Home is Inside Ourselves

Where should we feel most at home? Inside ourselves.

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Time and Space

What is time? A device to create a story. What is space? A device to give the story a home.

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Dreams

Dreams allow us not only to see and understand our lives, but to recreate them.

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Fear and Love

When cultivated, both fear and love expand exponentially. We all have to decide which is preferable.

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Eating in a Sukkah

Eating in a sukkah (hut), we realize we are all Adam, beloved creatures of the earth.

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Feel Your Heart

Feel your heart, its beat, its warmth, your mind’s energy source.

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Infinity and the I

Pure duration, eternity, infinity comes in those moments when time and the I melt away.

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We Are All Wanderers

We are all wanderers searching for a home that ultimately exists inside ourselves (Num 33.1).

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Moving beyond Time

Pure duration, eternity, infinity comes in those moments when time and the I melt away.

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What is the Wilderness?

What is the wilderness? The best place to encounter ourselves and the Source. Where is the wilderness? Inside us. Why is there a wilderness? To transform us.

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We All Wear Masks

We all wear masks, but that’s not who we are. What do masks do? They help us to explore alternative realities.

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Human Statue of Liberty

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CampDodge-HumanStatueOfLiberty1918.jpg
I was sent the following info on the picture:
“FACTS:
Base to Shoulder: 150 feet
Right Arm: 340 feet
Widest part of arm holding torch: 12 1/2 feet
Right thumb: 35 feet
Thickest part of body: 29 feet
Left hand length: 30 feet
Face: 60 feet
Nose: 21 feet
Longest spike of head piece: 70 feet
Torch and flame combined: 980 feet
Number of men in flame of torch: 12,000
Number of men in torch: 2,800
Number of men in right arm: 1,200 Number of men in body, head and balance of figure only: 2,000”

“Total men: 18,000”

“1918, Human Statue of Liberty, Camp Dodge , Iowa”

“This is a piece of our military history. I enjoy learning about history. I hope you enjoy the photo!! I thought it was amazing.”

“Human Statue of Liberty (Goddess of Liberty), Camp Dodge, Iowa:
Eighteen thousand soldiers of the Camp Dodge, 163rd Depot Brigade formed the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty for the renowned photograph shot by Chicago, Illinois , photographers Mole and Thomas on August 22, 1918 at 2:30 p.m.:

“‘COL. William Newman, commander of the 163rd Depot Brigade selected the statue of liberty as the formation for the brigade picture.’ ‘COL. Rush S. Wells, Regimental Commander, had charge of the formation.’ COL Newman was an 1892 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy.”

“Beginning at 1:00 p.m. companies were assembled and by 2:30 the proper formation was completed and the photograph taken. The ground was marked out by blocks, in the shape of the statue, which facilitated getting the soldiers into correct formation. From the goddess’ feet to the tip of the torch the symbolical statue measured 499 yards. The picture was taken from a tower forty feet high, constructed for the occasion. On account of the mass formation and the heat twelve men fainted and were carried from the field.” The high temperature reported for the day was 94 degrees.

The photograph was taken with an 11″ x 14″ view camera following several day’s worth of work by the photographers to set up the image on the ground using thousands of yards of white tape. In addition, substantial coordination was required between the photographers and COL. Newman’s staff to ensure the various folds of the gown, the bible, the left hand, and the crown was properly outlined by soldiers wearing white shirts. The design for the living picture was laid out on the drill ground at Camp Dodge , west of current building S 34 and Maintenance Road. “The large photographs were on sale for $1 at all the exchanges in the camp. Many soldiers sent the photo home to their families.

The layout at the reported 499 yards was nearly 5 times the length of the actual Statue of Liberty and the viewer will note that the correct perspective is maintained. The number of men in the various parts include: Flame of Torch � 12,000 men, Torch � 2,800, Right Arm � 1,200 men, Body, y, Head and balance of figure � 2,000 men.

Some have speculated that the soldiers in the photograph were members of the 88th Division who had been in training at Camp Dodge. This is erroneous as on August 16, 1918 all organizations of the Division were reported to have left Camp Dodge. The soldiers in the picture were members of the 163rd Depot Brigade under the command of COL Newman.

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Iraqi Treasures Return, But Questions Remain

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/08/world/middleeast/08iraq.html?_r=1

“Iraq announced the return of hundreds of antiquities that had ended up in the United States, although 632 pieces repatriated last year were now unaccounted for.”

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Who Are the Egyptians in the Exodus Story

Who are the Egyptians in the Exodus story? They are not only outside us, but inside us. Most of the time we enslave ouirselves. That’s why the Jewish people wanted to return to Egypt rather than deal with uncertainty and choices in the wildnerness (Ex 14.12).

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The Present

When you are truly where you are, the past and the future no longer hold so much power.

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Tumult and Turbulence Precede Transformation

Tumult and turbulence precede transformation.

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Our Lives as Sacred Stories

Each of our lives is a new story to add to the book of Genesis.

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Creation Never Ends

Gen 1.1: “The Source (God) began to create”: As long as the universe exists, creation is a process that rests periodically, but never ends.

