Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Corona Poem 6 - ?

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.

I burn brightly
In the night 
I am 
A compass
In the day a source 
Of life
I can’t be seen
But ever felt
A sense 
A call 
A memory
A prayer
I am in heart and mind
Of all
I never die

I am 
Hope.


Judith Felsen, Ph.D. is a poetess, Clinical Psychologist, coach, 2nd generation holocaust survivor, hiker, dancer, walker, volunteer, lover of nature, gardens, wilderness, beach, ocean and mountains. Her work addresses issues of recovery, 2nd generation survivors, the natural world, gardens and harvests, life cycle issues, spiritual questing, social issues, community issues and personal requests. Her poems have been published and widely distributed in national and specific publications. She is a New York native and resident of new Hampshire. She frequents Long Beach and lives with her husband and two large rescue dogs at their camp in the White Mountains of N.H. and house near the ocean in Long Beach. She actively studies the mystical and esoteric aspects of Judaism and is a member of the board of the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation and the Chavurah of Mount Washington Valley. She writes often and offers consultation upon request.


Monday, May 4, 2020

Corona Poem 5 - Corona Love/Fear

By Judith Felsen, Ph.D.

Corona love woke me from a dream 
I dreamt a while ago
now becoming real
anticipation of a world to be
incapable of life
Corona love, a nightmare
prophesy, projection of our ills 
lover’s warning
of impending truth 
reminding that existence is of one
virus,  people
world, one life 

Corona intervention cries for
waking up, releasing, letting go
11th plague 
this scourge demands 
no lamb’s blood,
rather our compassion 
smeared on every heart
forgiveness, every mind
connection, every being
that our doorposts bear
the mark of our awakening…

we lost our senses
now returned
we enter Sinai with atonement’s gold
making our commitments new commandments 
quarantine well spent
saving lives 
not for another golden calf 
but global grace instead

Partnered with Corona, our conscious bringing lover
we are one planet now
awakened to our unity 
where all is love.


Judith Felsen, Ph.D. is a poetess, Clinical Psychologist, coach, 2nd generation holocaust survivor, hiker, dancer, walker, volunteer, lover of nature, gardens, wilderness, beach, ocean and mountains. Her work addresses issues of recovery, 2nd generation survivors, the natural world, gardens and harvests, life cycle issues, spiritual questing, social issues, community issues and personal requests. Her poems have been published and widely distributed in national and specific publications. She is a New York native and resident of new Hampshire. She frequents Long Beach and lives with her husband and two large rescue dogs at their camp in the White Mountains of N.H. and house near the ocean in Long Beach. She actively studies the mystical and esoteric aspects of Judaism and is a member of the board of the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation and the Chavurah of Mount Washington Valley. She writes often and offers consultation upon request.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Covid Poem 4 - Corona Awakening

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.

Covid has awakened me
releasing  life before,
a bridge of consciousness, 
transit to a world unknown
pathway unfamiliar yet inviting,
mind has changed
perception of the world anew
one virus ended history
one choice creates our future
a world as one impacted
in unity, connected will survive

One virus ended life before
one consciousness is our tomorrow.


Judith Felsen, Ph.D. is a poetess, Clinical Psychologist, coach, 2nd generation holocaust survivor, hiker, dancer, walker, volunteer, lover of nature, gardens, wilderness, beach, ocean and mountains. Her work addresses issues of recovery, 2nd generation survivors, the natural world, gardens and harvests, life cycle issues, spiritual questing, social issues, community issues and personal requests. Her poems have been published and widely distributed in national and specific publications. She is a New York native and resident of new Hampshire. She frequents Long Beach and lives with her husband and two large rescue dogs at their camp in the White Mountains of N.H. and house near the ocean in Long Beach. She actively studies the mystical and esoteric aspects of Judaism and is a member of the board of the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation and the Chavurah of Mount Washington Valley. She writes often and offers consultation upon request.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Covid Poem 3 - Corona

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.

