by Rabbi David Zaslow,
March 28, 2004

שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם, Shalom Alekhem, peace be unto you. The major theme of the Jewish festival of Passover is liberation: we were slaves but the mighty hand and outstretched arm of the Holy One set us free. Each year for the past 3,300 years Jewish people have gathered in their homes on the full moon in the month of Nissan to retell the story of our Exodus, and to make of that ancient story relevant to our lives today. When the youngest child in the household asks the formulaic four questions beginning with “why is this night different from all over nights,” a chain reaction of responses is set in motion. Each person at the seder table shares his and her own a personal response to the Exodus story.

Hebrew, by its nature, promotes interpretation, storytelling, and the extension of the plain meaning of the text into all its metaphorical and allegorical possibilities. For example, the word for Egypt in Hebrew is actually not that of a particular nation, but rather it means “tight, narrow, and restricted places.” The word mitzrayim implies that enslavement is not only caused by the external and oppressive forces of a regime like that of the ancient Egyptian empire, but that there is an internal source of enslavement as well. So, from ancient times to this very day Jewish people ask each other at the seder table, implicitly or explicitly, “What are the tight and narrow places that are holding you back from becoming the free, creative, joyous, and liberated person that God would have you be this year?”

Another interesting word to study is the word “Pharaoh.” We all know, of course, that pharaoh was the title for each of the various a monarchs in ancient Egypt. But the word in Hebrew can be translated as “a mouth of that speaks evil.” So on Passover week we examine the subtle ways in which our mouths and speech get us into trouble. And knowing how difficult it is to change old, negative behavioral patterns, we ask for God’s intervention and aid in liberating of us from our old ways that enslave us, especially concerning the ways we speak to and about each other. Bottom line – Passover, to each Jew, must be a modern, relevant, and challenging story to each of us and not merely the retelling of an ancient Bible story, no matter how beautiful that story might be.

The prophet Isaiah 43:18 is told by the Lord: “Do not remember the former of things, or consider the things of old. I’m about to make new; now it springs forth. Don’t you see it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Is the prophet asking us to forgo the retelling of the Exodus story at Passover each year? No, but he is informing us in no uncertain terms that God does not need us to tell the old story unless its purpose is to make us new. Don’t we see it? All our old stories – national, tribal, religious, and personal – can become subtle idols at that we adore and worship, unless we permit our stories to touch us, heal us, and transform us. Only in this way will we discover that the wilderness of our lives has a way, a path, an invisible highway for us to follow, and that there is indeed a river flowing in the desert of our lives.

So here are the questions that we might ask ourselves this year: “Am I telling the same old story this year as I did last year? Am I telling my story as an excuse not to move forward toward my own liberation? Or am I telling my story and permitting God to make me new?”

The Christian story of Easter is the story of resurrection. It is not just Christ’s life that is central for you, and not just that he died for you. But it is in the resurrection that you are given the secret to God’s promise to make you new. If you only retell the passion story as a remembrance of things of old, if you only share the story of Jesus’ life as a history lesson, you are not doing the work that Easter requires of you. To find your way in the wilderness and make a river in your desert God asks each of you to explore the meaning of the resurrection in your own personal lives. What dream of yours has been crucified? What part of your life is on the cross with your Savior? What part of you has already died but has within it the promise of reawakening, of spring’s renewal, of resurrection?

Do you see the parallels in our two stories? They’re both springtime stories: ours is the story of liberation of the people to be interpreted and told as a story of personal liberation; yours is the story of the resurrection of Christ to be interpreted and told as the personal promise by God of your own reawakening. In Philippians 3, Paul says “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection in the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Paul is not content with the story of things of old, or with the telling of resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. No, he strives toward his own resurrection; not just a resurrection after he dies, but a resurrection of things dead while he is yet alive.

Do you see what Paul is saying here? Precisely what the Prophet Isaiah was trying to say. Take your story and transform it into a living process; take history and make it present; take the enslavement or the crucifixion of others and make it personal and relevant. In Psalm 126, King David sings: “When the Holy One brings about our return to Zion, we will have been like dreamers. Then our mouths will be filled with laughter, and our tongues with joyous song. They will say among the nations: ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us and we rejoiced. Turn again our captivity, O Lord as the streams is in the Negev. Though now he walks weeping carrying his bag of seed – he will return with joyous song carrying his sheaves.” May all of us who now sow in tears realize that soon we will reap in joy!

After our Passover, and after your Easter, with God’s blessing and with all the introspection and inner work that we are doing to make this season meaningful, may we meet each other in the street and be as dreamers who share a common dream. May our be mouths be filled with song and laughter! May we each return to the Zion of gratitude, happiness, health. God’s promise is that though we sow in tears, we are like the earth that has received the waters of the winter rains that have just passed, and through the rains, our tears, our joy is made possible. The equinox has passed, the full moon we both await is coming. It is almost Passover, almost Easter. We are readying ourselves for liberation and resurrection. Time will not wait for us. As the angel of death passes over our homes at midnight, may we mark our doorposts with the blood the lamb and be ready, in an instant, to be set free. God bless this church, our community, our nation, and our planet in this moment of renewal, liberation, and resurrection. Have a zisen (sweet) Pesach, and a transformative Easter.

Jan 31 2004

The Two Wars in Iraq

by Rabbi David Zaslow
November, 2004

There are really two wars in Iraq – a physical war and a spiritual war. Our sages teach us that events in our world are mirrored in the spiritual realm, and visa versa. Regardless of our political affiliations, I’m sure that we all pray for the safety of our soldiers, for their safe return, and for an end to terrorism. Since Biblical times the nation of Iraq (known then as both Mesopotamia and later as Babylon) was the quintessential archetype for the “place of confusion” for the Jewish people. The nation we call Iraq today was known in Biblical times as “Bavel,” and means both “confusion” and “withering.” In fact, the English word “babble” meaning “confused talking” comes from the Babylonian superpower that challenged Israel’s right to exist as a nation twenty-five hundred years ago.

