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.

Meet The Nature Rabbi

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, Northern California, and the Hudson Valley of 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, and has led three congregations. Rabbi Julie holds a PhD in Hebrew Studies (Rabbinic Literature and Culture) from the University of Texas at Austin and has taught for universities and seminaries. 

 

Rabbi Julie loves nature photography and took the photos on this home page, as well many others throughout the site as noted. You can see more of her photos and also purchase prints and downloads on her photography site: Inspired Images

Newest Points of Interest

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

My New Photography Site

  As my interest in Nature Photography has blossomed, people have asked to buy prints. So in addition to Wellsprings of Wisdom, I have started a separate site dedicated to my Nature Photography: Inspired Images. You can enjoy my galleries, browse my Instagram...

New Posts on Ancient Wisdom for Sustainability

  As I work to complete the Gateway of Holy Land, I've updated my pathway/post on Shemitah (Shmita), the Biblical Sabbatical year. It now appears both in the Gateway of Gardens and the Gateway of Holy Land. The Torah teaches that every seven years, the land must...

The Ecology of Canaan, in the Eyes of Our Ancestors

Note: My friend and colleague Rabbi David Seidenberg is one of the leading scholars on Judaism and the environment. Whether writing about Kabbalah and Ecology, or the Biblical vision of a justice and sustainability, his teachings are both inspiring and timely. -JHD by...

Peacemakers make the Holy Land Holy

  Shalom-Salaam-Peace! Peacemakers from the Interfaith Encounter Association never fail to inspire me with their tireless and dedicated work for dialogue and understanding among Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others in the Holy Land. Read and watch a short video...

Tikkun Olam: Interfaith Dialogue in the Holy Land

Jerusalem is a holy city to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and its very name means, "The City of Peace." But the deep history and religious passions that make the city and the land sacred to so many have also contributed to strife. Although the modern...

This Rosh Hashanah, Return to Yourself: My Un-Sermon for 5782

  For the first time in a quarter century, I'm not leading the fall holiday services and I'm not writing and delivering sermons to a congregation. My job was one of the many lost over the pandemic, as my congregation's finances suffered. Now I've relocated to a...

Time to Blow the Shofar!

  It's Elul, the month preceding Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and time to sound the ram's horn to awaken our souls for the New Year ahead. This Wellsprings post on the shofar has been revised with a new video from Hazon, the premier Jewish environmental...

Let Nature Guide You into a New Year: Online Gathering on August 30

  As we begin the lunar month of Elul, directly preceding Rosh Hashanah, Wellsprings of Wisdom invites you to an online class in which we enter the mystical field of divinity that prepares us for the New Year. Together we will explore and discuss teachings on...

Join Wellsprings for an evening of Reflection, Ritual, and Renewal

  You are invited to join me ONLINE, Thursday, June 17, 7-9pm ET, through The Aligned Center, a unique holistic organization on the banks of the Hudson River in Westchester New York, for an evening of reflection, ritual, and renewal as we navigate our gradual...

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! 🌎 I truly believe that our planet is our original temple, our real garden of Eden gifted from the Divine. Look at the vastness of the cosmos and marvel at our tiny spectacular oasis that sustains an abundance of diverse life. The ancient Midrash...

Proud to Partner on The Shmita Project (a Sabbatical for the Earth)

At this time of year, many Jews are "counting the Omer," literally counting the days and weeks each night for the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot, the holiday of the giving of the Torah. In mystical tradition, this is a time to work on our personal qualities...

Passover Inspiration on Wellsprings of Wisdom

  As Passover approaches, be sure to check out these Wellsprings Pathways (posts) that relate to themes of the season: Splitting the Sea With Wind looks at the Biblical account of the Exodus and invites us to explore the nature of miracles. MIriam's Well explores...

Happy Purim!

  Today is Purim, the full moon of the Hebrew month of Adar, and the Feast of Esther. Happy Purim to all who celebrate...and you might want to enrich your celebration even more by learning about the Moon in Jewish tradition. In Jewish legends, the Moon is a...

Tu Bishvat Seder and Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest

  This week marks Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for Trees.  The Gateway of Trees on this site is a perfect place to learn about Trees in Jewish lore and in our lives. The Tu Bishvat Seder is a mystical custom to honor trees and the earth. I will be leading a Tu...

Haftarah (prophetic reading) for MLK Day

  Midway down this page in the Gateway of Mountains, you can find a recording of speech selections by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., set to traditional Haftarah (prophetic reading) trope (melody) by Hazzan Jack Kessler. Thank you, Cantor Jack, for sharing...

Forgiveness: A Practical View

Shalom, Friends! A colleague was asking for Jewish sources and practices on forgiveness, and I remembered this sermon that I gave some years ago. It includes a guided meditation on forgiveness. I hope it will be helpful to someone. I'm sure that I can use this myself....

Resources about Tikkun Olam

  Tikkun Olam, "repairing the world," has become one of the most popular concepts in modern Jewish thought. (On this website, one of the main subject tags is Tikkun Olam / Social Action.) A couple of years ago, my late friend Rabbi Dr. Sarah Tauber suggested that...

Wellsprings Classes This Month

As Hanukkah approaches, I will be teaching some online classes and invite you to join in! Tikkun Olam Through the Ages With Rabbi Julie Danan A free mini-course (donations welcome). Hosted by Ruach HaMidbar, Arizona Sundays, Dec 6, 13 and 20 - starting at 5 p.m....

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 the Jewish New Year...