Posts in hope
Dancing Between Constraints and Spaciousness: The Message of Tisha B’Av

Min hameitzar karati Yah, anani b’merkhav Yah.

The very depth of brokenness can become a gateway to newfound wholeness. This line speaks of the resilience we access when we embrace life’s messiness. It suggests that, as we accept the “both and” nature of life, we gain a larger perspective. When we turn towards the challenging experiences we face, rather than try to avoid them, we may find that they open us up to something larger than ourselves.

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Writing the World into Being (Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon 5779)

Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birthday of the world, yom harat olam. The moment the universe shimmered with possibility. That is why we say, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written”: the ink is still fresh. We imagine what words might fill the pages of the year ahead. But it’s so hard to stay focused on the white space of this new chapter when our vision is cluttered with headlines.

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Yom HaShoah #TorahForTheResistance: Humanization as Resistance

 

When I woke up election morning, I was struck by the awful irony it was the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Just 78 years earlier on the day America elected a right-wing populist to office, my grandfather Frank Shurman awoke to a world that was hiding in plain sight. Election day morning, 78 years later, many of us also woke to an America that had perhaps been more or less visible to each of us, depending on our privilege. Since Election Day I have been sitting with the images of resistance my grandfather’s story offers me as it continues to echo across time. The story he told about what happened 78 years earlier gave me an image of resistance I’ve carried with me most of my life. But recently I’ve discovered another story of resistance, one he didn’t tell me when he was alive.

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Descended From Trauma Enriched By Hope

The first person to toast my sister and her fiancé at their rehearsal dinner was a descendent of Mrs. Hamilton. She recalled her grandmother, a “righteous gentile” who had sponsored our grandfather and his family to immigrate to America in 1938. She described how delighted our grandparents would be to see our families gathered together for this celebratory moment. I wasn’t the only one moved to tears by the way she brought their memories into this rite of passage in our family.

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Watching, Waiting, Reflecting: Dreaming in Times of Darkness (Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16)

The world seems like a dark place right now. I don’t know if there is any way to effectively battle institutional racism, or the rampant capitalism that is all but destroying the middle class — or how to respond to a global climate crisis that has, by the estimations of most of the scientific community, passed its tipping point. I am afraid of what might happen next. When did my sense of trust that the world is always progressing toward some greater good all but vanish?

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