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The Bliss Blog

 

In the early 1990’s I happened upon a man whose words captured me from the pages of a book that had literally fallen off the shelf into my waiting hands. It was about a Jewish approach to 12 step recovery. At the time, I was living in South Florida and my husband (a recent convert to Judaism who we laughingly referred to as a “JBC-Jew By Choice”) and I were searching for a congregation that met our hippie leanings, and open minded approach to spirituality. As I turned the book over, I called out in delight since the author, Rabbi Rami Shapiro led a congregation in Miami (Kendall actually) called Beth Or which translates to “House of Light” I knew I needed to attend a service there and was delighted from day one that the taste of Judaism that Rami offered was seasoned with influences from other traditions as well. Not surprising, since one of his mentors is Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi; one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Reb Zalman is now a hale and hardy 86 year old who still teaches and writes and advocates for deeper understanding and unity among those of various faiths. His organization is called The Reb Zalman Legacy Project, a motto of which is “The only way to get it together…is together.”

During the few years we were members of Beth Or, I delved ever more deeply into my spiritual practice, appreciating my Jewish roots in ways I had not when growing up in a congregation that focused, for the most part on rote memorization of prayers and traditions, ‘just because that’s the way we always did it’ and one rabbi in particular who didn’t value women as equal members of the congregation to be counted in a minyan (a gathering of 10 needed to say certain prayers). How refreshing to experience a ‘both/and’, rather than an ‘either/or’ approach to spirituality.

Years later, I remain in touch with Rami whose writings can be read in many places on the internet and whose books continue to astound me with their wisdom and sharp insights.


Today, I am visiting my Mom who is on hospice and I read her my favorite of all of Rami’s writings. It speaks vibrantly to the truth of what we are.

An Unending Love

by Rabbi Rami Shapiro

We are loved by an unending love.

We are embraced by arms that find us
even when we are hidden from ourselves.
We are touched by fingers that soothe us
even when we are too proud for soothing.
We are counseled by voices that guide us
even when we are too embittered to hear.
We are loved by an unending love.

We are supported by hands that uplift us
even in the midst of a fall.
We are urged on by eyes that meet us
even when we are too weak for meeting.
We are loved by an unending love.

Embraced, touched, soothed, and counseled,
Ours are the arms, the fingers, the voices;
Ours are the hands, the eyes, the smiles;
We are loved by an unending love.”

Reb Zalman Legacy Project www.rzlp.org

Rabbi Rami Shapiro www.rabbirami.com

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