In Genesis Chapter 11 a story is told that “the whole earth was of one language…. And they said, ‘Come, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven….’ And Hashem said, ‘Behold, the people are one…nothing will be restrained from them which they have schemed to do….So the Lord scattered them abroad…and they left off the building of the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because Hashem did there confuse the language….” Herein lies the secret for understanding the inner meaning of Babylon: it is a form of arrogance and confused thinking when any of us think we can “reach to heaven” with our material possessions and creations. The rabbis of the Talmud taught us to see Babylon as an archetype that could be applied to every generation.

The mystics in Jewish tradition teach us to take the archetype of Babylon one step further – right to our own personal lives. Babylon becomes the place of the confusion that each of us experiences in our own lives: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and politically. For instance, when we build towers to “reach to heaven” through an intellect separated from G-d we are, so to speak, serving the gods of Babylon. When we seek material possessions or power devoid of Torah ethics we are living in the confused world of Babylon. Yet, paradoxically, the land of Iraq (ancient Mesopotamia) was also a place of origin for the Jewish people. The Garden of Eden was partially on that land, and it was in the city of Ur where Abraham and Sarah heard the call to “go forth” to a land that G-d would show them. Later in Jewish history we were taken into captivity after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s Temple. He took tens of thousands of Jews as slaves to cities like Baghdad and Falluja which became the places of “confused” identity for our people. Why? Because as horrible as our enslavement was we were permitted to set up what became the greatest academies of learning in Jewish history. Even today the most popular edition of the Talmud is called the Babylonian Talmud.

In recent weeks the battle for the Iraqi city of Falluja has been at the top of the news. More than twenty-five hundred years ago, during the rule of the Babylonian empire the city of Falluja was one of the greatest centers for Jewish learning, and was known as Pumbeditha. It was there that we learned how to analyze and interpret – intellectual skills that later became a hallmark of Judaism. It was, in fact, in Babylon that the Jewish people gained detailed secular learning in subjects ranging from music to astronomy. Most scholars agree that Torah trope1 was developed in Babylon. Most agree that the names of the Hebrew months, and even the names of the archangels were learned in Babylon. What a paradox! Something bad (captivity) was transforming into something good (learning) – something that would help preserve the Jewish people for the next few thousand years.

I’m sure this transformation was “confusing” to our people, just as many of us are confused today when we hear the news. Yet, I believe that the Bible teaches that something good will also come from all this “confusion.” On the spiritual plane the second war in Iraq is a world war against both confusion and arrogance, and it could be that something incredible (peace and justice) will be coming out of all the pain and fear we are now experiencing. There seems to be a Divine message that arises out of the war in Iraq: whether you are conservative or liberal; whether you were for the war or against the war – do not be arrogant! Do not be confused! Rabbi Simon Jacobson recently wrote that “The real war – which is going on now for thousands of years, tracing back to the battles between Ishmael, Isaac, Esau and Jacob – is an ideological one: between matter and spirit, between the Divine and the universe – a war to make our peace with G-d and to discover unity between our natural lives and our Divine mission statement….Saying up is down and down is up, that’s Babel. Making absurd comparisons of Sharon to Hitler or Bush to Saadam, that’s Babel regardless of who you voted for.

Isn’t “saying up is down and down is up” what we hear from commentators and representatives from both the Left and Right today? From exaggerated claims and scandalous comments made by members of all the political parties, to the near paranoid conspiracy theories one hears – this is all part of Babel; all a part of our personal exile into Babylon; in the inner land of confusion. Babel is a description of the archetypal energy that exists in every one of us, in every culture, and in every nation. It is the force that divides people through confusion. The opposite of Babel is shalom, the Hebrew word that comes from a word root meaning “wholeness.” Shalom means that the whole, both sides of an issue, must be accounted for, and that people representing each side of an important issue actually need each other in order to fulfill G-d’s will in our world. Babel is “babble” because it divides and polarizes people in ways that are counterproductive and destructive. Shalom brings people together, even people who disagree – especially people who disagree! That is why shalom is so important in our era and why Babel must be corrected and transformed.

The archetypal struggle between Israel and Babylon is a struggle between those of us willing to wrestle with the complex, in-between, grey areas of truth, and those of us who confuse complex issues with nasty language, half-truths, hyperbole, and sloganeering. Let us be very, humble and maintain hope for the great redemption and cultural transformation that is happening before our eyes. It is written in Isaiah 63:1, “Who is this coming from Edom2, with sullied garments from Basra3? For a day of vengeance is in My heart and the year of My redemption has come.” To those of us on the political left – our garments are sullied! To those of us on the political right – our garments are sullied! Isaiah’s words imply a profound, world karmic balancing when he speaks of G-d’s “day of vengeance,” and yet the message is ultimately of hope as he quotes G-d speaking of “the year of My redemption.”

The metaphor that Rabbi Simon Jacobson,4 uses is that Esau has “two faces:” a face of sanctity since he is the twin of Jacob and the son of Issac and Rebecca, and a face of materialism. Just as Issac and Ishmael represent the struggle between Jews and Muslims in the world today, so Esau and Jacob represent the struggle and ultimate reunion between Europe, America, and the West with the Jewish people, and all other minorities who identify themselves with Jacob. European nations have always had “two faces” when it came to the Jewish people. At times we were welcome in the countries where we lived after the Diaspora, at other time we were the victims of pogroms, ethnic cleansing, and ultimately the Holocaust.

During Talmudic times (two thousand years ago) the rabbis associated Edom with the Roman Empire, or any nation or individual who exalted materialism over spirituality, military might over reason, and personal gain over justice. Yet at the end of the Jacob and Esau story5 the two brothers seem to reconcile their differences, and they form a kind of truce or peace treaty. But the story has a dangling conclusion because their is implied a future reunion6 of the brothers which never took place during their lifetimes. There are many of who sense that the world is still awaiting the complete reunion of these two brothers, and that current events on the world scene may be pointing to such a reunion very soon.