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Breath and the Life Force

To feel your breath is to feel the life force not only inside you, but inside all that is.

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Creativity

Most of my good ideas come when I’m thinking about something else.

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Mystic Scholar study in spirituality

I am reflecting on the fundamental shift away from institutional religion. It affects every religion and every religious community globally: churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. It cuts across the ideological and political spectra. As educational attainment increases, so does disaffection with traditional religious modalities. Yet the vast majority of people still seek to explore the fundamental questions of existence, matters of ultimate concern (as Tillich says), interconnectedness, community, ethics, and love and relationships. Why are so many religious institutions unable or unwilling to address the hunger for meaning and purpose that so many yearn for?

Looking forward to commenting in the future on these topics.

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Rest from Creation on Shabbat

The Source rests from creation every shabbat. So should we. Then, on the next day, we join hands to continue creation (Gen 2.3).

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We Are Everwhere

The more deeply we feel, the more we fill the universe with our energy. We evaporate and are everywhere.

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The Woman Was Not Expelled in Eden

Did you ever notice that the Source explicitly expelled Adam, not the woman, from the garden of Eden?

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Authentic Leadership and Imperfection

One key to authentic leadership is being open about your imperfections without belittling yourself.

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The First Adam

Gen 1:27: The first Adam was both female and male, bi-gendered, whole, integrated, one.

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Pain and Healing

Pain in passed on from generation generation. So is healing.

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The Talmudist Takes a Train Trip

This comes via John Harrison. I can really relate to this one: very representative of the importance that Jews place on analysis and thinking.

“After months of negotiation with the Soviet authorities, a Talmudist from Odessa was finally granted permission to visit Moscow.  He boarded the train and found an empty seat.  At the next stop, a young man got on and sat next to him. The scholar looked at the young man and thought, ‘This fellow doesn’t look like a peasant, so if he is no peasant he probably comes from this district. If he comes from this district, then he must be Jewish because this is, after all, a Jewish district.’  ‘But, on the other hand, since he is a Jew, where could he be going? I’m the only Jew in this district who has permission to travel to Moscow.  Aahh, wait!  Just outside Moscow there is a little village called Samvet, and Jews don’t need special permission to go to Samvet.  But why would he travel to Samvet? He is surely going to visit one of the Jewish families there.  But how many Jewish  families are there in Samvet?  Aha, only two – the Bernsteins and the Steinbergs.  But since the Bernsteins are a low, terrible, family, such a nice looking fellow as this young man must be visiting the Steinbergs.’  ‘But why is he going to the Steinbergs in Samvet? The Steinbergs have only daughters, two of them, so maybe he’s their son-in-law. But if he is, then which daughter did he marry? They say that Sarah Steinberg married a nice lawyer from Budapest, and Esther married a businessman from Zhitomer, so this must be Sarah’s husband.  Which means that his name is Alexander Cohen, if I’m not mistaken.’  ‘But if he came from Budapest, with all the anti-Semitism they have there, he must have changed his name.  What’s the Hungarian equivalent of Cohen?  It is Kovacs.  But since they allowed him to change his name, he must have special status to change it.  What could it be ?  He must have a doctorate from the University.  Nothing  less would do.’  At this point, therefore, the scholar of Talmud turns to the young man and says, ‘Excuse me.  Do you mind if I open the window, Dr. Kovacs?’  ‘Not at all,’ answers the startled fellow passenger. ‘But how is it that you know my name?’  “Ahhh,” replies the Talmudist, ‘It was obvious.'”

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Freedom

Freedom in little matters leads to freedom in big matters.

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Creation Rests on Shabbat

Creation rests on Shabbat, but recommences the next day.

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Breathing

Breathing is a rehearsal for both living and dying.

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Shabbat and Doing Nothing

Do nothing for a period of time. Then you will be able to do something worthwhile and begin to understand Shabbat.

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Wisdom

Wisdom: Knowing whom, what, where, when, how.

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Close Reading

Close reading does not mean just words, but images and experiences as well.

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Women and Temple Priesthood

In fact, there’s some evidence from antiquity that suggests that there were Jewish women who may have served as priests in the Graeco-Roman period (for example diaspora Jewish inscriptions). Obviously this goes against the heavy weight of rabbinic tradition, but I bet that there is evidence in rabbinic texts to suggest something similar (probably when a rabbi criticizes some other practice)–I need to look into this some time. Is it possible also that some of the women (Sarah) in Genesis functioned as priests, but then that tradition was reinterpreted by the biblical writers? Controversial, but I would not rule it out.

In any case, whatever the technical sense of priesthood in modern contexts, Jews reformulated priestly and Temple practices into home and synagogue life after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. So a woman who lights the Shabbat candles functionally takes the place of a priest.

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Who Are the Temple Priests

Who are the Temple priests? Those who light the Temple menorah. The only way to drive out darkness is with light. (Num 8.1-3)

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Our Legacy

Our legacy is not money, power, buildings, or books, but rather the core energy that we release from ourselves into the universe.

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Find Your Own Rhythm

To live in rhythm is to dance to the beat of the Source. Find your own rhythm; it’s like no one else’s.

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