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"Winter Trees"

February 1, 2024


Rabbi Nathan Martin

Friends, as we find ourselves wintering down, I am reminded of William Carlos Williams poem, Winter Trees.

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

May we, in this moment between...

Finding Our Spiritual Center

January 1, 2024


Rabbi Nathan Martin

Friends, we begin January by also beginning the book of Exodus, the core story of liberation that animates us as a Jewish people. It is a story we refer to every day in our daily prayer when we sing the “Mi Kamocha.”

As we cope with the Hamas attack of October 7, and the ensuing Gaza war and its repercussions around the world, I have been wondering about what the spiritual teachings are that we can glean from our liberation story...Read more...

"An Evening Prayer in Times of Conflict" by Jacqueline Goldfinger

December 5, 2023


Rabbi Nathan Martin

Friends, we continue to direct our thoughts and prayers to Israel at this time. I share a brief excerpt from "An Evening Prayer in Times of Conflict" by Jacqueline Goldfinger.

Praise be to you, Adonai,
Ruler of the Universe, from the tallest mountain to the deepest valley, from my weeping heart to my clenched fist.

Your Greatness can hold all of my anger and despair as it can hold all of my hope and joy.
Your Unifying...

Pirkei Avot

October 30, 2023


Rabbi Nathan Martin

Dear Friends,

Like many of you I have been heartbroken of the horrific murders carried out by Hamas militants against Israelis, the taking of hostages, and also the loss of civilian lives in Gaza during this conflict. Know that we are with you and we do our best to hold and grieve the loss together and also pray for a quick resolution to this conflict with a minimum of loss of life.

As American Jews, we are deeply affected by...

Facing the Future Together

September 1, 2023


Rabbi Nathan Martin

How might we use some of our time on this holy day of Shabbat and Rosh Hashanah, and during the upcoming 10 days of repentance to face this moment of significant climate crisis? What texts and practices might speak to us?

First, the mishnah describes Rosh Hashanah as a moment when “all creatures pass before the Divine like sheep [benei maron].” What if the metaphor of creatures passing before the divine was more like an...Read more...

A Seder for the New Year?

August 23, 2023


Rabbi Nathan Martin

There is an interesting energy around the observance of Rosh Hashanah. One the one hand this is clearly a moment of solemnity, of “Yom Ha-Din,” the Day of Judgment, where we find ourselves at the beginning of the aseret yemei teshuva, the ten days of repentance, when we recommit to the work of healing rifts in our relationships and becoming our better selves.

Relatedly, Rosh Hashanah, is also historically understood as a divine...Read more...

Retelling our Liberation Story

April 2, 2023


Rabbi Nathan Martin

In the midst of the narrative of the ten plagues the Torah takes an interesting pause to describe in detail the prepara­tions and celebration of the Passover holiday. The Torah even imagines at the moment a time when the need to re-tell the story will be inevitable, “And when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this rite?’ you shall say, ‘It is the passover sac­ri.ce to YHVH who passed over the houses of the Israelites in...Read more...

Learning Before Shavuot

May 31, 2022


Rabbi Nathan Martin

Friends, at our community seder this year right before we counted the Omer, the period that marks our transition from the liberation of Pesah to the receiving of Torah on Shavuot, I asked each participant to consider one piece of learning they wanted to take on in the next 49 days, a way of learning Torah to be ready to receive Torah. I also offer this as a blessing to you all and invite you to consider taking on a practice or learning a new...Read more...

Ending Our Spiritual Drought

September 1, 2021


Rabbi Nathan Martin

"Our Creator, Our Sovereign"

In studying the High Holiday liturgy with Rabbi Elie Kaunfer last year, I explored the origin of the Avinu Malkeinu prayer, one of the highlights of the High Holiday liturgy. The final verse of the prayer reads, “Our Creator, our sovereign, be gracious with us and respond to us, for we have no deeds to justify us; deal with us in righteousness and love, and save us now (Kol Haneshama Mahzor...Read more...

The Torah of Transitions

July 1, 2021


I recently listened to a fascinating radio program that focused on a person who was able to listen to and follow four symphonies playing at the same time! This carries multi‐tasking to a new extreme!

This idea of holding and following multiple pushes and pulls at the same time also reflects a bit of our current reality. On the one hand we are still in the midst of a pandemic in our country and are still contending with systematic...Read more...

Sun, February 25 2024 16 Adar I 5784