect, and I would agree there are surprises. And yet the story that unfolds is . . . amazingly beautiful in ways that I won’t yet discuss so as to not reveal spoilers!!!!

But I can tell you that –just as I had hoped– when the theater lights came up after the show, I found myself feeling more Jewish than ever . . . more dedicated to fighting for a future in which all people are free of oppression. Chanukah Sameach, indeed!

May the Force be with you!

Shabbat shalom, jen

Chanukah’s 1st night

ב׳׳ה

Our synagogue was selected by the JCC to light the community menorah on the first night of Hanukkah. I left work early to get us there by 5 PM, and we stood in 25°F weather as the program started. My little guy was huddled next to me amongst the crowd, trying to stay warm and singing from the song sheet I held. My teenager, being a teenager, was standing a little behind the crowd, listening, but in his own space.

After a quick story and a few songs, it was time to light the first night candle and sing the blessings, and much to my surprise, who climbed the ladder to light the candle?

My 13-year-old son.

I wonder sometimes if my sons could possibly fathom how much I love them and how proud I am of the young Jewish men they’re becoming . . .

Chag Sameach!!!! jen

Dear LEGO…

Dear LEGO,

I’m a member of your VIP club, and I’ve spent more money in the last decade on LEGOs for myself and my sons than I’d care to admit in public, so I’m wondering if you might do me a little favor.

Next fall, could you repackage a few of the Star Wars Advent Calendars in boxes marked “Chanukah Gift Pack”?

Maybe put a blue bow instead of the red one?

And label three of the twenty-four doors for each of the nights one through eight?

You don’t have to change what’s inside the package… it just needs a new box!

And you don’t even have to distribute them to stores. I’m happy to order online, as I know you provide free shipping around the holidays!!

Don’t misunderstand, LEGO, my kids and I are devoted fans of your Star Wars products, so my sons will be opening three windows on their own Star Wars Advent Calendars each of the next eight nights.

But other Jews might not feel as comfortable buying an Advent Calendar, so imagine how a new box might increase sales . . .

Happy Chanukah, jen 😊

Please bring me this day

ב׳׳ה

Please bring me this day

I want to live a moment
when I truly know You,
when all of me swims
in the depths of You,
when I’m no longer reaching
for I’m already held,
Your Love washing over me
’til I’m unable to make sound.

I want to breathe in Your breath
and push when You pull,
to walk in sync with
Your sacred steps,
to know there’s no moment
when We are not One,
when I cannot look and find You.

Please bring me this day, Gd,
as I’m praising Your name
and sanctifying this mortal life,
for in Your Wisdom You placed me
right here inside You
that I might let go of my self,
and thereby become
more able to love others,
who thru You are a part of my Self.

al-Rawdah mosque

ב׳׳ה

al-Rawdah mosque (internet screenshot)

It’s been more than a week and I can’t stop thinking about al-Rawdah mosque in northern Sinai . . .

. . . about the hundreds of Sufi who died when they went to pray.

. . . about the unimaginable grief being experienced by that entire community (where undoubtedly everyone knew someone who died).

. . . about the fact that they were killed because religious extremists labeled them “heretics.”

A heretic is a person who maintains an opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted religious doctrine.

By that definition, I’m a heretic.

I’m a Jewish mystic . . . a Kabbalist, a neo-Hasid . . . who has many opinions at variance with orthodox doctrine . . . but who nonetheless is very attached to Gd and Torah.

And maybe that’s why the deaths of those praying Sufi have stuck with me — because I see myself in them and them in me. They held views different from the fundamentalists who killed them, but they were very attached to Gd and Quran.

A few days ago, after I prayed and thought about those who had died, I wrote this poem about Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, a Sufi Saint who lived more than a thousand years ago and whose writings never fail to open my heart to the Infinite Ocean of Love that is the Gd we share:

Rabi’a and me
Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, they’d allege, was a heretic like me. She a Sufi, me a Kabbalist, a distinction irrelevant to Thee. She’d “burn down Heaven and put out the fires of Hell” for there’s only this moment, so we better live it well. Look past the dogma to see the real Truth. Surrender to the Infinite and therein find proof. Swim in the Love that sets souls free, and share it with others, Rabi’a al-Adawiyya and me.

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May we each, in our own ways, find moments of connection with those who may appear different from us, so that speedily and soon our world might know greater peace between all peoples, jen