Shabbos Blessing- Week 26

Real talk: I am writing this post as I stuff “oatmeal squares” (you know, the cereal) into my face. This is what happens when I don’t plan meal times properly, I shop quickly (because shabbat is soon) and hungry (because, as established, I don’t plan meal times properly) at a store that stocks some American products, and I get home to an apartment where I have very little in the way of “healthy, immediate, right now lunch.”


Like this amazing hummus in Abu Ghosh yesterday.

Ok. Having eaten a few large handfuls of supposedly-good-for-you-but-actually-probably-full-of-GMOs-and-definitely-added-sugars-and-generally-processed-and-oh-dear-why-did-I-eat-that cereal morsels, I am now prepared to slow down and offer all 10 of my fingers to the keyboard.

(For those of you who are new to how my brain works, welcome. I generally find it an entertaining place to be.)


This is a block from me: car and horse in the street, motorcycle on the sidewalk. Ok then.

I wasn’t sure if I would be in Tel Aviv for shabbat this week. I went to Jerusalem yesterday for our rabbinic consortium class, and I stayed with a friend to attend a program there this morning. I had an invitation for shabbat dinner with some lovely people but I decided to come home instead. It’s not that I don’t like shabbat in Jerusalem. It’s a lovely place to be, with great egalitarian davenning options and wonderful people with whom to share meals and company. I’ll be spending at least 2 of the next 4 shabbats down there and look forward to them. But, when it comes down to it, I just wanted time to continue to settle.

I’m not sure what feels unsettled about Jaffa at this point. I’ve been here for nearly a month now. My routine isn’t fully set, but it’s close. I guess what it comes down to is that I’m one of those introvert-extrovert cusps (to the degree that those distinctions mean anything), and this month has been an extremely introverted-dominant one for me. I’ve loved spending time with friends and exploring Jaffa and south Tel Aviv. I have also felt the need for almost as much quiet time at home as I can get my hands on. Soon enough, I’m sure I’ll “reset” to my middle ground norm, but for now, introverted is good.


Tel Aviv Shabbat– a little different from Jerusalem

I’ll be honest– there’s a lot on my mind these days. The program our consortium took part in yesterday, along with a number of recent conversations, all seem to be connecting to a similar place. That’s going to be its own blog post soon, if I can figure out a way to write it down. For now, I’m going to be gentle with myself and bring in this week’s blessing.

Week 26 comes from the first person I can’t really keep anonymous: my mom. I guess I could have said “my parent,” but, well, there it is. She sent me the lyrics to “Forever Young,” along with this message:

Here is a blessing from me, via our newest Nobel Prize winner, Bob Dylan. It’s one I’ve always loved. When I was young, I listened to Joan Baez’s version until the record was scratched! I love you!

“Forever Young”- Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.


early spring at BINA

One of the lovely perks of my place in Tel Aviv is that I have a record player. It’s not the best, and the person who owns this place doesn’t match my tastes much. Still, he’s got some classics like “The Beatles” and Leonard Cohen and, yes, Bob Dylan. There is something that feels different about setting up a record to play as opposed hitting a button on a phone or computer, or even putting a CD or tape into a player. I like the process. I like the gentle way you have to treat the record and the player to bring the music into the space. It’s a good reminder of just how sacred music can be, whatever its source.

On the bus back to Tel Aviv an hour ago, I was listening to an episode of “On Being,” an NPR radio show produced in Minnesota that my mom and I have both enjoyed listening to for a long time. It so happened that the episode, an old one that I never got around to last summer, featured Mohammed Fairouz, a first generation Arab-American composer who’s barely out of his 20s. The episode is definitely worth listening to for its own sake, but I’m thinking of it now because he talked about song lyrics as poetry. In the same way that the lyrics to 19th century German lieder are considered poetry now, he thinks that “The Beatles” lyrics will be considered poetry by future generations. Poetry and prayer are so closely linked, and even though I’ve honestly never been a Dylan devotee, I can definitely see a prayerful poem in his lyrics.

This week, may we all help keep joy in one another’s hearts. May we sing one another’s songs so that none of us forgets our own. And may we all feel young enough to continue the work.


And may there be cookies for everybody.


2 thoughts on “Shabbos Blessing- Week 26

  1. Is it possible that the wish to “stay forever young, forever young” is related to the wish for renewal of first love, that feeling of exuberance when we are first struck by eros, when everything looks brighter, more sparkling, greener, the air fresher, our vision unimpeded and vivid? As a pre-rabbi, what do you think of the world as “forever young,” newly created “forever”? And how is that vision reconciled with a look back historically at civilizations ruined, innocent lives lost, and the alienation and hopelessness experienced by those in detention camps today? Religious romanticism versus unrelenting realism? Where do you stand?


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