It could be said that the repentance of Esau takes place whenever force (the aggressive and materialistic side of Esau) is used for a moral, G-dly purpose, such as the defeat of fascism during World War II, or in the Cold War against communist tyranny during the second half of the twentieth-century. According to Rabbi Jacobson, Esau today is represented by Western culture, and in particular by Christianity. We know from history that the West certainly has two faces: the shadow side of Christianity produced the Crusades, Inquisition, the near genocide of Native Americans, colonialism, the brutal enslavement of Blacks, and the Holocaust. Yet the other face of Esau has been the incredible side of Western culture that has produced all the Torah-based institutions and values we associate with our democratic systems of justice and governance: freedom to dissent, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, egalitarianism, pluralism, etc.). My teacher, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, may his memory be a blessing, taught that in preparation for this reunion the Jewish people should call Esau “Uncle Esau,” so as to welcome him back to the family. The suggestion made me laugh when I first heard it, but Reb Shlomo was serious – Uncle Esau, hmm!

In every instance where there is a successful struggle for civil and human rights in America (women’s rights; the union movement and worker’s rights; minority civil rights; environmentalism; handicap access, etc.) Uncle Esau takes one step closer to coming home. This submission to Holiness and Justice by Power represents the true reunion of Esau to his brother Jacob – of Christianity and Western culture to all minorities as symbolized by the Jewish people. The archetypal struggle between Isaac and Ishmael and Jacob and Esau is being played out before our eyes. America represents Esau in the process of redeeming himself and returning to Jacob. Europe, as portrayed by Rabbi Jacobson, represents the side of Esau that is still struggling with its own brutal past of religious and racial intolerance, and a very spotty record in regard to the Jews. President Saadat of Egypt, may his memory be a blessing, represented the possibility of healing between the Issac and Ishmael. May their arise in all the Middle Eastern nations, and among the Palestinians, Muslim leaders of such vision and courage once again!

Right now, regardless of our personal opinions about the war in Iraq, our soldiers need our prayers and gratitude; the citizens of Iraq need our prayers. President Allawi7 needs our prayers for the success of the upcoming elections. President Karzai8 needs our prayers for the success of the burgeoning and vulnerable democracy that is emerging in Afghanistan. Our president needs our prayers. Regardless of our personal political positions I hope that all of us can pray for the speedy capture of al-Zarqawi and Osama Bin Laden. I hope that all of us can pray for the emergence of democratic, visionary, and moderate leadership for the Palestinians. And we need each other’s prayers. We need to davven for each other especially when we disagree with each other – and not in a patronizing way, not in a haughty, arrogant, self-righteous way. We need to all humble ourselves before the Living G-d, and declare “May Your will be done!”

During the past few years I have heard comments about Israel from people with otherwise progressive political ideas that have deeply troubled me. Not because their comments were critical of the state of Israel – after all, the obligation of the citizen of any democracy is self-criticism. If you want to hear criticism of Israel you need go no further than Israelis themselves. They are the only nation in the Middle East blessed with a constitution that assures and protects pluralism, egalitarianism, diversity, freedom to dissent, freedom for all religions to assemble, and for the inalienable right and obligation to criticize and protest.

The comments that have troubled me have been based upon beliefs that are utterly confused, utterly from the spiritual realm of Babel! How can bright, emotionally sensitive people display such a dangerous confusion of emotion and reason; a confusion of facts with slogans? In this past year alone I have heard Israel accused of practicing ethnic cleansing, slave labor, racism, apartheid, Naziism, all sorts of brutal human rights abuses, genocide, and a holocaust against the Palestinians. All of us have reason to be critical of this or that Israeli policy under this or that Israeli Prime Minister. In fact our holy Torah commands us to be bold and courageous in the face of power when their is injustice in anyplace in the world. But slander, exaggeration, hyperbole, gossip, mockery, absurd comparisons, making statements of moral equivalency where there is no equivalency – these are symptoms of Babylon; these are the battles we must wage in our own communities in the second war in Iraq; and the war each of us must fight within ourselves against arrogance and confusion. Anyone who equates President Bush with Saadam Hussain, or Ariel Sharon with Hitler, is under the spell of Babylon.

Someday, G-d willing, Saadam Hussain will stand trial under a fair system of justice in a newly democratic Iraq. I hope that during his trial the handful of Jews who remain in Iraq, out of hundreds of thousands who once thrived there, will be able to come into the courtroom just to read the words of the prophet Isaiah9 who wrote, “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, ‘How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased!’” But even more, I hope and pray for a time of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation for all the children of Jacob, Ishmael, and Esau in the Middle East – for the long awaited reunion of the children of Abraham.

Little by little this seems to be what is unfolding on the world scene right now. Our own inner work is simply to defeat our own confusion so that we can make the correct political decisions along the way. We need to be willing to form new alliances, and always follow the idealistic vision of our Torah – the vision that guided Rev. Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights movement; the vision that Moses followed when he confronted Pharaoh; and the vision that our father Jacob followed when he and his brother wept at their reunion. The Holy One is offering all the children of Abraham (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) a vision of justice and reconciliation once again. We, who are the living embodiment of Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Sarah and Hagar, have arrived at a pivotal moment in history. We seem to be enacting the final scene on the world stage that could lead to the messianic era of peace and justice that we all yearn for.

In Psalm 137 it is written, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion….If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill…” The Psalmist calls us to remember Jerusalem, to remember, and not to be confused, and not to permit the fear and anger to guide our lives. Let us work for peace, pray for peace, and support our friends in Israel today who are living and dying for nothing less than peace. Let us support all our friends in all the nations of the world who are risking their lives for democracy, justice, pluralism, and freedom. Right now there are Muslims ready to die (and many probably will) for a reformation of their religion; and for true pluralism within their cultures; and for democracy within their governments. Let us keep these courageous children of Ishmael and Esau in our prayers, and pledge them our support. After all, they are our cousins! Ishmael was beloved by our father Abraham and Esau was beloved by our father Issac – we should do no less.

Finally, let us never forget the words of prophet Isaiah what he wrote10 regarding Israel, Egypt, and the nations that were once part of the Assyrian Empire (the land where the modern nations of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq are situated today) during the 9th. and 8th. centuries BCE. Let us raise this seemingly impossible prophesy as a banner of hope for all the children of Abraham: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria – a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.’” May the Holy One bless each of us to have the courage to begin building that highway today – some of us through diplomacy and dialogue, others through music and art, and some through prayer. Please G-d, may Israel be seen for what it has the potential to really be – “…a blessing in the midst of the land.”

