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

Spiritual Wisdom from Earth and Torah

Divrei Earth

The views and opinions expressed in the d'vrei Earth represent those of the author.

Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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 by Rabbi Katy Z. AllenOne in a series of meditations on selected Jewish prayers 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשַֽׂנִי בְּצַלְמו

Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu melch ha-olam sheh’ah’sa’nee b’tsalmo.

Blessed are You Eternal our G!d, Holy One of the universe who made me in your image.

Sh'asani b'tzalmoTake a deep breath and let it out slowly.Taking your time, recite the bracha to yourself, and as you say these words, envision millions of molecules of oxygen leaving the leaves of nearby trees and bushes and herbaceous plants coming into your body through your breath and entering your blood stream.Continue breathing slowly, and envision millions of molecules of carbon dioxide leaving your body through each breath and entering the leaves of nearby trees and bushes and herbaceous plants.Think back through the past night and day, the past weeks, and months, perhaps several years of breathing in and out, exchanging gases with the trees and bushes and herbaceous plants near you and know,that in that time, every single atom, in ever nook and cranny of your body,has been replaced.You are totally new.All the new atoms in your body came in through your breath,and your eating,all of them from the other living creatures around you.You are new. Made from atoms from all the other living things and the non-living things around you.Baruch atah Adonai, sh'asani b'tzalmo.Blessed are You, Holy One, who made me in your image.

Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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 by Lois Rosenthal

The essay on beauty

looked down on a forest

full of rounded green shapes 

and found them pleasing to the eye.

It said we love the trees in their beauty,

love the web of nature

that sustains them and relies on them.

It said their beauty draws us in

and makes us part of that web.

Nowhere did it say 

how to protect ourselves

from the sight of beauty being consumed by flames,

how to keep the ghastly red image from burning

through our eyes straight through to the soul

reducing our sense of hope

to ashes.

Does anyone know?

If so please tell us

that we may again

believe in renewal.

Lois Rosenthal is a resident of Winthrop MA. Her educational background is in the physical sciences. At Temple Tifereth Israel Winthrop she has been a Hebrew School teacher, lay leader of services, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor. She is also a member of the local CREW chapter of MA Poetry Society.

Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Have you ever heard of the Mid-State Trail? 

I've known about this trail for many years. It runs 92 miles from the Rhode Island border to New Hampshire, through Worcester County. I've always wanted to hike it. 

Now, at the age of 70, with a nagging back and a body weakened by numerous very annoying but not life-threatening health issues, I've decided to walk this trail. It's now or never. And Gabi, closing in on 79, has decided to come with me.

To make our project more interesting and more meaningful, we are turning our effort into a fundraiser for the Framingham Community Farm, a volunteer farm on the campuses of Edwards Church and First Parish of Framingham. This small farm donates all its fresh, organic produce to A Place to Turn food pantry in Natick, providing delicious fresh vegetables to hungry families in the Metrowest area throughout the summer.

Our goal is to raise $3000 for the Framingham Community Farm, to be used to add five more beds to the gardens at Edwards Church / Open Spirit, set up a drip irrigation system for the beds at First Parish, and enrich the farm by adding raspberries and blueberries.

This project feels like a totally crazy thing for us to do, and also exactly the right thing. We invite you to join us on our adventure through a donation here, either as a lump sum or a per-mile amount, to spur us on. 

We also invite you to join us on the trail for a day or two or more. We have no set schedule, but hope to walk a section of the trail at least one day a week. Just keep in mind that if you walk with us, you have to be willing to meander at our tortoise pace and listen to us wondering why we ever entered into this unexpected endeavor. And if you live near the trail and would like to host us overnight to make it easier for us to hike two days in a row, we'd love to spend time with you!

We promise nothing whatsoever except that we will start and we will try. Once significant snow flies we plan to pause until better conditions arrive. Life may get in the way and slow us down or stop us. Or we may walk all of those 92 miles during the coming months.

We'll post updates and photos on Facebook and Instagram. Please share our journey and spread the word. Thank you for your interest and participation. Hope to see you on the trail or volunteering at Framingham Community Farm!

Katy and Gabi

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 Outdoor Services & Other Events


As a Falling Leaf: Letting Go and Slowing Down, selected Friday evenings at 6:00 PM.


Shabbat Morning Walks, selected Saturday mornings at 10:30 AM.


RSVP for locations and Zoom links. 




Where to Find Us


Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope

Wayland, MA 




Affiliated with the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts






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© Katy Z. Allen 2012