What then?


It’s hard to believe Spring is here when we got 6″ of snow on Shabbat. But I’m sure it’s here because 24 hours later, nearly all that snow was gone! And I’m glad it was gone, because yesterday was moving day. We have a new apartment that’s a little smaller and has a front porch where I can sit to read, have morning coffee, and grow some herbs. And we are closer to the pool and the bus stop, which the boys appreciate. 😄

I also know Spring is here because Passover is only a few days away. Time to clean out the leavening and buy some matzah! As I began thinking about the shopping and food preparation that needs to occur this week (along with unpacking and cleaning the old apartment), I realized there is also “internal preparation” that we must do to take advantage of Passover’s opportunity for spiritual growth . . .

What then?

What then is my slavery
and what is my freedom?
Is the redemption I need what I seek?
Or am I headed toward a destination
that wasn’t truly my destiny,
‘cause I succumbed to forces ‘round me?

Help me, my Gd,
to see Life more clearly,
to comprehend the steps I must take,
to break free of these chains
and embrace my liberation
in a desert where I’ll be nearer You.

The Path to Freedom



My younger son is amused by emojis and he likes to get a note in his lunchbox, so after I pack his lunch, I quickly doodle a note that includes emojis. When I finished today’s doodle, I realized it illustrated some of the Passover lessons that I’ve been thinking about lately, so I thought I’d share it with all of you and tell you what I’ve been thinking about…

The Path to Freedom isn’t always the “easy” path. In fact, sometimes it’s a terrifying journey fraught with danger and difficult steps!!

However, if we want to live as people free of the ideologies, assumptions, habits, and thought patterns that enslave us . . .
then, despite our fear, we must keep walking forward — looking neither down at the muck around our feet nor over at the walls on each side that may collapse in on us, but rather out ahead in the distance, at the Freedom that awaits those willing to place unwavering faith in the One whose power can create us anew each day . . .

This year, may we all become free from more of the things that enslave us!

Happy Passover,
and Shabbat Shalom,



“Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.”

–Moshe Dayan

It’s Passover, so I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom. The freedom to speak. The freedom to think. The freedom to be myself without being judged, threatened, or insulted by others.

When it gets right down to it, that’s all I really want in life. I don’t expect anyone to carry me. I don’t want to stop anyone else from “soaring” or block anyone from “catching an up-draft.” And I really have no interest in hoarding resources that anyone else might need to survive.

All I want is for others to respect me enough to let me have a little space to be me — the freedom to live in a way that lets my soul soar like a bird while I take care of those I love.

And isn’t that all any of us needs, really? A little respect for our differences. A little space to be ourselves. An opportunity to care for those we love.

This Passover, I seem to be more aware than ever of how many people, even just in my own little corner of Creation, are not being given space to be themselves, are not being respected by those around them.

And so, this week, my prayer is that each of us might try a bit harder to give others the respect and space necessary for them to feel comfortable being themselves. If nothing else, may we all respect others enough to listen until we understand what they might need to feel free.

As Coretta Scott King so wisely said:
Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.

Either we are all headed toward freedom together, or none of us will ever truly be free . . . and I’d prefer we all became free, because I’d love to have more of the “oxygen” that sends my soul soaring into the sky!!

Shavua tov, jen




From time to time we may find ourselves in a “narrow place,” a situation where we feel trapped.
Trapped by our fear or anger.
Trapped by our lack of knowledge or lack of control.
Trapped by destructive habits or patterns of interaction that we learned as children and struggle to discard as adults.

This Passover, as we once again prepare to make Exodus, I pray that I never forget that:

— Egypt is not always a place outside of me,


— Pharaoh is not always someone other than myself.

Leaving a narrow place can require action with our feet, but sometimes, instead, Exodus requires that we open our eyes and our hearts, so that we can see that the place where we stand is not so narrow after all.

May it be G-d’s will that each of us finds freedom from all bondage, regardless of its origin …

Chag Pesach Sameach!