The Real World

As a Rabbinic Pastor I get asked about my feelings regarding the “real world.” “How’ I am asked ‘do you deal with the infinite amount of problems in the world?
Seems that we don’t even have to wait for the evening news to learn about painful and difficult world events. The news spews out onto our smartphones both day and night.

As a Rabbinic Pastor I also live in the “real world.” I feel heard when a friend listens without interrupting and ‘sees’ me with eye contact. It’s when a family seeks pastoral advice regarding palliative care for a loved one. The real world is being an officiant who assists couples in making marriage arrangements that honor each others’ faith and traditions.

I venture to guess that each of us, day by day, has the possibility to be a real in our daily connections as the alerts on those smartphones.

Rosh Hodesh

It was during a break today at a women’s group that I’m in that I mentioned a good auto body shop. Three of the women in the group said, ‘yes that’s what I need: a body shop: to change my hips and lift off my lines.’ These women are creative and active in the world. Yet the first chance they had they went to self-criticism.

In January many of us made New Year resolutions. I’ll bet you a shekel that most were about fixing and changing our bodies: eat fewer carbs, get into shape and give up dessert.

In a few days, we will be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Adar. According to our tradition, Rosh Chodesh, the holiday of the new moon, was given to Jewish women because in Ancient Israel these women refused to donate their jewelry for the creation of the golden calf.

We are at the cusp of this new month. Perhaps we could step on the break of being hard on ourselves. In this new month let’s resolve to look at all of the embodied miracles that are in us and around us. These daily miracles only ask is that we remain awake to take their wonder.

Tu B’Shevat

It’s a snowy and blustery day, here in New York. The trees look mummified and the Evergreens are wilted.

Just a few days ago we celebrated Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish Arbor Day and the New Year for the trees. This is a winter holiday and in many places, around the world we gather for a Seder. At the Seder table you will find figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, grapes, and cakes. The focus of the Seder is an appreciation of trees: what they bare and their shelter.It is also a reminder to us to look around to those in the community who are hungry and to be generous to them.

Celebrating trees at this cold time of year gives us hope, joy, and knowledge that no matter what the circumstances of our lives, things will get better and we can shake off the winter’s bluster.

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