A Way In Blog

Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/30/2011 - 9:16am
The Torah opens with the word bereshit (beginnings) and it is taught that the entire path of Torah, of wise directed action, is contained in the 6 Hebrew letters that make up this first word.   This teaching states that each Hebrew letter calls forth intentions and practices that can help guide us into the year with awareness and provide us with the resources to meet well what ever we encounter.  Each week a teaching and practice will be posted here and on our Facebook page. http...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/30/2011 - 9:12am
This is the second week of teachings and practices related to the letters of the word Bereishit. This week focuses on the letter Resh, which corresponds to word ratzon -- will. In this of ratzon, we seek to open to the powerful, continual life force that flows through all the world and calls to each of us in every moment.  We seek to quiet the noise of the mind, do our best to move beyond surface desires, addictions and cravings so we can perceive what is really true and really calling to...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/28/2011 - 7:22am
The month of Heshvan starts tonight (10/27) and at the same time the month of tishrei lasts one more day.  As these two months over lap today, (Friday), we might be able to feel the energy shift from the high intensity of tishre into the rooted quiet of heshvan. The layering of these two months reminds us that through the holidays we have gathered everything we need to step into the new year fully and meet well whatever arises. We have everything we need to live awake and in full...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/23/2011 - 5:02pm
This 6 week practice is based on the Hebrew letters of the word that opens the Torah: Bereshit—beginnings. Week One: aligned with the first letter of bereshit: beit The practice of Bitachon, Trust. A foundation for beginnings: the cultivation of trust.  This week we reflect on who/what we trust—where we find refuge, who/what we can rely on.   We also notice where trust is difficult, where it causes pain and sadness.  And we practice, with discernment,...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/23/2011 - 4:58pm
Creation begins with separation, a breaking apart, the One into the many. The brokenness brings diversity, paradox, contradiction, distinction, and a myriad of possibilities. And the brokenness calls forth relationship, connection, healing. With only One there is no potential for relationship.             In the brokenness relationship begins. Formed with the essence of the earth and the breath of all life, we human beings are given the...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/16/2011 - 10:42pm
It is an honor to step forward into this moment of kol nidre-- into this light of Yom Kippur with all of you As I was preparing for this moment, I heard echoesof so many Yom Kippurs when I have stood in this place and made my offering It has been a lot of years, and I am very grateful. This year I am going offer something different – a different model of experience, something that grows out of my spiritual practice – and my development of Jewish mindfulness. I am going to share a...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/12/2011 - 5:09pm
From the heights of Yom Kippur, we land in Sukkot, the holiday our tradition calls zeman simchatanu — the season of our rejoicing.  Sukkot calls us toward delight—urging us to take delight in what we have learned, what we have gathered, in all that has been revealed to us throughout this past year.  The beautiful challenge of Sukkot is that we are called to experience joy and delight in dwellings that are temporary, impermanent, open to the sky and the earth -- dwellings...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 10/11/2011 - 11:14am
In this transitional space between Yom kippur and Sukkot, with some reluctance, the soul takes its journey back towards solid ground. Still filled with the blazing light of Yom Kippur, the soul is unusually transparent and exposed. This is a time for great gentleness, gentleness and care.
Carol Towarnicky | 10/10/2011 - 7:52am
Join us for a Mindfulness Sukkot service in the Mishkan sukkah led by Rabbi Yael at 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 13. Meditation, music, movement. Lulav and etrog. Hallel.  In the meantime, found this poem for Sukkot. An excerpt. Come, Let us build this place, This Sukkat Shalom, Where beauty dances And love sings. Where peace cries out: Build, build, You children of Israel, A tent of holiness, Strong and true. Build it in your heart, In your home, In your life,...
Carol Towarnicky | 10/06/2011 - 12:14pm
Here's a poem about the 10 days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur written by Janet Ruth Falon for the Jewish Writing Project.  An excerpt:  It takes ten days to cross, by foot, (more, with baggage), and you have to walk it yourself. No one can carry you. People have been known to jump off but miraculously, survive, as long as they’re willing to try again the following year. Each person decides how many times to pay a toll and to whom along the...
Carol Towarnicky | 10/06/2011 - 10:34am
Rabbi Yael writes about her experience last year spending Yom Kippur in the back country of southern Utah in this piece in the Huffington Post:    The temperature in the canyon had been in the 90s. Shade was scarce. I knew it was not wise for me to fast in the usual way. I had decided to drink water and have a small meal for breakfast. My fast would be about presence. I would let my mind focus only on direct experience, giving my attention only to whatever was arising in each moment...
Carol Towarnicky | 10/06/2011 - 10:32am
You're standing in line in the supermarket, filled with resentment at having to stand in line. Where does that come from? We've got reservoirs of resentment, says Norman Fischer, the poet and Zen Buddhist priest, in this podcast -- part of a High Holidays intensive from Makor Or, the Jewish meditation center in California. And it hurts us.  So the forgiveness that is the theme of Yom Kippur is something we do, not for the persons who have wronged us, but for ourselves. 
Carol Towarnicky | 09/28/2011 - 11:21am
In the final installment of Jewels of Elul, Rabbi Tamar Frankiel notes that, as we enter the time of the new moon, we enter darkness and an opportunity for dreams. As we come to the end of the potent month of Elul, we also go into the dark. The time before the New Moon gives us at least two days of darkness, until that sliver of light appears just after sunset on Rosh Hashanah. What may dreams bring on those days? Let us open to our dreams, and humbly pray for light and inspiration for the...
Carol Towarnicky | 09/19/2011 - 10:16am
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, who blogs as the Velveteen Rabbi, has collected translations, melodies, essays and teachings and creative riffs about Psalm 27, including this poem by Alicia Ostriker: we are told to say the following every day for a month in preparation for the days of awe: you are my light my help when I'm with you I'm not afraid I want to live in your house the enemies that chew my heart the enemies that break my spine I'm not afraid of them when I’m...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 09/16/2011 - 2:03pm
  It is human nature to make attachments To hold onto, to want. It is in our nature to seek assurance To reach for certainly, to believe that we know. And this season asks that we acknowledge that the very attributes that make us human also causes us and each other pain. So in these last days of this year we say to ourselves gently, with compassion, It is OK, it is difficult to be human. It’s OK.  In these last days of the year lift your eyes toward beauty. Remember what it is...

4101 Freeland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19128 - ph: (215) 508-0226 / office@mishkan.org Site map