1The ancient system of musical notation used when chanting from the Torah
2In the book of Genesis Edom is another name for Jacob’s fraternal twin brother, Esau.
3Basra is an ancient port city in southern Iraq – close to Kuwait, and close to Abraham and Sarah’s home in the city of Ur.
5Genesis 33:1-4
6Genesis 33:14
7The current, interim leader of Iraq
8The newly, democratically elected president of Afghanistan
9Isaiah 14:4
10Isaiah 19:22-25

by Rabbi David Zaslow
January, 2004
Contrary to popular opinion the Hebrew word shalom does not mean “peace,” at least not in the English sense of the word. It comes from a Hebrew root-word that means “wholeness.” And what is wholeness? In the Hebraic way of thinking, wholeness is the joining together of opposites. That’s why we say “shalom” when we greet friends and when we are wish them farewell. In the most opposite of situations (coming and going) we use the same word, “shalom.” There is a hidden connection to all our comings and goings; they are wondrously linked together. When I come from somewhere, I am going to someplace else. When I realize this, I feel “wholeness,” and that is the source of peace – the knowledge that all my opposing energies are somehow linked and part of a single whole. True peace must have wholeness as its foundation.

If I am a political left-winger I am only flying with one wing. If I am a political right-winger I am only flying with one wing; yet it takes two wings for an eagle to fly. It takes the integration of two opposing positions for there to be real “shalom.” The word dialogue comes from the Greek “dia + logos” meaning “across words,” or “across reason,” or “speech that goes back and forth.” It’s easy to have a left wing or a right wing “peace rally” with people who already agree with us. But this is not the wholeness that is implied in the word “shalom.”

In the Hebraic view, shalom brings the binary mind together, integrating the left brain modality of thinking (linear) and the right brain modality (intuitive). When I say hello to someone I say “shalom.” When I say goodbye to someone I say “shalom.” What is more opposite than coming and going? Hello and goodbye? Shalom is the most radical union of opposites imaginable. Shalom brings together people who disagree with each other so that each will listen deeply to the “other” side. It is the people you do not agree with who have the greatest gift for you – the gift of the potential for wholeness.

The peace movement I belong to is not liberal or conservative, it is both liberal and conservative. It is not left wing or right wing, it flies with two wings. It is not religious vs. secular, rather it integrates the genius of both science and spirituality. The peace movement I belong to refuses to create an “other” out of the people with whom I may disagree on a particular issue. To the contrary, the peace movement I belong to is one of dialogue: tough dialogue, heart-wrenching dialogue, gentle dialogue, but always dialogue – speech that goes back and forth – with each side constantly challenging, refining, and purifying the “other” until we recognize that the “other” is none “other” than a reflection of our own selves.

Reb Shlomo Carlebach z”l taught about Psalm 122 when he said, “A prayer for peace: Because of my brothers and sisters – not just me, but for the whole world, let there be peace! Do you know why there is no peace in the world? Because the world is into force. First they force war on each other, now they want to force peace upon each other. But it doesn’t work. Peace by force isn’t peace. Peace is the most non-force in the world.”

May God’s blessings flow upon everyone who is part of this unnamed and unnameable movement, wave, energy, and heavenly blessing that comes from God, the true Source of Shalom. In Jewish liturgy we celebrate God as the “Former of light and Creator of darkness, Maker of peace, and Creator of the whole.” Created in that image, may this wholeness manifest in our lives and within the world. Amayn!

by Rabbi David Zaslow
December, 2003

1. God Has a Plan

If you accept the idea of Divine Providence then bear with my thesis for a moment even if you disagree with some of my conclusions. G-d spread the Jewish people out throughout Europe during the Middle Ages on a special mission. After the folly of the Crusades Jews witnessed how the Protestant Reformation created diversity and some degree of “people power” that was not being given by the Roman Catholic Church. And we witnessed how the Catholic Church benefited from the Reformation as well.

And then we witnessed a flowering of consciousness in the 16th Century which ultimately led to the great secular antithesis of religion called the Enlightenment. People got the idea that humans could take care of their own problems without the intervention of a divine power. And so, secular humanism was born; the Enlightenment arose; and the Industrial age began.

We Jews didn’t intend to be in the middle of all that social upheaval. We Jews didn’t mean to be influenced by the Reformation or the Enlightenment, but we were. Just as we were influenced by the genius of the outside world during the Babylonian exile twenty-six hundred years ago, so we were influenced by European social evolution in our own time. As a result of both these social upheavals (the Reformation and the Enlightenment) we have today, thank G-d, our own Reform, Conservative, Renewal, and Reconstructionist movements. The 16th. Century kabbalistic revival and the 18th. century Hasidic revolution arose from these European social paradigm shifts as well.

So what did the Ribbono Shel Olam have in mind after the Shoah? Maybe to send Jews back to the Middle East in order to plant the seeds of Reformation and Enlightenment. What the Muslim world has not gone through YET is a process that ultimately led to what is best in the West: pluralism, egalitarianism, and democracy. In the 20th century alone America had a woman’s suffrage movement, union movement, civil rights movement, woman’s movement, gay rights movement, and ecological movement. Six major civil rights struggles and our Constitution was flexible to accommodate them all. Lots of lawsuits, but a judicial system that was eventually able to come to the proper conclusions.

Certainly school desegregation was 100 years late, but our culture survived because p’shat (simple) readings of Constitution were challengable at higher levels. So “all men are created equal” eventually became “all black and white men” and then finally “all men and women,” and soon “all men, women, gay, or straight.”

2. Hatred of Jews Today

Jews are hated in Israel not for anything Israel has done. This foolish Israeli policy or that foolish policy are up for critique. But these policies are not the cause of the current intafada. Arab anti-Semitism today is based on a filtered and flawed view of reality. The Jews have come to the Middle East with the seeds of pluralism and democracy. Hamas knows it. Islamic Jihad knows it. Osama knows it. They are afraid that the union movement, and feminism, and gay rights movements are coming their way. And they are correct.

