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Making Our Transitions Holy: Havdalah & Poetry

August 12 @ 8:00 pm

- Free
The book covers for Crossing the Sea, Texts to the Holy, Walking the Labyrinth, and Starter Mothers.

Join Rabbis Pamela Wax and Rachel Barenblat for an evening of poetry, havdalah, and book-signing at 8pm on Saturday, August 12 at Congregation Beth Israel of the Berkshires. Weather permitting, we’ll meet on the patio outside Congregation Beth Israel, beside the Al and Frances Small Meditation Labyrinth. The two poets will share their award-winning work, touching on life and death, loss and memory, and the poignancy of havdalah itself. This last hour of Shabbat is known in Jewish tradition as a time when our yearnings for a redeemed world reach their peak. Following the reading and a musical havdalah, both authors will be available to sign books.

About the Authors

Rabbi Barenblat’s books include Crossing the Sea (Phoenicia Publishing), Texts to the Holy (Ben Yehuda), and 70 faces: Torah poems (Phoenicia). She is also editor of Beside Still Waters, a volume for the mourner’s path (Ben Yehuda Press and Bayit) and From Narrow Places, a collection of liturgy, poetry, and art from the first years of the pandemic. Known online as “the Velveteen Rabbi,” after her popular blog of the last 20 years, she is a co-founder at Jewish spiritual incubator Bayit: Building Jewish. She teaches at the intersection of writing and spiritual life for the pluralist Academy for Jewish Religion and for the Methodist church’s Academy for Spiritual Formation. Since 2011 she has served as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel of the Berkshires. She lives in Williamstown with her son.

Rabbi Pamela Wax is the author of Walking the Labyrinth (Main Street Rag, 2022) and the forthcoming chapbook, Starter Mothers (Finishing Line Press, August 2023). Her poems have received a Best of the Net nomination and awards from Crosswinds, Paterson Literary Review, Poets’ Billow, Oberon, and the Robinson Jeffers Tor House and have been published in many literary journals. Her essays on Judaism, spirituality, and women’s issues have also been published broadly. After running a Jewish spiritual healing center for nineteen years and serving as interim director of adult education at Knesset Israel, Rabbi Wax currently facilitates on-line spirituality workshops, including poetry writing, and travels to synagogues around the country as scholar or artist-in-residence. She walks labyrinths in North Adams, Massachusetts, or wherever she can find them.


August 12
8:00 pm
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Congregation Beth Israel
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Congregation Beth Israel
53 Lois Street
North Adams, MA 01247 United States
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