Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Book of Etudes


If you've been following this blog for any time, you know about the Earth Etudes for Elul, reflections on t'shuvah and Earth for the month leading up to the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe.

Elul is a time for reflection, a time for t'shuvah, of turning and re-turning to G!d and to our best selves. It is time for heshbon hanefesh, examining our hearts and souls. We may ask ourselves: What have I done? What do I wish I had done? How have I changed? What do I hope to be and do in the future? How did I impact my loved ones? The world? How do I want to impact them? Elul is the time for us to begin to make atonement for the things we wish we had or hadn't done, and to renew ourselves, to do all we can to get ourselves to change.

Elul is a time to turn away from the ways in which we have missed the mark, to make restitution as needed, and to return to our best selves. It is a time to be reborn, transformed, and renewed. It is also a time of love and caring. The letters of the month’s name come from the verse, “Ani l'dodi, v'dodi li–I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3). Elul is a time of building better relationships with our beloveds–with each other, with G!d, and with the Earth.

This year's new set of etudes will begin on 1 Elul, the evening of August 11. We hope you will enjoy them again this year.

To further enhance your Elul reflections this year, we invite you to purchase a book of etudes -Earth Etudes for Elul: Spiritual Reflections for the Season, is now available in paperback and as an ebook. It contains many of the reflections written over the past seven years for this blog by a variety of writers.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center, says about the book, 
Jewish contemplations of the Earth. Rather, human contemplations through a lens of experience that was/is Jewish. Rather, contemplations not of earth herself but of the bond between earth and her myriad earthlings, humans and frogs and redwoods and hippopotami, honeybees and rivers, icebergs wailing as they melt, coral reefs shrieking as they die. Each contemplation is worth an hour’s meditation, even a day if you will set aside the time to read it quietly – just one -- and then listen to the still silent voice of interbreathing Earth.
Rabbi Jeff Hoffman, Rabbi-in-Residence at the Academy for Jewish Religion in NY says about it: 
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen’s Earth Etudes for Elul is the perfect companion for all who desire to walk the path of t’shuvah (return/repentance) during the period leading up to the turning of the Jewish year in the fall. It uniquely links timeless Jewish wisdom to what we now know to be our generation’s primary concern: “climate disruption and environmental degradation” as Rabbi Allen puts it. These Etudes are filled with grace, lyricism, hope, and inspiration. They will enhance the experience of all who seek true t’shuvah, and will contribute to the healing of our beloved earth.
And Rabbi Jill Hammer, author of A Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Days, says: 
Like a forest landscape, Earth Etudes for Elul offers a variety of views of the earth as a sacred place: a home to be preserved, a living being who deserves our care and teshuvah, a focus for prayer and inspiration.  Many spiritual leaders have offered their personal reflections, theological conclusions, and activist aspirations regarding the natural world, in brief essays that can be used as meditations for Elul, the month of returning, when we prepare for the High Holy Days and for committing to a better life.  In this age of human excess, our process of teshuvah/repentance should surely engage the earth as well as at one another—Earth Etudes for Elul provides a needed opportunity to repair our relationship to the planet on which we live

Click here to purchase from the publisher, or here to purchase the ebook and here to purchase the paperback from Amazon, and enjoy!

Thanks so much for your ongoing interest and support,
Rabbi Katy

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network. She is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit, and is a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.

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