Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Earth Etudes for Elul are Coming

The moon is waning once again, this time telling us that we are approaching the Jewish month of Elul, and this year, the American holiday of Labor Day. Here in Massachusetts, the heat and drought continue, making it hard to believe that summer will soon be over. But sunset arrives earlier, Shabbat evenings are longer and Shabbat days are shorter, the nights are sometimes cool, and we know in our minds, even if not our hearts, that summer cannot go on forever.

We may wonder - or not - about the drought. Someone told me today that it is putting her on edge. What does it mean for us? What kind of message is it to us about our global future?

Elul is a time for reflection, a time for teshuvah, return to G!d and to our best selves, in preparation for the Days of Awe, the holiest time in our calendar. What does teshuvah mean for us in this new era of climate disruption? How do we become the best we need to be for humanity and our planet, within the confines of our physical being and the social structures of our modern world?

There are no easy answers to these questions, but the Earth Etudes for Elul, reflections on teshuvah and Earth by members and friends of Ma'yan Tikvah - rabbis, environmentalists, regular people, gardeners, poets - can provide food for thought during this sacred time of year, this time of the turning of the seasons and the turning of our calendars. The Earth Etudes for Elul will be posted here each evening starting with Elul 1 this Saturday night, and you can use the form on the right to sign up to get them in your mailbox daily.

May your journey through this season be rich, meaningful, and deep, and may you discover within yourself new and powerful resources for confronting the challenges of life.

Chodesh tov - may you have a good month,

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Rabbi Katy Z. is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit. She is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network, and a hospice chaplain at CareGroup Parmenter Hospice. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in 2005. 

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