The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

The Adventure Rabbi’s “God in the Wilderness”

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on January 15, 2012

One very rewarding feature of the adult b’nai mitzvah process was our Jewish book reports. The reports themselves were interesting, but the main benefit for me was making a point to read books about spirituality.

Jewish Lights Publishing has a great assortment of books, and when their catalogue came in the mail recently, I was inspired to find some of their titles at the library. (Cheap, I know! I should support them by actually buying the books. But I hardly ever buy books anymore. Our library has a great selection, and we don’t have the room.)

Here’s what I’ve been reading this month:

  • The Knitting Way, a Guide to Spiritual Self-Discovery, by Linda Skolnik and Janice Macdaniels – of course I couldn’t resist this one!  The authors write:  “This book is about seeing and listening.  It’s about becoming aware that through knitting you can hear and give attention to what’s in your heart and soul-that knitting can be a place of rest and thought and a place for the Divine.  It’s about connection-to yourself, to the world, to others, and to the Holy.
  • The Jewish Lights Spirituality Handbook, edited by Stuart M. Matlins, Editor-in-Chief of Jewish Lights Publishing.  This book of short essays is divided into thematic sections:  Awakening the Possibilities:  What is Jewish Spirituality?  The Worlds of Your Life:  Where is Spirituality Found?  The Times and Seasons of Your Life:  When Does Spirituality Enter?  Swords and Plowshares: How to Forge the Tools that Will Make It Happen.  So What Do You Do with It?  Why Spirituality Should Be a Part of Your Life.
  • God in the Wilderness-Rediscovering the Spirituality of the Great Outdoors with the Adventure Rabbi, by Rabbie Jamie S. Korngold.  She had me hooked on the first page, when she describes traveling to the Grand Canyon for a conversion ceremony for  former congregants’ adopted baby (using the Colorado River as the mikvah.)

Reading God in the Wilderness reminded me that the immensity and grandeur of nature can be intensely spiritual.  But, it doesn’t even have to be “big” nature like the ocean or a raging river or the Grand Canyon.  I have had moments of great spiritual onrushes while pulling weeds in the garden, chopping vegetables, or sitting in a sunny garden with my eyes closed smelling the flowers.

Of the three books on Jewish spirituality that I’m reading now, God in the Wilderness is the one I’d definitely recommend the most.  I think non-Jewish readers would find it inspiring too.


Knitting Projects Update

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on January 1, 2012