Wellsprings
Of Wisdom

Wellsprings of Wisdom is a site for your soul, an island of quiet contemplation in a sea of noisy information. Pause here to refresh your soul, re-enchant your world, and renew your inner life.

Your Guide to Wellsprings
of Wisdom

Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan is a student and teacher of Jewish wisdom, who finds her inspiration in nature as well as in ancient texts. She grew up in Texas and has lived in Israel and California. Rabbi Julie is spiritual leader of Pleasantville Community Synagogue in Westchester, New York. Rabbi Julie was ordained through the ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Rabbinical Program where she was a student of  the late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. She holds a PhD in Hebrew Studies (Rabbinic Literature and Culture) from the University of Texas at Austin.

Rabbi Julie loves nature photography and took the photos on this home page, as well many others throughout the site as noted.

Newest Points of Interest

Browse the most recent journey points that have been added to the virtual retreat center.

Song of Songs in Nature; Put Love at the Center

The Jewish Fall holidays are over, and I'm celebrating Spring! I just posted a slide show of some of my favorite original Spring photos that you can watch in the Gateway of Seasons. I made it to share in an online program to launch "Love at the Center," a new...

Springtime: Song of Songs in Nature

I made this slide show of my original photos for the launch of "Love at the Center" by Rabbi Shefa Gold. Click here to receive a weekly chant from the Biblical Song of Songs, and put Love at the center of your heart. The program took place after he Jewish New Year...

Judaism and Resilience

  Here is my sermon for the Eve of Rosh Hashanah this year, 5781 / 2020. I hope it might be of help or inspiration to some of my Wellsprings of Wisdom readers:   How Jewish Tradition Can Make Us More Resilient , by Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan, Ph.D.  There is a...

Welcome to the Wellsprings Redesign – New Things Coming

  Shalom, everyone! I haven't posted since Passover. . . has anything happened?Seriously, over the past few months, as we have all--the whole human world--been dealing with the many challenges of the COVID Pandemic, Wellsprings of Wisdom has been going through a full...

Some Meditations for a Stressful Time

I'm posting this a few days before Passover, in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Let me take this moment to send blessings of health and safety to each and every one of you! As a rabbi, I've been busy getting my synagogue online and supporting my community, but I...

Happy Tu Bishvat

Tu Bishvat, the New Year of Trees, is always a happy time for tree-loving @wellsprings! Tu Bishvat this year begins Sunday evening, Februrary 9, into Monday, February 10, 2020. I've redone the post on Tu Bishvat and you can find...

New Meditation Recording

In honor of Rosh Hodesh Shevat, the Hebrew month in which we will celebrate the "New Year of the Tree," I have added a special meditation based on the way that I learned it from my teacher, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Reb Zalman), of blessed memory. The meditation...

Saunter Into 2020

Nature Lovers, Julie Danan Wellsprings of Wisdom's last update was at the Jewish New Year. Now on January 1, 2020, I've added a new post to the growing Gateway of Holy Land. This Gateway is really taking shape and will soon be complete! It shows how my thinking and...

The Art of Sacred Strolling

More and more people around the world are learning that walking* in nature can be a spiritual practice. It was surely known to our biblical ancestors, and today intentional time strolling in nature has become an international movement known as Shinrin Yoku or Forest...

New and Expanded Posts to Get Ready for the New Year

Hooray! I've added a new post on taking outdoor walks to Let Nature Guide You Into the New Year and also expanded The King Is in the Field: A Meadow Gallery,  both in the new and expanding Gateway of Holy Land. These pathway posts will be part of Wellsprings first...

Let Nature Guide You Into a New Year

I treasure the late summer, just before the Jewish New Year, as a wonderful time to get out in nature, and I relate it to a Hasidic teaching. “The King is in the Field,” is a parable of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), founder of Chabad Hasidism. He likened...

Wellsprings’ First Webinar!

The King/Queen is in the Field: Let Nature Guide You Into the New Year Join Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan, Ph.D., for a free webinar, Thursday, September 12, 7:30-8:45pm Eastern Time (US),. We will explore Hassidic and mystical teachings that connect us to nature and help...

New Post! Talking to and listening to animals and nature

It's been a while since I've added new content to this website, but happy to say that summer vacation has allowed me some time to continue working on the new and developing Gateway of Holy Land. Each new Gateway (content page focused on one symbol from nature) is a...

Talk to the animals; listen to Nature

The Bible relates that King Solomon was known as the wisest of men. One verse suggests that he was able to converse about--the more-than-human world: יְדַבֵּר֮ עַל־הָֽעֵצִים֒ מִן־הָאֶ֙רֶז֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּלְּבָנ֔וֹן וְעַד֙ הָאֵז֔וֹב אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֹצֵ֖א בַּקִּ֑יר וַיְדַבֵּר֙...

Updated post on Rosh Hodesh in Gateway of the Moon

I'm very excited to be taking an online (live) course on the Zohar from Professor Daniel Matt, who translated this epic classic of Jewish mysticism into English. Its mystical meditations on the inner levels on the Bible often identify the Shechinah, the feminine...

Watch a new Gateway grow!

  Spring is here and new growth is everywhere! Spring comes a little slowly (but steadily) in the US Northeast. And so it is with the new Gateway of Holy Land here at Wellsprings of Wisdom. I've opened the Gateway and it has two posts, a Gallery of the Sea in...

Finding a Sanctuary in Nature

After the drama of the ten plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, and receiving the Torah at Sinai, the Biblical book of Exodus turns to what seems a much more mundane subject: building the first Jewish temple, a portable sanctuary known as the Mishkan. Where do we...

Spring and New Beginnings

Shalom! Like the dormancy of winter, this site has been quiet for a while. The quiet of the site is the mirror opposite of my busy life: leading a small congregation, teaching two classes for the ALEPH Rabbinic Program, traveling (to Israel, Colorado, and Florida in...

Trip to Israel, New Gallery posted

    In December, my husband and I (and two of our grown children) visited Israel for the first time in nearly a decade. I'll continue reflecting on this journey and our experiences in my Rabbi's Blog. Please check it out if you would like to learn more....

Gallery of the Seashore in Israel

Cellist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma speaks about the “edge,” the natural or cultural place where environments intersect, as one that always has more life forms and new life forms. Bach taught him to balance going to his center and to the edge. In cultural...