B’ezrat Hashem (with G-d’s help) these civil rights movements are coming to Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and Libya, and everywhere else. Fear of globalism is a cover for what’s happening under the surface. Sure folks blame McDonalds and Office Depot, but the abuse of corporate power was NOT the cause of the destruction of the World Trade Center. That was the excuse.

The cause that Osama stands for is anti-pluralism. And who is bringing pluralism into the Middle East? Jews and Americans, of course Osama may say that Zionism is a form of colonialism, but this is just an expression of the primitive way his mind is scanning the shifting paradigm.

Scapegoating the Jews is ancient. And it’s happening before our eyes. The desperation within the Arab world is really hatred against their own outdated paradigms of hierarchical, patriarchal, and dictatorial systems of governance. When this kind of hatred of your own “father” (i.e.. your own leaders) goes unconscious the Shadow comes alive. “It’s the fault of the Jews” they cried in Germany as their own economy faltered due to the punishing treaty they were forced to sign after World War I.

“It’s the fault of the Jews” some Arabs are screaming now due to the punishing effects of post colonial regimes established by the British and the French, and the punishing regimes maintained by their own leaders after the colonialists left. But their rage at the primary, core, energetic level is against their own fathers. Like all good unconscious behavior (seen in racists and bigots throughout history) the sick mind ingeniously finds someone else to blame it on. In Palestine and Israel its the Jews who are being blamed for the failure of the Palestinian fathers.

Look at some numbers for a moment. In 1993 about fifty-percent of the Palestinians were willing to finally share the land in the two-state solution that they rejected in 1948. Twenty-percent were uncertain. And between ten to twenty-percent outright rejected any kind of peace or two state-solution. Who were these ten to twenty-percent? Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aksa Bridgade, Hezbollah, and the other various terrorist organizations.

These groups represent Islamic fundamentalism that CANNOT ever have Jews owning a nation in the Middle East. It’s impossible because on a p’shat level the Koran says so. ALL of Palestine is Dar el Islam. Jews were and are to the fundamentalist in the realm of Dar el-Harb, the House of War.

When I met with the spiritual leader of Hamas in 1998, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, he was not a duplicitious character like Arafat. He was clear, honest, and straight-forward: ISRAEL CANNOT REMAIN A NATION. Who’s doing the suicide bombings? Not the fifty-percent of Palestinians who want a peaceful, two-state solution! Not the twenty-percent who are uncertain! But this huge minority of 10-20% represented by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah.

Just think of America. We have a one-half of one-percent fringe between our extreme Left and Right. This tiny minority represents Ruby Ridge, Waco, the folks who bomb abortion clinics, the eco-terrorists who spike trees and burn the homes of rich people, animal rights terrorists who set fires in research labs, etc.

One-half of one-percent and America can barely keep track of them. Imagine if America’s fringe represented fifteen-percent. With this kind of huge minority it would probably be impossible for us to keep the peace. Even if a Palestinian moderate wanted to keep the peace, I think it would be nearly impossible at this stage in their social evolution. Socially they are at the level of Europe during the Crusades: pre-Reformation, pre-Enlightenment, pre-democratic, and pre-pluralistic.

The real martyrs among the Palestinians will be those willing to give their lives for peace by COMING OUT WITH THE TRUTH in public: that the murder of civilians by terrorists is a crime against Allah; that Palestinians are destined to live side-by-side with Israel; and that democratic and pluralistic institutions are the road to freedom for the Arab peoples. Arafat has already quietly killed hundreds of so-called collaborators since 1993 as an appeasement to Hamas in order for him to stay in power. Just before Passover he killed eight more “collaborators,” and who really knows what they were doing?

I DO JUST A LITTLE. I know a Sheikh from the West Bank. He came to the United States recently and offered prayers and teachings in several synagogues. When he returned to Israel he was warned that he couldn’t go home to his West Bank village. Why? Because Fatah had him on the collaborator list. You can read all about this courageous Sheikh in Yossi Klein Halevi’s book “At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden.” Halevi was forced to change the name of the Sheikh in the book to Ibrahim in order to protect his anonymity. Today, baruch Hashem, he is being protected in an Israeli city by Orthodox rabbis. What an irony, but I think G-d’s fingerprints are all over this.

3. The Religious Factor

Rabbi Menachem Froman works from the premise that beneath the politics this is essentially a religious war, a battle between two fundementalisms: the Jewish notion of eretz Yisrael, that all the land is ours. The other is that of Dar el-Islam, the Islamic notion that all the land is Muslim. The solution according to the rebbe? To lock fundamentalist Jews and Muslims in a room until they come to a solution based on Koran and Torah.

Rabbi Froman suggests that the problems with Oslo stem from the fact the religious factor was disregarded. The fundamentalists on both sides were not brought to the table. The result has been treaties made by secular pragmatists like Arafat and Rabin. But the solution, according to Froman, must include the idealists—the fundamentalist. Afterall, the ones doing the terrorism are not the pragmatists, but the religious idealists who CANNOT have a two-state solution.

I, personally, have come to believe that their is merit in his argument. The religious extremists might drive you crazy at the bargaining table with their rigid readings of Torah and Koran on land issues. But they are the ones that destroy the peace treaties when one is signed without their consent. Bring them to the table! Let us support Rabbi Froman’s yeshiva that he has been collecting funds for – one where the idealistic eretz Yisrael kids and the idealistic Dar el-Islam kids can fight it out over texts.

4. The Hope

As hopeless as things seem when hearing the horrific reports of suicide bombings every day, I am very hopeful for the long-term future. I get my comfort for the words of our prophets. Isaiah 19:21 reads, “In that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come to Egypt, and the Egyptian to Assyria, and the Egyptians shall worship with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.’”

Blessed be Egypt? Egyptians are G-d’s people? Blessed be Syria? Syria, the work of G-d’s hands? These are radical words, and profoundly reshapes the notion of the ultimate relationships that are being forged in fire today in the Middle East. It is not easy to recognize the blessing within a curse, but we have no other choice. We are Jews, and that’s part of our job.

On a practical level I will continue to call for the democratization of the nations that surround Israel. I will help in any way I can to encourage free elections, the right to dissent, the right of a free and critical press, the rights of workers to unionize, and the rights of women to organize in Arab nations. I humbly submit that only with democracy will the citizens of these nations be allowed to make a lasting peace with Israel and have economic prosperity for themselves.

