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Stacey Zisook Robinson

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Person in shadow facing the sunshine arms up in a gesture of openness and gratitude

With all that is happening in our world today, I find it difficult, at times, to be thankful. Still, I believe our Judaism calls us to both partner with God to repair what is broken, and to give thanks for the whole of our lives.

Sing Hallelujah Sing praise and shout hallelujah, as bullets sing their siren song and death is never far; and sing praise while fires rage and children fall silent

behind barbed wire fences, and children fall silent with bellies distended, and children fall silent as their homes are devoured, and they race against monsters and time. Sing praise,...

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Silhouette of a woman staring into a pink sunset

The story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, is a heartbreaking one to me. She was the handmaid of Sarah, who have her to Abraham when she, Sarah, seemed barren. Hagar had a son, but when Sarah finally gave birth to Isaac, she grew jealous and demanded that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away into the desert.

Though reticent, Abraham did as she asked, sending Hagar and her son away with only a water flask and some bread. When that little bit of sustenance was gone, Hagar and Ishmael cried out in their despair. God heard their cried and sent an angel to Hagar, to tell her not to fear,...

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Newly lit yahrzeit candle in a spoon rest on top of a white stove

Lit in a moment of in-betweens, neither day nor night, neither dark nor light, this flame does not dance. It casts no shadow and holds no blessing, only remembrance. It rests upon the altar of my kitchen counter, scarred from years of bounty and gentle benediction. My empty cup overflows with longing. This flame burns without heat, but there is great blessing and grace in Your name.

Figure from behind in tee-shirt and jeans, sitting on concrete wall and looking out at a body of water on which the sun is shining through clouds

Afflict my soul ~ As if this were something new, a commandment of some rarity! I picture a three-taloned scourge, held high in front of me, my hand clasped lightly, with comfort and all too familiar ease. The tips of those talons are bloodied. My soul is afflicted. It is a talent I have perfected. But I am to afflict my soul on that Day, To hunger, To thirst To bear my discomfort like a badge of unease, as if, on all those other days, I do not. As if on all the other days - new moon, full moon, sickle moons that have their own power to draw blood - on every other day I wear the day with...

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White-foamed waves crashing on the beach

I don't find answers; I rearrange the mysteries. The questions rest upon the waves; they are the color of water, changing with the light and tasting of salt.

I think that God is there - not that there is a place where God is not - but I think God likes the waves and the feel of giddy unsteadiness. I think God likes the taste of salt. There are no gates there on the water. They could never stand on the ceaseless waves. And even if some miracle tied them to those shifting tides, any gate would rust or rot in the salted, briny air. Then what good would they be? They could hardly keep...

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