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Stacey Zisook Robinson

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Young man in sweats, head down, sitting on the bottom step of a flight of stairs

There is a Jewish prayer callled the Mi Shebeirach in which we ask God, who blesses all, to grant complete healing (refuah shleimah) of body and soul to those who are ailing. Of course, we pray, but one of the beautiful ideas inherent in Judaism is that we work in partnership with God, so even when our prayer is one for healing, we also are called upon to act.

When a malady is physical, we can offer chicken soup, rides to the doctor, books to pass the time. What are we called upon to offer when a malady is less visible – when the healing is needed for the soul, the heart?

The... Read More

woman's face in profile/abstract with dark hair that looks like smoke

She doesn't feel brave, except sometimes she does. She feels the weight of rubies and gold twist on her fingers; she prefers a crown of flowers in her hair to cold metal and the straight-edged lines of rocks.

She doesn't feel brave, except when she does in her heart -   the heart of a wife   and daughter   mother, perhaps   Or not - childless,     by choice or     unseen circumstance.

Weaver of tales, spinner of fine linen that snags sometimes, and she smooths it with supple fingers - slim fingers - crooked and thick-with-age fingers. She pulls the threads that pulls the...

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Image of a sea parting

In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat B’shalach, the Israelite slaves, with Pharaoh’s army fast on their heels, cross the Red Sea to freedom. Once on the other side, “[W]hen Israel saw the wondrous power which the Eternal had wielded against the Egyptians, the people feared the Eternal; they had faith in the Eternal and in God’s servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31).

In gratitude and thanksgiving, Moses and the Israelites sang Shirat HaYam (Song of the Sea), which inspired this poem.

Perhaps I am Free

I have never seen such forever water. I hear its incessant burbling, a chant,...

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Lighted candle flickering in total darkness

 

Stars littered the ground Crystal fire Shards of ice Glass

The smoke of a thousand thousand years Ascended Coiling upwards, twisted With the memory of a People Chosen once in light Chosen again In darkness In ashes and in blood

Pounding rhythms shout out Felt through soles Driving forward, driving onward Faster and faster and faster, and pulled forward Pulled ever onward In a rush, at a run, rippling in shadow It invades your blood, That rhythm, That pulse, That pull and push That wraps ‘round your heart In pounding and pulsing rhymes That cradle your source Your...

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See from behind: woman in shorts standing in thigh-high flood water

Nachshon, the Rabbis tell us in several midrashim (biblical commentary), was the first of us to walk into the water after we fled Egypt. Standing on the shores of the Sea, Moses told the Children of Israel that they need not be afraid – just walk into the Sea and God will part the waters so they could escape Pharaoh and his chariots. The Israelites all stared at the lapping waves, until Nachshon decided to have a little faith. The rest, they say, is history.

This poem uses that midrash as its base – but with a twist, written in the destructive wakes of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma....

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