Dec 31 2003


by Rabbi David Zaslow
December, 2003

Contrary to popular opinion the Hebrew word “shalom” does not mean “peace,” at least not in the English sense of the word. It comes from a Hebrew root-word that means “wholeness.” And what is wholeness? In the Hebraic way of thinking wholeness is the joining together of opposites. That’s why we say “shalom” when we greet friends and when we are wish them farewell. In the most opposite of situations (coming and going) we use the same word, “shalom.” There is a hidden connection to all our comings and goings; they are wondrously linked together. When I come from somewhere I am going to some place else. When I realize this I feel “wholeness,” and that is the source of peace – the knowledge that all my opposing energies are somehow linked and part of a single whole. True peace must have wholeness as its foundation.

If I am a political left winger I am only flying with one wing. If I am a political right winger I am only flying with one wing, yet it takes two wings for an eagle to fly. It takes the integration of two opposing positions for there to be real “shalom.” The word dialogue comes from the Greek “dia + logos” meaning “across words” or “speech that goes back and forth.” It’s easy to have a left wing or a right wing “peace rally” with people we already agree with, but this is not the wholeness that is implied in the word “shalom.”

So what is the Hebraic view of shalom? Shalom brings the binary mind together, integrating the left brain modality of thinking (linear, logical, and rational) and the right brain modality (spiritual, intuitive, and creative). Shalom brings people together who disagree with each other in order to listen deeply to the “other” side. It is the people you do not agree with who have the greatest gift for you – the gift of the potential for wholeness.

The peace movement I belong to is not liberal or conservative, it is both liberal and conservative. It is not left wing or right wing; it flies with two wings. It is not religious vs. secular, rather it integrates the genius of both science and spirituality. The peace movement I belong to refuses to create an “other” out of the people with whom I may disagree on a particular issue. To the contrary, the peace movement I belong to is one of deep dialogue: tough dialogue, heart wrenching dialogue, gentle dialogue, but always dialogue – speech that goes back and forth – with each side constantly challenging, refining, and purifying the “other” until we recognize that the “other” is none “other” than a reflection of our own selves.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach taught, “The Baal Shem teaches that when people are happy they clap their hands. This is because joy is spreading throughout the entire body. But do you know what it is that I’m really doing when I’m clapping? A person is bringing the left and right to love each other. Let me explain. The right usually tells the left ‘Listen, you know you’re a leftist. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.’ And the left (hand) says to the right, ‘Who needs you? You’re so boring. You’re always doing something good. Who needs you and your mitzvot. I have no strength for you.’ So the right doesn’t speak to the left and left doesn’t speak to the right. But when clapping hands, the left comes close to the right and says, ‘Hey, you’re precious after all.’ And the left says to the right: ‘I love you.’ So let’s sing and pray that the Holy One stirs the eyes of our people so that we recognize that we are only one, a holy and sanctified nation. Then we’ll all see there really is no right or left, but just the music; music and the dance.”

May G-d’s blessings flow upon all my brothers and sisters who are part of this unnamed and unnameable movement, wave, energy, and heavenly blessing that comes from G-d, the true Source of Shalom. In Jewish liturgy we celebrate G-d as the “former of light and Creator of darkness, Maker of peace, and Creator of the whole.” Created in that image, may this wholeness manifest in our lives and within the world. Amayn!

by Rabbi David Zaslow
December, 2003

What’s the darkest night of the year? You might guess the winter solstice on December 21st! But that’s the shortest night of the year, not necessarily the darkest. Each year, on the sixth night of Hanukkah, we mark the new moon of Tevet. Hanukkah begins on the 25th of Kislev, near the end of the lunar month. The sixth night of Hanukkah is the evening of 1st of Tevet.

During the days surrounding Hanukkah we contemplate the interplay between light and darkness. The autumn has passed, and we are in the middle of the winter. In an exquisite paradox our rabbis teach us that although it is light that permits us to see, it is in the darkness that we can see the farthest. During daylight we only see what is near, but as soon as night comes we can see the stars, which are light-years away from us. This paradox has a very profound application during Hanukkah, since it is through our past mistakes (the darkness within our past) that we have learned to see the greatest distances.

We don’t need candles in the daylight and we don’t need Hanukkah in July. Our tradition teaches us that the darkest time of the year is not the season to make confessions and resolutions for a new year. That work is done during the season of the autumn equinox (September 21st, which falls near Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur). The shortest and darkest days of the year, around the winter solstice, are given to us by the Creator so that we can go deeply inside ourselves and be thankful for all the transformations that have already occurred.

During Hanukkah we celebrate how our past negative traits (the darkness) are being transformed (the candle) into something that will turn out for the good (the full light of the upcoming spring). The month of Kislev is a time to integrate the shadow that is within each of us. What happens when we light a candle in the darkness during Hanukkah? We make shadows! We have enough light to see what is near us, and we preserve enough of the darkness so that we can see the lights in the far distance.

For Hanukkah to have real meaning it has to be more than eating latkes, giving gifts, or even telling the marvelous stories of the miracle of the oil and the world’s first battle for religious freedom. For Hanukkah to have meaning it must be personal. The word for “the oil” in Hebrew is הַשֶׁמֶן ha-shemen. It contains the same letters as the word for soul, which is נְשָׁמָה neshamah. Oil has something to do with soul. The word for “wick” in Hebrew is פְּתִילָה petillah, which contains the same Hebrew letters as the word for “prayer,” which is תְּפִלָּה t’fillah. Prayer is a conduit for the soul the same way a wick is a conduit for the oil. Prayer is not an end in itself, any more than the wick is the goal of the candle.

Prayer is the means to an end, and the end is a connection to the Divine. In the same way, the wick transports the oil to the flame and permits the flame to be continuous and steady. Only when we light the wick does it draw up the oil in a continuous flame. Only when we ignite our prayers with passion does the light burn continuously, seemingly on its own. And as anyone who loves to pray knows, a good davven lasts for eight days. That’s the real miracle of Hanukkah, available to everyone of us.