Corona changed me
wracked my mind
wrenched out snarls
space for awareness
presence of that which exists
and that which can’t be changed
awareness now identity
apart from form and self
corona heightens essence
leaving fears and thoughts behind
a world perceived anew 
is not a fearful place but 
presence for a consciousness 
where peace presides 
in life and
never dies

Judith Felsen, Ph.D. is a poetess, Clinical Psychologist, coach, 2nd generation holocaust survivor, hiker, dancer, walker, volunteer, lover of nature, gardens, wilderness, beach, ocean and mountains. Her work addresses issues of recovery, 2nd generation survivors, the natural world, gardens and harvests, life cycle issues, spiritual questing, social issues, community issues and personal requests. Her poems have been published and widely distributed in national and specific publications. She is a New York native and resident of new Hampshire. She frequents Long Beach and lives with her husband and two large rescue dogs at their camp in the White Mountains of N.H. and house near the ocean in Long Beach. She actively studies the mystical and esoteric aspects of Judaism and is a member of the board of the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation and the Chavurah of Mount Washington Valley. She writes often and offers consultation upon request.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Covid Poem 2 - Community

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.

We gather together to
Empower
Listen
Share
Hear 
Learn
Connect
Pray
Remember
Release
And so much more.
Together we can,
and are.
Corona has enabled 
Community 
Commitment
Sistership 
Sobriety 
One Day at a Time.

Judith Felsen, Ph.D. is a poetess, Clinical Psychologist, coach, 2nd generation holocaust survivor, hiker, dancer, walker, volunteer, lover of nature, gardens, wilderness, beach, ocean and mountains. Her work addresses issues of recovery, 2nd generation survivors, the natural world, gardens and harvests, life cycle issues, spiritual questing, social issues, community issues and personal requests. Her poems have been published and widely distributed in national and specific publications. She is a New York native and resident of new Hampshire. She frequents Long Beach and lives with her husband and two large rescue dogs at their camp in the White Mountains of N.H. and house near the ocean in Long Beach. She actively studies the mystical and esoteric aspects of Judaism and is a member of the board of the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation and the Chavurah of Mount Washington Valley. She writes often and offers consultation upon request.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Covid Poem 1 - Blight / Light

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.

Curious how pestilence
evokes both light and dark of our survival
Enemy becomes a catalyst
challenging our character
critically insisting, calling
raising higher nature

Scourge becomes our solvent
washing sins and strengths together
dispelling gaps with conscience  
transgressions lost in search for mercy
praying for acquittal 

Compassion is the birthchild 
of this plague
Forgiveness is its midwife
We are birthed within our illness
which inspires  mingling 
of our sins and merits
merging criminals and prophets
reduced in bliss of oneness

We are solo and connected
Pandemic brings us truth
The world is changed
We start anew

Judith Felsen, Ph.D. is a poetess, Clinical Psychologist, coach, 2nd generation holocaust survivor, hiker, dancer, walker, volunteer, lover of nature, gardens, wilderness, beach, ocean and mountains. Her work addresses issues of recovery, 2nd generation survivors, the natural world, gardens and harvests, life cycle issues, spiritual questing, social issues, community issues and personal requests. Her poems have been published and widely distributed in national and specific publications. She is a New York native and resident of new Hampshire. She frequents Long Beach and lives with her husband and two large rescue dogs at their camp in the White Mountains of N.H. and house near the ocean in Long Beach. She actively studies the mystical and esoteric aspects of Judaism and is a member of the board of the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation and the Chavurah of Mount Washington Valley. She writes often and offers consultation upon request.

What Is This? / ?מה זה

by Rabbi Katy Allen


What is this rising within me,
bubbling, swirling, churning,
giving me no respite?

