December 2018
Rabbi Lisa Goldstein
Sweetening the Root
The end of the year is often a time for looking back, a kind of collective secular cheshbon hanefesh : an accounting of what has transpired over the year. In addition to the list of top movies and songs, we can take a sober look at what were the big news stories, who passed from this world, where we are as a community, as a culture, as a planet, compared to a year ago.

It is easy to feel discouraged at the state of the world, to want to root up and throw away all the things we don't like. But the neo-Hasidic tradition offers us a different approach. We are guided towards a process of hamtakat hashoresh , "sweetening the root." 

Practices in this Letter
Rabbi Nancy Flam
Rabbi Marc Margolius
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
Sitting at the Root of the Tree of Life
 Rabbi Nancy Flam
How precious is Your love, God.
Humans take refuge under the shadow of Your wings.
[We] feast on the abundance of Your house,
You give [us] drink from Your stream of delights. (Psalm 36: 8 – 9)

Love is the feast, love our nourishment. Love waters. It springs from the fountain of the world’s heart, flowing through our own.

Knowing Our Roots
Rabbi Marc Margolius
“Knowing our roots” means cultivating conscious contact with a deeper source of nurturance and support. This core Jewish spiritual practice is embodied by Joseph, the protagonist in our current Torah reading cycle concluding the Book of Genesis.

Throughout the story of Joseph and his brothers, he manifests the  middah  (spiritual/ethical quality) of  bitachon , awareness of being implanted in and connected to a source in which he trusts. 

Rooting Ourselves in Spiritual Lineage: a Guided Meditation on the Amidah
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
Before we step forward to act in the world, the choreography of the opening for the  Amidah  (the Silent Prayer) invites us to root down into our spiritual lineage so that we might then step forward with love, courage, and compassion. This guided meditation takes you through that choreography through visualization and embodied awareness that lead to our capacity to deepen these qualities in ourselves and then act upon them.

Sheila Weinberg
What is Your Attitude?
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
When I sit with someone in spiritual direction, I sit with an open heart. I am relaxed. I am not caught in worries or self-absorption. I tend to be spacious and soft.

When I sit with myself, my own mind and heart, I need to ask myself: “What is your attitude?”
Can I allow what arises to just arise?
Can I put down expectations for how I should feel, think, exist?
Can this breath, this flow of thought, this warmth, and this desire for this to be different, be held in an attitude of respect? Trust? Kind curiosity?

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