as galaxies unfurl


as galaxies unfurl

As day turns into night
and night back into day,
The Mystery is there
if we choose to be aware.
If we open our hearts
to the possibility of The Unity,
we can stand at the edge of infinity
as we watch galaxies unfurl.

1:23 pm CST (thru eclipse glasses)


1:36 pm CST (thru eclipse glasses)


1:58 pm CST (thru eclipse glasses)


2:21 pm CST (thru eclipse glasses)


2:27 pm CST (thru eclipse glasses)


2:28 pm CST (unfiltered total eclipse)


2:28 pm CST (unfiltered sun returns)


2:30 pm CST (thru eclipse glasses)


Friends–  These photos that I took yesterday with my cell phone in Bowling Green, Kentucky, are not meant to inspire you with their accuracy, clarity, or quality.  They are simply my attempt to share with you the experience of waiting and watching the unfolding of a natural phenomenon that was truly awe inspiring!!  

That Science has explained to us the “how” and “why” of eclipses does not, in my mind, make them any less a “religious” experience. Not very often, in this country flooded with light-pollution, am I able to show my sons the Milky Way or a star-filled sky.  But yesterday, we could stand together with a large crowd of mostly strangers and be reminded how very small we are, how dependent we are on the sun, how miraculous it is that moon is the right size and distance from the Earth to completely block the light from the sun, how lucky we are to be alive and able to witness such amazing moments . . . and that we are truly blessed and most surely ought to be grateful!! 

If you ever have a chance to witness a total solar eclipse, I highly recommend it!!  

And may we all find more moments that inspire awe and remind us to express gratitude to The Miraculous Mystery that is always there, hiding within and behind the rational answers provided by science, jen

even in the midst of our storms


This morning, after the rain had started but a few minutes before the lightning and downpour began, the morning sun peeked out between the trees and the clouds for about one minute to produce a beautiful rainbow in the rain approaching from the west.  

Seeing it, I was reminded that Gd’s presence is with us, even in the midst of our storms… but we must remember to be looking, for Gd’s presence often appears in a quiet, subtle way that is easily missed by those who are too busy to stop and breathe in a moment.   

Praying we all find Gd’s presence with us on our good days and our bad days, jen

Dance, Vol. 2


water heater closet & fan under carpet

Yesterday morning I wrote: 

…whatever life throws at you, for the love of Gd, DANCE!!!

So, G-d, the Universe, karma, the Unity, (whatever name you prefer), decided to “test” my resolve to keep dancing!! 

Last night at 9:30, I arrived home to a massive water heater leak and a few hundred square feet of carpet that was so sopping wet that water splashed when I walked across the carpet.   Maintenance arrived at 11:00 pm to deal with the water heater.  A carpet cleaner arrived at 11:30 pm to start removing the water from the carpet.  And now there’s a very large fan blowing air under the carpet and padding, and someone is to install a powerful dehumidifier this morning.  

As you might imagine, I didn’t get much sleep, and I’m pretty tired.  I need to have a productive day at work, go to the grocery, be a mom, and then figure out how many more days it’ll be until the bookshelves (and all the books, toys, and games that lived on them) can return to that wall between the closet and stairs.   

Between being tired and knowing part of my house is in disarray, I’m not feeling especially relaxed.   I’m tense.  And I could focus on that feeling and worry about the carpet and the disorder.  I could let that feeling spiral into a grumpy mood that would result in less than ideal interactions with others, and increased frustration.  


I can accept that I cannot fix the house or carpet today, because carpet dries when it dries, and I can let go of the worry about if, when, and how I’m going to get my house back in order.  And instead I can focus on NOW —  the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my life is filled with blessings!!!!

I’m tired, but the choice where to focus remains mine .  . . 

Let’s see if I can pass today’s test!!!

“desecration of the covenant”


The Biblical account of the original sin is the story of man of faith who realizes suddenly that faith can be utilized for the acquisition of majesty and glory and who, instead of fostering a covenantal community, prefers to organize a political utilitarian community exploiting the sincerity and unqualified commitment of the crowd for non-covenantal, worldly purposes.

Excerpt From: Joseph B. Soloveitchik. “The Lonely Man of Faith.” THREE LEAVES PRESS DOUBLEDAY.

Rabbi Soloveitchik notes the history of organized religion is filled with examples of such “desecration of the covenant.”

So how, one might ask, do we distinguish between a person of faith who is building a covenantal community and a person of faith who is building a community for worldly purposes?

We can distinguish those people by the way they treat others . . .

To a person building a covenantal community, every individual has infinite value, while to the person striving for worldly majesty, a person’s value depends on that person’s wealth or influence over others.

When building a covenantal community, every person’s voice is worthy of being heard, and decisions are based on open dialogue and respectful discussion of disagreements.   But when building a worldly community, voices are to be heard or respected only if they support “the party line,” which was determined by those who have (and want to keep!) the power and control.

When building a covenantal community, a person of faith understands that Gd is present at all moments** and that knowledge of Gd’s presence always determines the way to behave toward others. But, for someone building a worldly community, Gd and holiness are things to be reached for at “religious events,” while, at all other times, the community is “just a business.”

People who run religious movements and institutions continue to ponder why so many Americans are unaffiliated with organized religion, or why many of those who are affiliated have no interest in investing the time and energy to connect meaningfully to a religious institution . . .

I know that not every religious institution is controlled by people who desecrate the covenant by failing to value, respect, and honor the holiness in every other person who enters the institution, but when examples exist in so many religious organizations . . . across religions, across cultures, and across centuries . . . it’s hard not to lose faith . . . in organizations run by people . . .

shalom aleichem, jen


**Knowledge of Gd’s constant presence could arise from (1) a person’s faith in such a Gd, or (2) a rational decision to look for the image of Gd in every other person. Either path can, I believe, lead to a frame of mind that requires us to treat others with more respect and dignity.


“What do you see?”


Yesterday, my five-year-old son asked if I would play with him. When I said yes, he put his forehead against mine, we looked into one another’s nearly-singular cyclops eye, and then, holding my head in his hands, he backed his face away and said, “What do you see?”

I had no idea where this game was going, so I said, “my monkey?,” which is what I call him when he climbs all over me.

“Nope!,” he said, putting his forehead against mine. We laughed together and then, just as before, he pulled away asking, “What do you see?”

I guessed “a chicken!” because sometimes I call him “chicken pants” . . . for some reason I no longer remember.

He said, “Nope!,” and the game continued just the same as I guessed a number of animals, fruits, and vegetables, all of which were, to his amusement, wrong.

Finally, I said, “Can you help me out a little?” He said, “Sure! You ask me this time!” So we looked at each other’s cyclops eye, and as he pulled his head away I asked, “What do you see?”

And he said, “Myself!”

We hugged, and I said, “Yes, son, you see yourself in me, and I see myself in you too.”

What a blessed moment of connection it is when we see ourselves in another — whether parents and children who share physical features, or any two people who see their personality, philosophy, or life experiences reflected in another — because those moments of connection can, if we choose to let them, be entrances to moments of wonder about the Infinite One . . . who connects us all to one another.

shavua tov, jen

“living inside”




Your existence and your nonexistence
are entirely that.
What makes you happy, what makes you cry,
all this is the friend.
But your eyes do not see the beauty.
Otherwise, you would realize that,
head to foot, you are living inside
the one you ask about.

Excerpt From: Barks, Coleman. “Rumi: Soul Fury.” HarperCollinsPublishers. iBooks.  (emphases in original).



praying we all practice looking with our hearts, rather than our eyes, jen