Waiting, I am,
as are you,
as are we all--
unsure if we may soon be grieving,
unsure when we may be holding others
in their grief     from afar.
Unsure if we may be struck down.
Unsure if we have the strength
to endure--
how long we know not.
Certain are we only
that our lives have changed,
never again to be the same--

never again to be the same--
and yet, 
also,
unchanged.
I am still me;
You are still you;
with all of our genius
and all of our foibles.
Only our priorities have shifted--
some of them.
But,
love remains,
solid as ever, 
or perhaps more--
may we never ever lose touch with it.
Compassion remains--
and grows, we hope--
please, may it be so.
A desire to help remains--
just let me figure that one out,
again and yet again.
Only where I go (or don’t) 
and what I do (or don’t) 
and who I see (or don’t) 
and what I hear (or don’t)--
that is all that has changed.

Of all of this, I strive to be certain,
in this time 
of uncertainty.
מה זה שעולה בתוכי
מְבַעֲבֵּעַ, מתגלגל,  מסתובב,
בלי לתת לי מָנוֹחַ?

מחכה, אני,
כמוך
כמו כולנו,
לא בטוחים אם בקרוב נתאבל,
לא בטוחים מתי  נחזק אחרים
בְּאֵבלם מרחוק.
לא בטוחים אם נוּכֶּה ארצה.
לא בטוחים שיש לנו הכח
להחזיק מעמד--
כמה זמן אנחנו לא יודעים.
בטוחים אנחנו רק
שחיינו השתנו,
אף פעם לא יחזרו ליושנם--

אף פעם לא יחזרו ליושנם--
אולם, 
גם,
ללא שינויים.
אני עדיין אני;
אתם עדיין אתם;
עם כל גאוניותינו
וכל חוּלשותינו.
רק עדיפוּיותינו התחלפו--
חלק מהן.
אבל,
אהבה נשארת,
אֵיתָנה כתמיד, 
או אולי יותר--
יהי רצון שלעולם לא נאבד את המגע איתה.
רחמים נשארים--
ומתגברים, אנחנו מקווים--
נא, כן יהי רצון.
הרצון לעזור נשאר--
רק תן לי להבין איך,
שוב ושוב.
רק לאן שאני הולכת (או לא)
ומה שאני עושה (או לא)
ומי שאני רואה (או לא)
ומה שאני שומעת (או לא)--
זה כל מה שהשתנה.

ועם כל זה אני משתדלת להיות בטוחה,
בתקופה זו
         של חוסר וַודָאוּת.


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 Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain and now considers herself an eco-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

Monday, April 27, 2020

Counting the Days

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
(first posted as part of Sefirat Ha'Omer: Hunkering Down, Harvesting Lessons from the Pandemic https://www.facebook.com/groups/SefiratHaOmerPandemic/)

The evening of April 27 is Hod she b'Tiferet, the 19thday of counting the Omer. The following reflection by considers hod /humility, acknowledgment in the context of tiferet /compassion, beauty during this time of social distancing and staying at home.

We are counting, counting the days, from Pesach to Shavuot, from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest. But we are also counting the days, the days of hunkering down at home, the days of being alone, or alone with our families, or of going to work and wondering on what day we will test positive for COVID-19.

Counting the Omer, we know we are counting only until 49, and that on the 50th day, we will once again – B”H, experience revelation and understand a little bit better what it means to stand at Sinai and receive a give of profound proportions.

But we don't know how many days we will be living a life of confinement and connection only via telephone and video chats, Zoom gatherings for meeting and prayer, and sitting on opposite sides of the street to chat with our neighbors. We don't know how many days we will be counting rising death tolls and unemployment. We don't know.

There is beauty and compassion out there – we hear it in the music played by orchestras, each member at home; we hear of it with neighbors helping neighbors; we hear of it with giving up our of wealth to share with those who are most vulnerable; we hear of it every day, beneath the roar of politics, blaming, and shaming. Tieferetis alive and well.

And so, let us find our humility, our ability to acknowledge our limits, to give us the strength and courage to contribute to the compassion and beauty being expressed all around us. Let us find the humility that will give us the strength and the courage to keep going, counting the days, one day at a time, we don't know until when, to count the Omer, and then, if we must, to count the days from Shavuot to Rosh HaShanah, and then to Simchat Torah, and then onward to Hanukkah. Let us find the humility to know that we are not so incredibly important that we must physically go out into the world and endanger others. Let us settle into hod she b'tiferet for as along as it takes. 

