Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope

Spiritual Wisdom from Earth and Torah

Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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from Dr. Mirele Goldsmith and Liz Galst This week the COP24 UN climate talks have begun in Poland; they will continue until December 14th. The point of the talks is to iron out the rules of the most recent climate agreement. Here’s an article from the New York Times which explains it all.   Consider adding this prayer to your Hannukah candlelighting or Shabbat dinner this week.  Baruch atah Adonai, elohaynu melech ha'olam, grantor of insight and maker of miracles at this season in times past. Teach the leaders of all the world's nations that human well-being and the well-being of the planet are intimately intertwined. Focus their attentions on the future, so that we may deliver the earth intact to our children. Inspire us all to learn new skills, invent new processes, and exert our political  power to safeguard the earth you created with love. Open the gates of wisdom and dig deep the wells of action. Blessed are you, Adonai, who emboldens people to make great changes for good.                                                                                               --Liz Galst  If you want to follow up your prayer with an action item, consider a Hanukkah gift to Our Children's Trust to support the lawsuit to secure the legal right to a safe, healthy climate. Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith is an environmental psychologist, educator, and activist. Mirele founded Jews Against Hydrofracking, directed the Jewish Greening Fellowship, and was a leader in the People’s Climate March and Jewish Climate Action Network-NYC. Mirele’s writing has been published by the Jewish Week, Forward, Shma, and Huffington Post.  Liz Glast is the chair of the green team at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City and currently the editor of Barnard Magazine, the Barnard College alumnae magazine.    
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen photos by Gabi Mezger and Rabbi Katy Z. Allen For eight nights, as we kindle lights in the dark and the cold, may the flickering candles inspire usto celebrate the creation of this amazing world. May the lights that break the darkness remind us of G!d's long-ago promise never again to destroy this world. May the lights that break the darkness remind  us to notice the symbol of that promise all around us. Each night, for eight nights, may the lights that break the darkness remind us of what we know: that it is up to us to honor and to preserve the wonder the beauty the intricacy the delicacy the power. May the lights that break the darkness, give us the strength to prevail, the courage to keep on loving, the wisdom to appreciate blessings, the patience to pursue justice, the openness to continue praying, and the understanding that each of us can, indeed, make a difference, and can make the world just a little bit better than it was before. Chag urim sameach - Happy Hanukkah, Rabbi Katy
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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Tonight begins the first of the month of Kislev, which means Chanukkah (there are many English spellings!) isn't far away - it begins on the 25th of Kislev and ends on the 2nd of the month of Tevet.  During these days, from today until the end of Chanukkah, I invite you to be part of the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge.  Chesed means "kindness," and the idea of the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge is to work consciously, every day, to do one act of chesed, or kindness, to someone you encounter throughout the day. This act should be something that does not necessarily come easily and automatically to you, something that you probably wouldn't have done in the past. It should be an action, small or large, that feels new and is outside your comfort zone, something that you make a conscious and deliberate choice to do. What might the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge look like for you? The answer, of course, is personal. If you are outgoing, an extrovert, with a tendency to be chatty, smiley and upbeat, it will probably mean something very different to you than if you are quiet, introverted, or a loner, or if you struggle with panic attacks or depression. But a common thread will connect all our efforts with the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge: we are all committing to opening our hearts wider, to work harder to notice others and to reach out in situations in which we previously might not have done so, and in the process, we hope to make ourselves better people and the world a kinder place. In the Shema, a prayer recited twice daily, we are are commanded to love G!d with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all might. But how can we fully love G!d if we don't love people? And how can our love of either G!d or people be complete if we don't love the more-than-human would that surrounding us? Considering these questions, feel free to take your personal chesed campaign beyond the human world, and be kind as well to the trees and the air and the water.  It might take time to figure out what to do. You may not actually do anything different on the first or the second day, or even the fifth or the sixth. The important thing is to be thinking about it and figuring out what it will be for you.  So, I invite you and your family members, including your children, to join the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge and to continue your daily kindness practice until the end of Chanukkah. Let's see what happens to us.  You are also invited to share some of your experiences - what you did that you don't usually do, some unexpected response you got, or anything else about this practice and how it makes you feel. I've created a form to collect our responses.  This is anonymous, though if you'd like to add your name, you may. If many of us add our reflections from time to time, we will get something wonderful out of it, I am sure. I will share selections from the responses from time to time. To record your experiences of the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge, click here. I look forward to hearing from you. Chodesh tov - may you have a good month. Rabbi Katy If you would like to contact me about the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge, write to rabbi @ Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network. She is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit, and is a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.

Divrei Earth

The above are examples of Divrei Earth - spiritual wisdom from Earth and Torah, in the blog written by Rabbi Katy Allen and members and friends of Ma'yan Tikvah. 


Divrei Earth - literally words of Earth, provide reflections on the weekly Torah portion, as well as Earth Etudes for Elul, reflections in preparation for the New Year during the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah, and Counting the Omer, reflections on Earth and Torah from Passover to Shavuot.


CLICK HERE to view the blog, where you can subscribe to receive the posts via email.



Ma'yan Tikvah Makes the Globe!

Thank you to Lisa Wangsness at The Boston Globe for the fantastic article about Ma'yan Tikvah! Check it out here.


Help Protect and Save the Earth - 13 Tips

CLICK HERE to find 13 environmental tips with accompanying texts and commentary by Rabbi Katy Allen.


Watch at Eden Keeper

Webinar : A Transformation from Environamental Grief to Environmental Action


Watch Eden Keeper Webinar, "A Transformation from Environmental Grief to Environmental Action." During this half-hour video, Director Robin Purchia hosts Rabbi Katy and the two discuss grief, the management of feelings of loss, and how to tranform our dark inner places into joy and a spiritual connection to the environment. 


Link to YouTube Webinar


Link to Eden Keeper Website


Some Spiritual Tips

Are you feeling a bit blue? Wondering about meaning? Despairing about the state of the world? Here are a few suggestions to help yourself get re-grounded spiritually.


  • Find a spot outdoors where you can focus on the natural world. Even in the city, you can always look up at the sky. Pay attention to what you see. Let it speak to you. Let the image, sound, or smell enter deep into your being.
  • Draw a picture. It doesn't matter if you "know how to draw" or not. Simply focus on something meaningful to you and record something of what you see, in either an abstract form or something more representative.
  • Think back to a moment in nature from your childhood or youth. Record your memory in words or images.
  • Sit still in a quiet place. Breathe deeply. Image yourself enveloped in love and mercy, beneath the wings of the Shechinah, the Divine Presence.
  • Find a passage from a sacred text, in the broadest sense of the word, Torah or other Jewish texts, your favorite children's book, a poem, or whatever strikes you. Connect it to your experience in nature or your drawing or writing. Think about how the two enrich each other.
  • Call a friend to ask how he or she is doing.

Upcoming Events 


Outdoor Services and Other Events

Sunday, Dec 9, 4:00
Celebrate Hanukkah Framingham Friends Meetinghouse
Sat, Dec 15, 10:30 
Upper Mill Brook
Full Moon Shabbat and Potluck Dinner
Friday, December 21
6:00 & 7:15

Where to Find Us


Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope

237 Old Connecticut Path
Wayland, MA 01778

Phone: 1 508.358.5996




Blog: www.mayantikvah.

Affiliated with the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts






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© Katy Z. Allen 2012