A Way In Blog

Carol Towarnicky | 04/05/2012 - 8:04am
In the past few years, poet and performer Susan Windle has been writing poems for each day of the Omer -- last year, she posted them on Facebook for her friends, and now they are available as an ebook or on pdf through her online store. I just downloaded a copy and "Through the Gates: A Practice for Counting the Omer" is not a collection of amazing poems -- dayenu! -- but insights into her remarkable journey -- to Judaism, and to a deep spiritual practice of it, as well as gentle...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 04/04/2012 - 12:58pm
For those of us who are guarding the lamb this week in anticipation of the Passover seder.  Here is a beautiful song by Martin Sexton to listen to along the way.  Listen all the way to the end and you will hear how he offers this song as a deep prayer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT4pWJxKHhk “Somebody told me once before 
you can never go home again once you leave, 
say anything just to steer me away from the truth of what I who I am and what I believe. 
 So I thanked him for...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 04/04/2012 - 3:51am
  Why count?  Why stand up each night as three stars appear in the sky and for 49 days in a row count the day that is to come?  What is the use? What is the purpose?    I have asked myself this many times over the years as I struggled to take on the practice of Counting the Omer.  This is some of what I have discovered:   Standing each night to count the day that is coming helps me be awake to the passage of time.  It reminds me again and again that...
Carol Towarnicky | 03/29/2012 - 5:12pm
Here's another resource to add to your experience of Counting the Omer: Just received a copy of Omer/Teshuvah:49 Poetic Meditations for Counting the Omer or Turning Toward a New Year by Shifrah Tobacman, edited by the amazing Rachel Barenblat, whose blog, Velveteen Rabbi, has been a favorite for years. In the book, Tobacman uses the metaphor of 50 Gates of Understanding to structure her meditations. An interesting feature: if read from back to front, the meditations can be used during the...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 03/24/2012 - 8:56pm
We welcome the month of nisan and its call to emerge into the light.  Each of us, all of us, are being called out to stand into the truth of our lives and offer our gifts, our blessings.    In psalm 18:20 The Mystery calls, "I take you out into the expanse, I deliver you to spaciousness, because I desire you." We are God’s desire.  To live into our fullness is to answer the Eternal’s longing.
Rabbi Yael Levy | 03/13/2012 - 4:25pm
As the book of Exodus ends, it reminds us we are responsible to continue the work of creation—lifting up the sacred through our intentions our words and our deeds. Here is a beautiful song by Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, inspiration for the way forward. [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7q98vL1Xy0]
Rabbi Yael Levy | 02/11/2012 - 9:07pm
We came to the mountain and stood together.  There was a moment when all life dissolved into the One.  We emerged seeking to remember and live with this awareness.  Our response: 10 Utterances—from the heart of Silence and Love. I am, I was, I will be.  I am the unfolding of all that is. I am constant transformation calling you forward to be. You cannot arrest me in motion.  You cannot grasp or hold onto me.  Do not strive for certainty.  Do not seek...
A Way In | 02/07/2012 - 7:49am
This is the second of four blog posts focusing on the "four worlds" as imagined by the 16th century Jewish Kabbalists, which they celebrated at a seder, a ritual meal, on Tu B'Shvat, the holiday that begins at sundown today. Today's post, which comes from a haggadah compiled by Rabbi Yael Levy, focuses on Yetzirah, the World of Formation.  You can still register online to attend the Mystical Tu B'Shvat seder on Wednesday, (tomorrow) February 8, from 6 to 8:...
A Way In | 02/06/2012 - 2:06pm
The 16th century Jewish Mystics conceived of the universe as four worlds -- four layers of reality and the Tu B'Shvat seder they created is designed to take us on a journey through those worlds through the drinking of four cups of wine and the ritual eating of different kinds of fruits and nuts. Here, from the haggadah compiled by Rabbi Yael Levy, is the first of four blog posts focusing on each world.  You can still register online to attend the Mystical Tu B'Shvat seder on...
A Way In | 01/29/2012 - 4:55pm
In the 16th century, Kabbalists transformed the Jewish date set aside to mark the birthday of the trees (for tax purposes, actually) into a new way of looking at the universe by creating a seder for Tu B’Shvat. In that tradition, Rabbi Yael Levy will lead a Mystical Tu B’Shvat seder sponsored by A Way In on February 8, from 6:15 to 8 p.m. at Mishkan Shalom. Pre-Registration is required. Click here to reserve your place at the Tu B’Shvat seder. Q: What does Tu B...
A Way In | 01/27/2012 - 11:12am
Came across this wonderful rendering of a teaching about Tu B'Shvat from the Mishnah by Rami Shapiro in the  anthology, Trees, Earth and Torah, edited by Ari Elon. From The Wisdom of the Jewish Sages Rabbi Jacob says: If you are walking lost in wonder, Empty of self and mindful of Reality,And suddenly you interrupt this peace to exclaim: “How beautiful is this tree! How magnificent this field!” you forfeit life. The intrustion of self and the imposing of judgment separates...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 01/22/2012 - 8:59pm
Suggestions from the teachings of Joanna Macy as we move beyond attention to action: #1:  Cultivate gratitude.  Notice, and name the blessings in your life.  Turn towards what gives you joy. #2  Don’t be afraid of the dark: Don’t be afraid of your own pain.  Don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel at the tragedies and devastation that fills our world.  It makes sense we would feel pain when we allow ourselves to be aware of the suffering in...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 01/22/2012 - 8:54pm
In the last few weeks, we moved from the Book of Genesis, which focuses on the myths of our individual ancestors’ encounters with the mystery, into Exodus – in which God interacts with the people as a community. For me, this shift always raises the challenge of how we take the awareness and attention we are cultivating through Jewish Mindfulness and move into action in the world. At our Shabbat service on January 14 , Lynne Iser and Rabbi Mordechai Liebling spoke about the work of...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 12/27/2011 - 6:27pm
Day 8 Chanukah-Rededication The Divine dwells in each of us, in all of us.  May we recognize the sacred in ourselves and in each other and may we dedicate ourselves to acting from this awareness for love and blessing for all beings. On the eighth night we ask ourselves: How can I best be of service?  What are my gifts, my blessings, my challenges, my passions? And how can I best offer myself for the benefit and well being of all?  As we ask these questions we practice...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 12/26/2011 - 7:37pm
Chanukah Day 7 rosh hodesh tevet Zeman. Time. The holiest moment is now. Practice for today: Wonder with gentleness, compassion and curiosity: What do I do with my time?  What do I give my hours, days and weeks to?    How can I use my time for good?  How can I use my time to bring forth well being and joy?   Take some time for something today that opens you to joy and beauty. This is the day we are given, let us feel joy and give thanks -- Psalm 118:24 Music...

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