Fringes July 2022 – My heart is moved by all I can not save

Today we met to pray together carrying our wounded hearts – all of us filled with worry about our lives in this country, the effects of Supreme Court rulings on our lives and on the world, the overwhelm and exhaustion of yet more and more gun violence in another bloody week.

Our prayer services always invite in our entire selves and all we bear, so we paused early on in the service to name the problems we face but don’t have an answer for, or even yet a way to begin to organize around. Holding all of those as a community, we took strength from Adrienne’s Rich’s words:

My heart is moved by all I can not save.

So much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those

who age after age, perversely,

with no extraordinary power,

reconstitute the world.

Together we prayed words that gave voice to our despair, and words celebrating the beauty of the world, and words encouraging us to find where we buried our hope and warm it and water it. You can find our liturgy here.

As is often true for us, we used words from poet and liturgist Dane Kuttler. Her new book about shabbat, called “Rest,” is available for pre-order now, and you should just order one for yourself and one for a friend who could use some advice for holding on to hope and community. We also previewed a new song based on Dane’s work from this book, and will share that here when it is ready to be shared in the world.

We also used the song “Shadow/Light,” a setting of a translation from Rumi set to music by Juliet Spitzer and recorded by SheWho, a vocal community founded by Fringes co-leader Karen Escovitz. Turns out that album is now on Spotify – who knew? Listen here.

For torah study, we learned from Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, who shared her work on how, and why, to re-understand Jewish history not as a single river of unending trauma but as a watershed, connected to all other people and with very specific moments in time and place. Read her essay here. You can also watch a video of a discussion she held earlier this year for the Reconstructionist movement. If you want to do a deeper dive – and you should! – here’s a curriculum Jessica built for a course at Hinenu in Baltimore. It has links to books, articles, podcasts, and more.

Our next meeting, in August, will be a Friday evening service on Friday, August 12th.

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