Nov 28 2003

The Kites We Fly

by Rabbi David Zaslow
November, 2003
I was eight years old in 1955 when Hurricane Diane struck the East Coast. I lived in in a little beach community called Sea Gate, in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The day of the storm was dark, and the rain soared downward and even sideways across our front window. I was sick that week and was home with little to do but watch the wind on the beach as the sand was tossed high into the air like hair wildly brushed. I saw the turbulent tides of the Atlantic form high swells that jumped onto the beach as if trying to reach my house.

That day I built my first box-kite. I concentrated with all my might as I meticulously glued each piece of long, thin popsicle-stick wood and plastic skin together. I neatly wound the string and knotted the end to a stick that was to be my spool. The spool was a kind of steering devise that I could tug and turn, commanding my kite to perform all sorts of amazing aerial acrobatics. I was so proud of my checkerboard blue and red masterpiece. On August 19th, the rains were over, the sun was bright and reborn after the storm, and the air itself felt alive. The winds calmed down to a gusty 25 m.p.h., and I figured it was perfect weather to fly my box kite on the beach, even though I was still a little feverish. I swaggered in the wind to the beach, holding my kite close to my chest.

Every kid knows that normally he/she has to run to get his kite aloft, but that day when I let go of the kite the wind instantly took hold like some gigantic magnet. A gust pulled my kite and unwound hundreds of feet of string from the stick in mere seconds. Up and up, it was like a rocket on a straight line toward heaven. And then…the unthinkable. The kite, my first box kite, the kite I had made by hand, snapped from the stick and continued out across the Atlantic. I felt insulted, shocked, and angry. The wind seemed to know what it was doing, and how it would affect an eight-year old boy who was flying his first box-kite.

Hurricane, rain, beach, kite, string, spool, and child. We have all faced hurricanes – moments of grief, loss, rebirth, change, and transformation. We have all built kites – our jobs, hobbies, and relationships, and we tie our kites to a very thin string and knot them to the spool of our hearts. King Solomon chanted a poem that we read each autumn on Sukkot that says “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” If we try to fly a kite when the winds are too strong…snap, it will likely break away from us. Everything has its own time.

In a way all of our personal spiritual practices, our prayer and meditation, are as delicate as a box kite. We protect ourselves by practicing in communal gatherings, in the privacy of our homes, or surrounded by the beauty of nature. But like a kite on a string, we are all so vulnerable. Take away the beauty of nature and replace it with the fury of nature– and snap, the kite will break loose. Take away the elegance of a synagogue service and we find ourselves struggling to do the inner work that each holiday calls forth.

The festival of Sukkot that just passed is a reminder of the how delicate our dwelling places really are, and how subject we all are to the winds and rains of life. Yet it is those very rains that make spring possible. So, may the Holy One bless us all to make our kites well, but to know when to fly them… never in strong winds the day after a hurricane on a beach in Brooklyn.

Oct 31 2003

The Accent of Faith

by Rabbi David Zaslow
October, 2003

I remember being at the film “Schindler’s List” with an Israeli friend who pointed out that everytime Hebrew was spoken a different accent was used. Jews from German pronounced a Hebrew word one way, Jews from Poland pronounced the same word differently. But my Israeli friend pointed out that the accents in the movie differed within the same family, and she did not think it was a “continuity” error on the part the film’s director, Steven Speilberg. Rather, she thought, that it was a subtle statement that all Jewish people are unified, even when there are differences in accent. A personal story: I remember in Brooklyn that some of us with heavy accents pronounced the word “oil” as “earl.” My dad, for example, would be in a restaurant and say, “Pass the earl and vinegar.” Then in the early 60’s a pop song came out called “Duke of Earl.” And how did my father pronounce the title of the song? He’d say “Duke of Oil.” Like any good teenager I pointed the contradiction out to him. “Dad,” I said, “You say ‘Oil’ when you should say ‘Earl’ and you say ‘earl’ when you should say ‘oil.’ Can’t you get it right?” He laughed and jokingly said, “Mind your business. It’s my accent!” I got the point, and today I get the point at an even deeper level than my father may have intended. A spiritual journey has an accent. One of us may prefer rituals and formal services, another prefers deeds of loving kindness. Each mitzvah is part of the accent of our souls. Some of us prefer communal prayer, others prefer to perform g’milut hasadim (deeds of loving-kindness). Some prefer quiet meditation, others prefer ecstatic davvenen (prayer). There is no right or wrong about our choices, there is no better or worse since these choices are not in the category of morality. A spiritual accent is simply the way we filter the Divine commandments and shape them to suit our own individual and communal needs. Each accent has its own innate beauty. But the secret to deepening our spiritual path is to keep reformulating the way we speak and to permit our metaphorical accent to take on new shapes and sounds. In Judaism this means to continually take on new mitzvot and add them to our repertoire of Divine responses. In this way we better ourselves, better the world, and make deeper and deeper connections to the world of the soul. The world we live in is but one dimension within many worlds. There are worlds above this world, worlds below this world, and worlds within this world. Some call these worlds realms, others call them dimensions, and some prefer to call them levels. The labels are but metaphors pointing to the depths of reality. Not just the simple reality of our day-to-day lives, but the totality of reality which encompasses everyday existence and the transcendental. Studying Kabbalah we learn (Mee-malay kole ole-meen v’so-vayv kole ole-meen) that G-d “fills all worlds and surrounds all worlds.” There is no “outside” G-d to worship and believe in. There is no artificial split between the transcendence of G-d and the immimance of G-d. Worlds within worlds. Dimensions within dimensions. It is all part of a single fabric. May Hashem bless each and every one of us to fix the personal fabric of our souls where it needs to be fixed. May we blessed with the courage to adjust our behaviors in ways that put us more and more in touch with the Divine.

by Rabbi David Zaslow
September, 2003
As I think about my father’s life, the distance between 1930 and 1963 seems vast. So many stories took place within those years: the Great Depression, World War II, the 50’s, and the start of the 60’s. Yet, in an odd way, the distance in time within my own life between 1970 and 2003 doesn’t seem so vast in comparison. Historically, of course, there have been huge changes within the past three decades: the cultural changes brought about by the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and feminism, all the way to the technological revolution as we entered the age of personal computing and the Internet.

