The power of ritual objects in this time
These are dark, scary times. As many of us are grappling with fear and despair, and as we re-commit to the sacred work of organizing and resistance, our rituals and our faith become even more important in keeping us whole.
This past week, I was moved by stories people shared with me about what a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) means to them in this moment, and I want to share some of their powerful words with you today.
"I feel blessed to be part of a community that feels strongly about continuing the work of social justice, and that seeks to do so while also strengthening the sacred pools we draw from in doing this work. I currently work representing Central American, Afghani, Iraqi, Syrian, and other families who are detained at the border unless they can prove that they should be candidates to seek asylum here in the U.S. For families that are Muslim, they are often detained for months until a judge makes a final decision in their case. I have decided to place a request for the Ahavat Olam tallit, as the thought of an unending love encircling us is what I, and the families I work with, most acutely need."
-- Jenna Pollock, Texas
"As I look toward a season of resistance and feel frankly pretty anxious and depressed about it, I've been thinking a lot about ritual as a nurturing center for the action I take toward tikkun olam (repair of the world). Your bright yellow woven Sunrise tallit is pretty much exactly what I've always wanted and never seen before--a daily davening reminder that the sun keeps rising, that we keep rising. What a privilege, to have a physical reminder of our capacity and duty to carry more light into the world." -- Cecelia Raker, Massachusetts
"The watery blues of the Tzedek tallit are reminiscent of the prophetic voice of Amos who tells us that 'Justice shall be revealed like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.' How appropriate that this tallit crafted in the spirit of justice should be reflective of water as the fight for clean, sacred waters continues in Flint, Standing Rock, and all over the world. When I wrap myself up in this tallit, I remember the warm waters of the mikveh and feel recharged. " -- Kendra Watkins, North Carolina
As we rise together, and keep rising, I hope that color and cloth and community will keep reminding us how to stay whole. If you have a story to share about what a ritual object has brought to your life in a difficult time, please reach out to me.
I feel grateful that the tallitot I create can be part of your spiritual and activist lives in this way.