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 Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain and now considers herself an eco-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. 


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Chag Pesach Sameach - Happy Passover

The moon is waxing,
almost full,
a reminder that Passover 
is almost here,
that our time of bondage
is almost at an end.

We feel it so differently
during this particular cycle of the year,
in this time of bondage new to us, 
knowing that this bondage will continue,
we know not how long.

This Pesach moon is known by many names,
the Planting Moon  - 
the Tunica, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, and the Seneca tell us.
Did you just plant your peas,
or your lettuce,
confident of the turning of the seasons,
despite the plight
of homo-sapiens the world over?



According to the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe).
it is the Loon Moon,


What would you call the moon this month?
The Passover Moon -
with hope that the plague will pass over your home
and the homes of all your beloveds
and the homes of all those who have not
enough to eat
and the "homes" of the homeless?

The COVID Moon -
in memory of a Passover never to be forgotten?

Perhaps we connect to another Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)-given name,
the Frog Moon,
a reminder of the plagues,
and the miracles,
of long ago,.


Or perhaps we will call it the Hope Moon -
in our determination never to lose hope.

Or the Remember Moon -
that we may remember and observe into the future
the blessings we received this Passover
that is like no other.

As our journey out of bondage begins,
let us step outside,
observe the moon,
and allow it to speak to us,
to give each of us its name,
to answer the question, 
what is this springtime moon
for me?



Wishing you a wonderfully different Passover, however it comes together for you this year.  Dayeinu, it will be enough.

Chag Pesach Sameach - Happy Passover,

Rabbi Katy and Gabi

Monday, March 23, 2020

You Shall Love Your Neighbor

by Rabbi Katy Allen

We are settling into an altered life. And as this happens, I have been thinking about the Jewish imperative to love your neighbor: 
'וְאָֽהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי ה
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev. 19:18)

The rabbis tell us that this commandment is a fundamental principle of Torah, meaning that many other commandments depend on it. For example, we won't steal from others if we think about loving them as ourselves. We won't hurt them or cause damage intentionally to their property, and so on.

Loving our neighbors is what we are doing now, as we stay at home, as we distance ourselves physically but not emotionally or socially from others, as we reach out to those more vulnerable than ourselves.

By telling us to love others as we love ourselves, this imperative implies that if we don't love ourselves, we can't love others. So, in order to get through this time of containment, we need to remind ourselves - and others - that it is OK and necessary to take care of ourselves. It's OK and necessary to take down time, to scream at G!d, to cry and cry and cry, to find a way to be alone. It's OK and necessary to do whatever we need to do to keep ourselves whole.

What are our tools for resiliency? Taking time to identify them, and then to reformat them for today's reality, can help us on our journey toward deeper peace. Remembering the old adage, one day at a time, can help us slow down and remember that we don't need to rush. We have time. And so it continues.

There is already grief, fear, anger, despair, and there will be more. And as Miriam Greenspan reminds us  in her book Healing Through the Dark Emotions, each of these and other dark emotions is an indicator that we care, we love, we are compassionate, we are aware, we are human. Each of our difficult emotions is saying something good and positive about who we are.

Now is a time to do our best to find a new depth of kindness, not just for others, but for ourselves. Now more than ever we need to remember that if we are going to truly love others - and care for them and support them and be kind to them - then we must also, or perhaps primarily, love ourselves.  If we are to love ourselves, then we need to take care of ourselves. And then, when we love ourselves, we will be able to give to others from a place of wholeness and strength, and from that place, our giving is sustainable.

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 Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain and now considers herself an eco-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. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Beyond Coping - to Transformation

by Rabbi Katy Allen
[Note: This essay was first published on the Hebrew College website here on March 3, 2020.]

We live embedded in a web of many kinds of sacred texts. The texts of our tradition are sacred. But so are the “texts” of our lives and the “texts” of the Earth. So are the “texts” of our communities.

