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 5781 (2020), so fall was arriving as I contemplated spring and the cycles of nature. The photos are from New York state, except for the redbuds and cyclist, from a February visit to Northern California, where spring comes early.
Click on this image to activate a gallery of beautiful scenes from Autumn at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. They document the season from its early pastels and oranges to the golden peak, though an early snowfall and into bare branches.
I used to own a long, soft, narrow-wale corduroy dress that always seemed to call to me around this time of year. Its colors were muted: taupe and pale purple and deep fir-green. One day I realized that it matched the Berkshire hills in their November colors: the taupe brown of bare trees seen from a distance, the muted purple of distant hillsides at early twilight, the deep green of conifers on the highest parts of the hills.
There is an organic flow between all of the Jewish holidays that mirrors the cycles in nature. In the Creation story, we learn that “there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (Gen. 1:5). Jews continue to mark the beginning of the day at sunset—evening—and not at midnight as most of the world does. (more…)
Years ago, I learned from the late Rabbi David Wolfe-Blankabout a spiritual practice of reviewing one’s life in seven year increments, a Sephirah (counting) of life. It’s a great exercise to do around your birthday or anytime you want to take stock.
Each of the seasons of the year can evoke, for many of us, an image of what we most enjoy about that period. It may be the sequence of warm spring days with clear blue skies during which the outside world exerts a strong pull and diminishes our commitment to work or study, that period we call “spring fever.”
For others, it’s the summer days of sunshine and high temperatures when many leave work to vacation at the beach and enjoy the water, sand, and sunshine.
The familiar images and anticipated enjoyment are inexorably moving towards the remembered and unpredictable. Climate change is transforming everything, including our experiences of the seasons, and those changes will challenge our physical, visual, and emotional lives.
A haunting ancient Jewish melody with lyrics in Hebrew and English, chanted by Cantor Richard Kaplan. Dirges (kinot) of Tisha B’av, the summer fast to commemorate the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem, are here combined with visuals of our planet’s beauty, the ravages of climate change, and hopes for the future. Made and introduced by Barak Gale.