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 serves as rabbi of Seaside Jewish Community in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Rabbi Julie grew up in South Texas, has lived in Israel, and has also  served congregations in Texas, 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. 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.

The Avian Rebbe Learns from the Birds

I recently got a great book in the mail, The Avian Rebbe Stretches His Wings. It's the second in a series by bird photographer and Torah teacher/student, Aaric Eisenstein. known as the Avaian Rebbe for finding wisdom in the beauty of our feathered friends. The Talmud...

Tikkun HaYam / Repair the Sea

Tikkun Hayam, Repair the Sea is a Jewish organization that I support, whose mission is "to share the spiritual wonders of water and the Sea from a Jewish perspective, and to raise awareness and encourage action to address the many threats facing the aquatic...

For the Times: A song for Yom Kippur

My friends, singing duo "The Levins" (pronounced Le-VINS) just wrote a beautiful and heartfelt song in the spirit of Yom Kippur and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. And they asked to use my videos made here at the Delaware beaches. I hope you find this...

My Rosh Hashanah morning sermon

Nothing Great Is Ever Finished – Rabbi Dr. Julie Hilton Danan Rosh Hashanah Morning, 5783 / 2022 - Seaside Jewish Community There is an old rabbinic teaching that we should leave a little bit of our house unfinished. (Had these guys seen my townhouse in Philly?) But...

The Power and the Mitzvah of Awe

Here's a talk that I gave recently at my synagogue about Awe. Awe in nature is one of the touchstones of Wellsprings of Wisdom, so I'm sharing it here: I'm not really a morning person…but I get up before sunrise as much as I can to go see sunrise at the beach…because...

New Style for Wellsprings of Wisdom Gateways

Shalom! I hope you will enjoy a re-design of many pages on this website, to make it easier to explore the posts on each theme. Wellsprings of Wisdom is a Virtual Retreat Center where you can explore and interact with Jewish symbols from nature. This site is organized...

Reflections on Prayer and Action in Jewish Tradition

When violent and hateful acts roil  the world, many leaders share that the victims are in their “thoughts and prayers." The phrase has become an empty slogan for many, seen as just an excuse for inaction, or a passive wish that God will solve problems that we don’t...

Happy Earth Day and Happy Passover!

Happy Earth Day! 🌎 This year Earth Day coincides with the Seventh Day of Passover, a holy day to commemorate the splitting of the Red (Reed) Sea during the Exodus from Egypt. I remember the first Earth Day in 1970, which was started to work for environmental change...

The Shema: The Essence of Judaism in Six Words (A Deep Dive Into Prayer)

We've started a new series at my congregation, "Deep Dive into Prayer" (pretty appropriate for Seaside Jewish Community 🌊) At certain services, we will focus in on one prayer or one section of the liturgy, and "dive deep" by exploring it's history and meanings, while...

Happy Birthday to Trees!

Happy Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year of Trees! (the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, corresponding to January 17 this year) Visit Wellsprings’ Gateway of Trees for Pathways (posts) with teachings and resources including all about Tu Bishvat, as well as music,...

New Beginnings in the New Year

  This is a time for new beginnings. There’s a New Year coming on the calendar, 2022. And the corresponding Hebrew month will also bring one of the Jewish New Years: Tu Bishvat, the New Year of Trees. I think these dates have something in common. Our Sages...

The Lights of Hanukkah

  Many people like to have a different poem or reflection for each night of Hanukkah. I think that's great, and I also like to just feel into the lights and what they awaken in my soul. My teacher, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, emphasized the importance of...

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...

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...

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...