Friday, June 27, 2014

Stumbling Blocks in Prague

While balancing on the cobblestones along Dhoula street in Prague, I looked down to check my step. Four four-inch brass squares glittered among the grey and white ones.

"Here lived Robert Katz, born 1901 -- deported 1942 to Terezin -- murdered at Auschwitz April 1944."

Nothing more. Nothing less. A life expressed. A tale of woe. History beneath my feet.

In German, they are called Stolpersteine or "stumbling blocks," and more than 27,000 have been laid in some 500 locations by volunteers in the 10 years since a non-Jewish artist (Gunter Demnig) first came up with a way for ordinary Germans to honor the memory of the Jews who once lived in their midst.

There are 500 Stolpersteine in the Czech Republic -- and 300 are in Prague. I took a picture of four brass squares in memory of four victims of the Nazi regime. They were lovingly lined up in a row like flowers in a garden.

I looked up to see where they might have lived and laughed. Today, the residence held fancy shops and businesses. Other people live here now, enjoying the democratic republic of the Czech people.

Monuments need not be massive. In Europe, a small cobblestone creates history every time you put down your foot.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ringing in the Sounds of Oxford

I awoke to the bells.

Five bells ringing one right after the other.

I am in Oxford, England, where every hour on the hour the bells are ringing from this 38-college-bound town.

I heard bells 1, 2, 3 and 5.

My jet-lagged body slept through the ringing of bell 4.

What did I miss?

Will I stay awake tomorrow to identify each consecutive sound as they gently sift through the new space of my timed reality?

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Jewish View of Spirituality

The Whole World is Full of God. - Psalm 24:1

Judaism sees the material and the spiritual world as one.

The material world is always potentially spiritual.  For Judaism, all things are not impediments to, but dimensions of, spirituality. 

Jewish spirituality is about the immediacy of God’s presence everywhere.

We need only be attentive to seeing that which was invisible a moment ago.

Friday, June 6, 2014

From a Buttercup View

Meditation on a Buttercup

I look up and see the sky every day, every hour, every moment of my life.

I don’t even know my truest color but I know that I am brilliant.

So, too, Dear One, don’t look down at me
Always look up towards your dreams
Reach higher than you thought possible

Know that you are as brilliant as I
Open the petals of your heart
Let others look inside and say . . .

"How beautiful you are, daughter of the day and night, Sister of Potential."