New Shul

Essential Empathy, for A New Year.

[For Rosh Hashanah, New Shul, 2015 / 5776] At our darkest, do we wish for sleep? Where the troubled are calm, the halls echo? The tired are resting and only the walls can know what we’re all hiding from? And is death the buried treasure? Or is this light, this life the truest measure of our capacity? And if it’s accurate that more precision yields fluidity, and fluency, and currency, then I offer this precise prayer as both question and answer, and as a kneeling-down-surrender, as a quiet declaration of how we might begin right here. Could it be that we confuse our feelings about our darkness, our fear, with its essence – which is respect, which is listening, maybe holiness, maybe reverence? Could it be that my reverence gave birth to an entire universe of light and sound? And could it be that clearing out our darkness isn’t our way around our fear – but compassionate evolution might be? Can we circumambulate our anguish and see everything that’s there; can we surround it with more love and be crystal clear that we care for ourselves? However large, however small, you draw the map of it, and tell the tall and layered story about how it […]

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On Devotion and Higher Love

This year I had a moment to address the congregation of the New Shul for Yom Kippur, on the subject of devotion. After making several pages of notes, the night before the service on the Day of Atonement, I suddenly found myself writing and writing – a poem, a long spoken-word prayer. He told us to walk into this awake, and to listen with love. So we take to walking inward, or is it Above? Toward the antidote, for this longing we feel for wholeness, devotedness. But are we, these sacred beings, really created with an absence? Or are we just beginning to realize that The magical Source and primary Cause of unshakable devotion is really just a question? Who Am I? And then just beneath that answer, Who am I now? And would it be wrong to ask of my God, Can You show me how? How can I see myself as the light I really am? And how can I travel to someplace beyond the shame? And if you’re asking us to be a burning tree of Love and Devotion, perhaps you can show us how to make the most of this? Or are you just here to bear

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