Shalom From the Shabbat Lady
By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
Jacob takes his journey away from his home, falls asleep with a rock for a pillow and has a dream. He wakes up and says, “G-d was in this place and I did not know it!” The Hebrew word that is used is makom (place) and it is repeated in order to emphasize that this was a sacred place where Jacob experiences G-d. How do we create a sacred space? What is your sacred space where you feel G-d’s presence?
Here are some ways to look for G-d in nature — find your makom:
•Look up and around. What do you see?
•If you were a bird, where would you build a nest?
•Take off your shoes and walk barefoot — feel the different types of ground cover.
•Close your eyes and listen for three natural sounds.
•Pretend you are a rock.
•Close your eyes and explore a tree.
•Talk about these texts:
“As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. We will not perish for want of information, but only for want of appreciation.” —A.J.Heschel
“In order to serve G-d, one needs to access the enjoyment of the beauties of nature, such as the contemplation of flower-decorated meadows, majestic mountains and flowing rivers. All these are essential to the spiritual development of even the holiest of people.” —Maimonides
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and G-d. Only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that G-d wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow…. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” —“Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

  • Put your hands on the ground and make a wish for the earth.
  • In your own way, take a moment to thank G-d for the gift of living!

Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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