A childhood memory of playing with friends in a stream. The experience of sitting beside a loved one as their life draws to an end. A stone. A song. A beloved book from childhood, shared deeply and intimately with family members over the years.

All these and so much more are sacred texts. And when we pull these text out into the light, notice them, take time to turn them and turn them again in our hands, our minds, or our souls, and when we then weave them all together, suddenly something new emerges. Unexpectedly, a new story, a new vision, an insight, a fresh way of understanding takes shape, and with it comes deepening wisdom and an opening of the heart.

Over the years, I have discovered for myself the power of interconnections, that reciting the Shema outdoors is a totally different experience for me than indoors. Connecting a Jewish text to a story of my family deepens the meaning of that story, bringing with it the power of transformation.

It is this power of interconnection, bringing sacred texts to family stories, that decades later enabled me to finally grieve my father, who had died when I was 25, in a meaningful and healing way.

Today, the communal losses are constant, overwhelming and increasing. We are living not only with our inevitable personal losses, but with all the devastation happening around us, at an ever-increasing speed. Australia is burning. Pacific island nations are vanishing from the map. Refugees around the world and at home are fleeing drought or flood. Lyme disease, EEE, coronavirus – dread diseases appear and spread. Dictators are thriving. Injustice is rampant. The existential threat of a non-livable planet looms.

The situation, globally, nationally, locally, and personally, calls us to explore and develop new psychological and spiritual tools.

What is a person with a heart supposed to do? How can we remain compassionate and open to the pain of the world without becoming immobilized by despair or fatigue? Eco-despair, eco-depression, eco-anxiety, and eco-grief areall real. There’s even a new word, solastalgia, to describe our lived experience of environmental changes we perceive as negative. With so much happening around us, how do we not succumb to despair?

We all have tools for coping and growth. Most likely, we have found strength in a time of personal loss or trauma. Now is the time for us to examine those, bring them to our forefront, and transfer our existing processes to the communal losses and trauma we are experiencing today.

I’ve designed a course, Loss and Transformation: Maintaining Hope when Optimism Is Elusive, to help participants understand and employ their existing spiritual and emotional tools for maintaining strength, courage and hope, as well as to build new ones.

Our lives are filled with mystery and with numberless texts. I invite you to join me on an exploration into that mystery and those texts.



Note: I will be teaching the course “Loss and Transformation” beginning March 19, 2020 as part of Hebrew College’s Open Circle Jewish Learning program. This class will be online. Register here. Cost is $60.

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Sap Is Rising – Reflections on Tu BiShvat in a Time of Climate Disruptio

The Sap Is Rising – Reflections on Tu BiShvat in a Time of Climate Disruption
by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
[Note: This was written for and published by Jüdische Allgemeine” in Berlin, Germany’s largest Jewish newspaper.]

In southern New England where I live, the sap is rising in the maple trees.

Everywhere, it's Tu BiShvat, the New Year for the Trees. Here, it's time to set out the taps and begin collecting sap for making maple syrup.



In order to fill my buckets with sap and make maple syrup, I need to know which trees are sugar maple trees. I need to understand something about the trees around me.

It's easy to clump trees altogether. They're all trees, right? Strong trunks rising high, green on top – that's a tree.

But, like people, not all trees are the same. Glancing out my window in winter, the beginning of differentiation is easy--some trees are barren of leaves and others are green with needles. However, closer observation is needed in order to distinguish sugar maples from Norway maples or from beeches or oaks. Looking more closely is needed in order to tap the appropriate trees.

The sages of the Talmud (Berakhot 16a) teach that laborers working in treetops may recite the Shemawithout coming down, but praying the Amidah, which requires greater concentration, is allowed atop only olive or fig trees, and not other kinds of trees. What a puzzle! But it seems that olive and fig trees have many branches close together, making is possible to stand in the tree and focus properly, without worrying about falling. But other kinds of trees, with sparser branching, can't adequately support a person, so the laborers must climb down and pray with their feet on the solid ground.

