Works for Me

Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Shabbat gratefuls: Socrates Cafe today. Tara lesson today. Torah and the morning service. Rami Shapiro. Judaism without Tribalism. Ruth and Gabe. Mark in Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand. Three Body Problem trilogy. Breakfast at Aspen Perks. Picking up shirts at USA cleaner. Groceries today. Pickup again. Got hot dogs for Memorial Day. A very rare treat.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Lodgepoles of Arapaho National Forest

One brief shining: Have taken no shirts to a dry cleaner/laundry since Kate died, not sure why, but last week I took in my new shirts and my flannel shirts, the new ones to have a wash and an ironing, the flannel shirts for a seasonal dry cleaning, ready now to store in the closet until the next Winter, and it felt like a splurge. So expensive. BTW: I did wash my shirts in the washing machine. Just so you know.


A good workout week. Hit my 150 minutes again. Moving up on weights. Always feel better when I get all my workouts in. Think of Diane headed up Bernal Hill on her jogging route. Ode in the gym gettin’ buff. Watch the red meat, eat fruits and vegetables, more fish and chicken. Workout. Live longer, healthier. Maybe. No phone call yet about my P.E.T. scan. Part of it, too. Mind the cancer.


Got a new set of all-seasons for Ruby. Big O. They know the double entendre, I’m sure, but using it on a tire retailer? Seems odd. To me anyhow. Oil change, too. Synthetic. 10,000 miles between. Feels luxurious after a life time of 5,000 mile oil changes. Course those of you with the electrics. Don’t they beat all when it comes to maintenance. I like leaving as many dollars up here in the Mountains as I can. Help the local economy.


Led mussar on Thursday. Always fun to lead a group temporarily. Considering another dive into the educating realm. Right now I’m in a havruta with Gary Riskin. Traditionally talmud torah, torah study, was done in pairs. Read a text. Summarize it, analyze it. Sharpening each others thought process. A lively back and forth. Probably where the quip, two Jews, three opinions, came from. We meet every two weeks over zoom. We worked on Cain and Abel last session. The only class I’m in right now.

But. Having just finished Rabbi Toba Spitzer’s excellent God is Here, and halfway through Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s Judaism without Tribalism, with Rabbi Michael Strassfield’s latest, Judaism Disrupted: A Spiritual Manifesto for the 21st Century, ready after I finish Shapiro, I may consider creating a class using these three books. Plus maybe one of Mordecai Kaplan’s, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism. The work in Toba Spitzer’s book and Rami’s show the power of Reconstructionist thought. I find them working the same vein as Emerson.

That is, how can we use the spiritual deposit of the ages while maintaining an open, even skeptical attitude toward religion as an institution? I found Unitarian-Universalism too broad and too thin a tool for this quest. Paganism worked better for me. Until I found a group committed to the same rigorous approach to religion as Emerson and myself and committed to community at the same time. Reconstructionism.

I find Spitzer, Shapiro, and Strassfield working at the outer edges of what Shapiro calls Judaism without tribalism. Calling into question the very way we understand the sacred, Spitzer’s work on metaphors, and Shapiro’s focus on Judaism’s two key moves: teshuvah and tikkun.

Teshuvah, or return, means in his thought returning to who we really are after jettisoning other’s expectations, and being dead honest about who we are. Tikkun means repairing the world: the physical world, the political world, the emotional world. These are, according to him, the mission of Jews. To embrace our true selves and repair a damaged reality. Works for me.