Thursday, November 22, 2018

I Am Grateful - For Thanksgiving 2018 - November 22, 2018

I am grateful for 

   People who give

   Leaders who serve

   Family and friends who listen 

I am grateful for

    People who provide support

    Leaders who inspire

    Family and friends who offer love

I am grateful for

     People who challenge

     Leaders who honestly communicate

     Family and friends who show compassion

 I am grateful for.    

     People who think

     Leaders who ponder  

     Family and friends who instill confidence

I am grateful for 

      People who heal 

       Leaders who protect

      Family and friends who are a refuge. 

I am grateful for 

      People who are unassuming 

      Leaders who are humble

      Family and friends who foster unity 

I am grateful for 

       People who act with decency

       Leaders who take responsibility  

       Family and friends who engender respect. 

I am grateful for

        This life. 

         This world. 

         This existence. 

For it is all I have 

And all we have.  

May we choose wisely

As we journey along our way. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Prayer for Prayer - November 21, 2018

I pray that I may be able to pray with a full heart 

But I am sometimes fearful that I will not be able

To open my lips, to pray the words on the page

Or even to fashion my own thoughts

into whispers

That will speak



Or Hope.

It may be that, at times,

I feel so separated

From my community

that my words

both Internal

and external

Will not be worthy

And will not be heard.

It may be

That, in some moments,

I cannot muster

The proper intention

To make my expression


And sincere.

But it may be that if I do,

In any case, allow myself

To speak, to chant, and to sing,

To offer silent thanks for just living

I will reconnect with my deepest self,

with others, and with G-d,

and I will be able overcome any barrier to sincerity

Because being honest with myself is all God wants of me

And whatever I pray will be worthy. 

So I will speak and chant and sing.  

I will openly offer thanks for every opportunity to pray 

that I may be able to pray with a full heart.

Friday, November 16, 2018

An Angel on the Ladder - D’var Torah - Parashat Va-yaytzay - November 16, 2018

I was an angel on the ladder in Jacob’s dream. 

Oh, you say that it wasn’t real?

That it was just in Jacob’s mind? 

Think again. 

God called all of us angels together 

as Jacob laid down to sleep,

Putting his head on a stone 

After leaving home, knowing he could not return soon. 

God said, “We have an opportunity 

To impress a notion upon Jacob

That will stay with him for the rest of his life. 

I can’t speak to him directly,

But whatever happens in this dream,

He will most definitely remember.

I need to reassure him that the promise made 

To Abraham and Isaac

Of many descendants 

And a land

Will rest upon him as well. 

What more should I say?” 

I said, “Be kind.”

Another angel suggested, “Be respectful.”

Yet another called out, “Be loving.”

A fourth said, “Show compassion.”

A fifth pleaded, “Listen to people’s stories.”

A sixth replied, “Be a unifier.”

God told us,

“Those are all great suggestions, 

But I don’t have a lot of time to speak to Jacob 

During a dream.  Who knows how long he will be asleep?”  

I thought for a moment,

And calmly said,

“Eternal One, now that I think about it, 

I believe that Jacob needs to learn through his own experiences

To be kind, respectful, loving, and compassionate. 

Maybe what he needs to do first is sense Your

Presence in everyone and everything. 

Once he feels that deep in his soul, 

Kindness, respect, compassion, deep listening, 

and working for unity will naturally follow.”

God thanked me profusely. 

“That is exactly what needs to happen.   

I won’t even have to tell him.

When he wakes up, the thought that

I was in that place where he slept for the night

Will overwhelm him.   

And he will name that place the House of God, Beth-El. 

And I hope he will realize that everywhere he goes,

And in eyes of everyone he meets,

I will be there.”

So Jacob dreamed of a ladder reaching to the heavens, 

With our team of angels going up and down on it. 

God promised Jacob a secure future. 

When Jacob was stirred from his sleep,

He said, “God was in this place, and I, I did not know it!”  

And when you - yes, you who are listening to my tale - 

dream at night, or even when you daydream, don’t be surprised

If we angels are there

To inspire you 


To guide you

To lead

To learn

To teach

And to be open

To finding God

In every person

And throughout creation. 

May the God who is in you and around you

Open your eyes and connect your hearts one to another.  


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Invocation - Temple Beth-El Las Cruces, NM Board meeting - November 15, 2018

God of Jacob, 

Whose eyes were suddenly opened to Your presence

After dreaming of a ladder to heaven that was full of angels, 

God of Moses; 

Who turned aside to notice a bush that burned

And was not consumed

His first step in guiding a people to freedom; 

God of David,

Who helped a leader struggle through his inner conflicts 

To compose sweet songs to You and to honor the wonders of our world; 

God of Isaiah and Micah, 

Who inspired two men of vision 

To imagine a time when implements of war

Would be turned back into tools for human nurturing

Of the natural world. 

Be with us,

Open our eyes

Turn us in the right direction so that we can find You in every human being

Make our spirits sing in praise and thanks to You

And in our mutual affirmation of the great gifts each of us 

Can bring to our community that can draw us together 

Lead us to channel possible sources of division 

Into blessings of collaboration, understanding and even unity. 

May Jacob’s words ever be on our lips: 

“God was in this place and I, I did not know.” 

Help us to realize when You have been standing by our side

And urging us to move forward, together, into your light and truth. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

An open hand...waiting - Meditation - November 5, 2018

Opening Meditation for Writing Contemporary Liturgy Online class with Alden Solovy 











Did you see?

Were you there? 

Did you hear? 


From many backgrounds




Spiritual orientations 


Came together

To mourn

To declare

To connect

Lifting eyes 

And hearts

To seek help. 

Do we still lift our eyes 

To the mountains? 

Will our help 

Come from the Eternal One? 

We learn

From Elie Wiesel, 

one who could have lost 

All hope

All belief

All resolve

That “life is not a fist

Life is an open hand 

Waiting for 

Some other hand 

To enter it.”


If we join hands

And lift our eyes

To the mountains


With hearts turned

One towards another

Our help from God

Will finally come.