Susan Schnur

Change Beckons

Summer is the time when many of us find ourselves in nature — at the beach, in the mountains, in the woods—and in these locales, we tend to liberate our thoughts, letting them roam balloon-like through landscapes portending change, enjoying them when they turn spiritual or introspective. The autumn season is not yet upon us, and yet… something beckons. Summer experiences prepare us — inadvertently, even unbidden — for the opportunity to change that we’re presented with at the new year, Rosh Hashanah, that’s just around the corner.  

In the three pieces here, four women chart moments of deep personal change: the somersaulting ironies that attend dating a religious Christian; the “sleeper” integration of religious experiences from childhood and late-middle age; and a tashlich for women that takes place in conversation — since that’s where we are often most true.  

 Tashlich is the ritual that invites us to cast out into the waters aspects of the old year, of our old selves, liturgist Marcia Falk translates (from the Hebrew and Yiddish) important lyric foremothers — the poets Zelda, Leah Goldberg, and Malka Heifetz Tussman — as they use the medium of water (a sea, a river, a creek) to move along our thinking about the pressing questions of life. And she helps a friend align the posture of her heart for the new spiritual year.

In the months ahead, can we live less reactively in life’s ebb and flow? Can we learn to accept someone else’s imperfect love? Can we acknowledge life’s sadness? Can we trust? Can we live ourselves into wholeness?

Change Beckons

The articles in this special section:

Hear, O Israel: How My Church-Going Boyfriend Made Me a Jew

Deborah L. Blicher

In the flickering embers of her romance with an Episcopalian graduate student, Blicher finds Jewish praxis catching fire. How come? 

Hineni: Here I Am

Gail Hosking

a spiritual recollection by Gail Hosking    

A Woman’s Tashlich

Susan Schnur with Marcia Falk

Guided by the poems of Leah Goldberg, Malka Heifetz Tussman, and Zelda, liturgist Marcia Falk and Rabbi Susan Schnur create a new vision of spiritual turning that focuses on water...and women in conversation.