But I’m referring to my subjective sense about the passage of time. My father’s life seems to have passed slowly. My life seems to have passed quickly. There’s nothing “true” about what I’m saying. After all, thirty-three years is thirty-three years whether it’s 1930 to 1963 or 1970 to 2003. But it’s our personal, subjective sense of time that gives our memory its reference points. I remember when I came to Ashland in 1970. I remember when my daughter was born in 1981 and when my son was born in 1983.

Today Rachel is a college graduate working in the “old country,” in Brooklyn. Of all places, she picks Brooklyn! I was off to college in 1965 during the first major East Coast blackout. She’s out of college and in Manhattan walking back to Brooklyn during the last blackout in August. I remember leaving for college in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1965, and here I am thirty-eight years later preparing to drive my son to for his first day of college in Lewiston, Idaho.

So, what does all this temporal measuring and sentimental reminiscing have to do with the upcoming High Holidays? Everything, I suspect. Everything. After all, what is autumn all about if not for returning and remembering? If not for looking back and looking forward? If not for the most personal, personal examination of successes and missed opportunities? The High Holidays aren’t just for the big stuff, for our major sins of commission and omission. The High Holidays are not necessarily about the macro-dramas of our lives. More often, they seem to be about all the small stuff that, when collaged together, form a picture – a picture of our fragmented lives during the year that has just passed.

In autumn the leaves begin to fall, and internally we begin to fall as well. The days grow colder, and we grow colder as well. Nature returns to its Source and we return to that same Source as well. The four-step program of Jewish time follows the rhythm of nature: the public gratitude we express to Hashem on Rosh HaShanah; the private yet communal inwardness we experience during Yom Kippur; the outwardness we live during Sukkot, and the synthesis of the inner and outer during Simchat Torah. Together all four holidays form a single picture, a mirror of our lives.

By taking the time to experience all four of the high holidays we are saying, “Yes” to the Creator. “Yes, create a new person within each me. Yes, let me examine the past so that I may be present in this moment. And may my presence in this moment give me the courage and momentum I need to reach my tomorrow.” May the Holy One bless each of us with good memories and changes that are as natural as the seasons themselves.

by Rabbi David Zaslow
April, 2003

As we know, there are many levels of freedom. One person is free on the outside and bound on the inside. Another is bound in chains and free in her soul. Passover in Hebrew is פֶּסַח pesach and the word has its etymology in the leaping or skipping movement of lambs. “Passover” is not really the correct translation for Pesach. “Leaping Over” might be more accurate. Leaping implies that the obstacle is still there. The journey from here to there, from slavery to freedom, is one that we all make. Often we don’t really eliminate our obstacles, we simply leap over them. Maybe the term “a leap of faith” comes from this notion. How do I get out of my chains, habits, negative attitudes? How to I remove myself from the forces of the Pharaoh that I grew up with? How do I get out of my private Egypt, which in Hebrew is מִצְרַיִם mitzrayim, meaning tight, bound, and narrow places?

The answer may be in our biology. Birth requires the infant to make his first major journey. From the womb into the realm of gravity, the infant must travel through her first narrow place. From birth on, movements and changes will not be so easy. Yet the remembrance of our birth will shape our destiny; will be a determinant factor in the way we handle problems and challenges throughout our lives. I do not like the term “birth trauma” as much as “birth template.” Birth and death are the two most powerful experiences in our lives. They bookend both beginning and end. All issues in between (i.e., during life) will be placed upon the template of what we remember from birth and how we anticipate death.

Pesach is the season of our liberation. All the images in the book of שְׁמוֹת Sh’mot (Exodus) come into play during the springtime. We want to get outside. We need to get outside. We want to be free, liberated. We yearn to fall in love. The festival of Passover is a marker for what is already happening biologically and in nature. The seder dinner is not just a reenactment of a historical event, but a dress rehearsal for what we are each going to do in our lives the morning after the celebration.

During Yom Kippur we dwell on our sins. We chant עַל חֵטְא ahl chayt, confessing that we have sinned. We take inventory of all that is inside. We mark each internal item with a label: “keep,” “discard,” or “change.” We make new vows, dissolve the old ones, and methodically make a file of all transactions. It is a careful, a care-full process.

Not so during Passover. Pesach is a care-free, an almost care-less process. It requires action quickly. We need to act NOW. The angel of death will ride over our homes at midnight. Quick. Clean house. Quick. Take the lamb of our innocence and steak its blood (our own anguish) on the doorposts. Quick. The dawn is coming. We leave in a hurry. No time for inventory and careful filing or analysis. Now is the time to make the leap, to make the skip.

Have a problem? Skip over it! Have an old habit that you want to change? Skip over it! Have a negative behavior pattern? Skip over it! Don’t analyze. Don’t think about your problems too much: just make the change. The words from the Torah describe God as having taken us out of Egypt “…with an outstretched arm and a mighty hand.” What a metaphor! It means that we’re not alone. If we take the first step, God will lead us to freedom. In the springtime there is “nothing to do” to make liberation happen. It just seems to happen by itself. Something invisible in the universe will take care of it. Not all the time. Not during the autumn, but yes, now, during the spring, this is possible.

A wonderful Christian once asked Reb Zalman if Jews were saved by grace or works? The Rebbe answered, “From Yom Kippur to Purim (autumn through winter) we’re saved by works. From Passover to Rosh HaShanah (spring through summer) we’re saved by grace.” It’s a funny answer, but it’s true. Judaism sees a balance between our actions (works) and God’s actions (grace). We need both grace and works. We’re the ones who make the preparations for a long winter, storing up food and supplies. But during springtime? We feel the hand of God’s grace descending. If we wait, the bounty of the land and trees will feed us like living angels of the Holy One.

It’s not a choice between grace or works. It’s both, each one in its time and proper season. Doing it yourself: that’s the “works” of autumn. Leaving it to God: that’s the grace of Springtime. Liberation is not something to strive for. It’s built into the hard drive of the seasons, of our biology. There’s nothing to do, just BE! So, when the moment comes and you hear God’s voice say “make the change,” LEAP.

Coming soon– Reimagining Exodus: A Story of Freedom