To properly follow the halachah, tree-climbers need to know in what kind of tree they are standing.

But to fully understand trees, as with people, it takes further discernment to beyond simply being able to identify and name them. What is happening inside the trees? The sap is rising, but what else is happening?

Trees are connected with each other underground; what are they communicating to each other when someone stands on top of them and prays?

As I put in the first taps this spring, I wonder what the trees might be “saying” to each other. Do they communicate warnings to nearby trees about a dangerous tree-tapper in their midst? If so, what exactly is that message?

I don't know. I'm not good at understanding tree language, though when I lean against one, I feel a sense of kinship and connection. I feel a love and caring. And I feel sadness about what is happening to so many trees. Beyond that, I don't know.

My neighbors, afraid their tall pines might fall on their house, recently cut down about 10 trees. Our yard, next door, has numerous similar pines. On stormy windy nights, we often worry about the trees falling on us, too. And then we always say, “No. We can't cut them down.” We feel too connected to them, and that connection overrides our fears.

Watching images of wildfires engulfing California in the summer and Australia this winter, I imagine that the trees must be screaming. Reading about the destruction of the Amazon forests, the burning, the tilling to satisfy our cravings for meat, I can almost hear the screams. So many trees must be crying out in pain and terror, for themselves, their neighbors and kin, and trees all around the world.

But it's Tu BiShvat, time to celebrate trees. Even though it's still winter here in New England. Even in Israel it isn't always full-blown spring when we celebrate Tu BiShvat, New Year for the Trees. Falling as it does in January or February, the trees may or may not be blooming. So why did the ancient sages decide that the best time to mark the end of one year of produce from trees and the beginning of the next year was in late winter? They needed a New Year for the Trees for tax purposes. How did they decide what date marked that distinction between one year and the next?

In the Talmud (Rosh HaShanah 14a) the sages explain that by the beginning of the month of Shvat, most of the year’s rains, necessary for growth and production in the coming season, have already fallen, even though the winter hasn't fully ended. Thus, they determined, any produce harvested after the end of the rains could be considered produce of the next year. So, fruit harvested before Tu Bishvat (the 15th of Shevat) belongs to one tax year, and fruit harvested after the holiday belongs to the year to come.
But Rashi, the medieval commentator, understood the timing of Tu Bishvat to be a bit more complex and less visible. He tells us that it falls at the time when the sap is starting to rise in the trees.

Knowing when the sap begins to rise is a beginning of understanding that which we cannot see. And when a twig is broken, and the sap drips out on a warm sunny day, and then freezes into an icicle with sundown and falling temperatures, we are able to see evidence of that which is hidden, and understand better.

We cannot see the carbon in the atmosphere, drying the air and raising air temperatures, but can see the burning wildfires. We cannot see the greed that fuels clear-cutting trees, but we can see the harsh reality of clear cuts afterward. We cannot literally see the short-sightedness of building more fossil fuel infrastructure, but we can see the superstorms that engulf vulnerable communities as a result of decades of burning fossil fuels. We cannot see the carbon being pulled out of the air by the trees, into their fresh, green leaves and sequestered in the soil, but we can see trees growing and flourishing.

And we cannot see our own fear and denial, but we can see our own lack or limited action personally and in our communities.

The sap rising. On this New Year for the Trees, we are transitioning from last year to this. The trees are coming out of dormancy, and so must we. We must come out of our winter dormancy, our hibernation, our fear, our denial. We must allow our spiritual growth from comfort to fear, to learning, to growth to take place. We must confront the fact that climate change is not just someone else's issue, it is ours, it is everyone's. No one is immune. We must all act.

Tu BiShvat is here. The sap is rising, preparing the trees for new growth. Are we ready for our own new growth? Will we allow it happen?

To begin, let's plant not just one tree this year, but many. Let's plant a tree in Israel and a tree in Palestine. Let's plant a tree in Africa and a tree in South America. Let's help plant a billion trees this year And then, let's allow ourselves to grow with those trees.

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 Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain and now considers herself an eco-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.