As we face a deep crisis in the future of American democracy and in the future of our wounded Mother Earth, there are three levels of work we need to do.
We will need to intertwine the three levels; there can be no "before" and "after," because the new Trumpist government is throwing explosive hand grenades at us so quickly.
- AGAINST the Trumpist hand-grenades: Resistance, in the streets and social media and voting booths. (See more on this at the end of this essay.)
- FOR new alternatives: MLK+ 50: A Jubilee Year of Truth and Transformation. (See more on this at the end of this essay.)
- New ideas and new activists: We need to train, educate, and empower the active change-makers who can with skill of hands and wamth of heart and sharp of mind and depth of soul help us do this work. Here is one place of the Indwelling Spirit where we will do this:
I hope to see you at the Ruach Ha'Aretz [Breathing-Spirit of the Earth] gathering this summer where that kind of unleashing of the creative power within each of us and all of us together will be the goal and the process of our learning.
Join us for a week-long retreat featuring classes with some remarkable teachers, musicians, and artists -- some from Jewish renewal, and extraordinary teachers from other faith traditions offering opportunities to learn about, experience, practice and question the path of healing ourselves and our world.
This year the theme of Ruach HaAretz will be L’takken Olam: Healing All the Worlds…no exceptions! People can register at
I will be weaving a course on "Prayer as if the Earth Really Matters." It will address how to act on two teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, z'l. On the one hand, he taught that "prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive." We will explore how congregational prayer can become meaningfully subversive by fully awakening our concern to heal the Earth. On the other hand, he said that marching for voting rights alongside Martin Luther King in Selma felt like praying with his legs. We will exploe how activist public challenges to change bad governmental or corporate policy toward Mother Earth can become prayerful. The course will include hands-on practical planning.
The list of classes:
Hazzan Steve Klaper, Brother Al Mascia, Mary Gilhuli, Becoming Whole / Becoming Healers
Rabbi Shefa Gold, The Exile From The Garden and Recovery From the Impact
Rabbi Jeff Roth, A Jewish Contemplative Practice Workshop
Rabbi Shulamit Thiede, Immigrants, Exiles, and Strangers: The Book of Ruth and Torah for Our Times
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Prayer as if the Earth Really Matters
Reb Bahira Sugarman & Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, Sage-ing: Wisdom of the Heart – A Vision for Inner and Outer Healing
Cantor Linda Hirschhorn, Creating Midrash, Writing Songs
Rabbi Diane Elliot, Dance of Healing
Rabbi Jill Hammer, Taya Shere, Shoshana Jedwab, Hand of Miriam: Jewish Elemental Technologies for Catalyzing Healing
Dr. Rachael Wooten, Healing Practices from the Path of Deep Ecumenism: Transform Your Suffering and Repair the Worlds.
Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan, I Asked for Wonder: Philosophy and the Spiritual Journey
Rabbi Lori Shaller & Rabbi Rain Zohav, Teaching Torah with Spirit
Rabbi Phyllis Berman, resident Spiritual Director
Join us for a week-long retreat with amazing teachers, activists, musicians, and artists -- some from within Judaism and some from other faith traditions -- offering opportunities to learn about, experience, practice and question the path of healing ourselves and our world.
As Ruach Ha’Aretz gathers in 2017, we hear the Spirit of the Earth calling us, in the words of the Aleynu prayer, “L’takken olam b’malkhut Shaddai – To heal the world through the majesty of Nurture.”
As we seek to heal and transform the world, we will find ourselves transformed; as we work to transform ourselves, we find our Earth transforming.
Embodying the Spirit of the Earth / Ruach Ha’Aretz, we meet this challenge to heal by exploring ways, old and new, to express wonder, celebration, joy and awe; to understand, to sing and to dance Torah anew; to connect deeply with other cultures; and to actively give birth to social transformation.
We hope that you will be able to join us!
Now let me return to the first two approaches that we must intertwine:
- Against the hand-grenades: We will need to deal with them as we have already begun to do: Millions in the Women's March; then between half a million and a million in the Airport Actions; millions calling and writing their Senators demanding they oppose Trump's anti-democratic nominees for Cabinet; planning for a People's Climate March on April 29 to challenge the Carbon Pharaohs who are cheerfully ready to scorch and burn the Earth in order to multiply their billions of dollars in profits; blocking confirmation of any nominee for the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v Wade and allow states to strip voting rights from the Black, Latino, low-income. youth, and senior communities.
- For new alternatives: We need to quicken our birthing of the new grass-roots communities and activist groups that can replace the top-down deadly grip of Robber Barons and Carbon Pharaohs on our economic and cultural and political lives. Neighborhood solar co-ops. credit unions, city-owned public banks, universal health-care, urban farms, local festivals of local culture -- -- we will have to create all these and more. As we appoach the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's death, see especially <MLK50.org> and submit your own ideas and plans for MLK+ 50: A Jubilee Year of Truth and Transformation.
With blessings of shalom, salaam, peace -- for all of us and for our Mother Earth! -- Arthur