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This week we have included an alternative reading for Eicha from the Shalom Center. As Rabbit Arthur Waskow describes it, “Eicha is the midsummer day of Jewish mourning of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem, and of hope for a transformed future.  It also includes readings of hopefulness and healing from Song of Songs and Psalms. 
 
Eichah / Lament for the Earth: Tisha B’Av 2010
By Tamara Cohen

(Barbara Bick Memorial Fellow of The Shalom Center)
 
Eicha: Alas, she sits in danger.
Earth, home to multitudes,
like a beloved, deep in distress.
 
Blue ocean, source of life —
Endangered and imprisoned.
 
Bitterly she weeps in the night
Her shorelines wet with tears.
Of all her friends, none to comfort her;
All her allies have betrayed her.
 
Checkerspot butterflies
flee their homes;
Polar bears
can find no rest.
Because our greed has heated Earth.
 
Whole communities destroyed
To pursue off-shore oil.
Lives and dreams have been narrowed.
 
Coastlines mourn for families,
lost homes and livelihoods.
Barrier islands lament, desolate.
 
Wetlands sigh without their song birds.
Estuaries grieve; the sea is embittered.
 
Earth’s children – now her enemies;
Despite destruction, we sleep at ease.
The Breath of Life grieves
our abundant transgressions.
Infants of every species,
captive to our conceit.
 
>> Hashivenu Yahh elecha v’nashuva, hadesh yameinu kekedem.
>> Let us return, help us repent,
>> You Who Breathe all Life;
>> Breathe us, Breathe us,
>> Breathe us into a new path–
>> Help us, Help us, ,
>> Help us Turn to a new way of living
>> Make-new, Make -new,
>> Our world of life intertwining –
>> Splendor, beauty, joy in our love for each life-form.
 
Gone from Appalachia –
her mountaintop glory;
mined by Massey Energy
without compassion.
Children sick from air and water,
stumble weak before King Coal.
 
All that was precious in the days of our youth,
Earth recalls in woe and sorrow.
 
Her creatures die with none to help them,
at the hands of Exxon, now BP.
World leaders shrug
and look on helpless.
 
We have sinned greatly,
and so are ailing.
Our people who respected life,
have come to defile it.
We have stripped Earth naked,
she shrinks back.
 
Oily waves slap the sand like a soiled hem;
we were heedless of the cost of our appetite.
We have sunk appallingly, there is no comfort.
See, Breath of Life, this misery; how our avarice jeers!
 
Greed has laid hands on all dear to us.
Your sanctuary plundered by multinationals
full of contempt for Your holy community.
 
The Earth’s poor cry out as they search for nourishment;
indigenous communities trade resources for food,
to keep themselves alive.
 
>>> Hashivenu Yahh elecha v’nashuva, hadesh yameinu kekedem.
>>> Let us return, help us repent,
>>> You Who Breathe all Life;
>>> Breathe us, Breathe us,
>>> Breathe us into a new path–
>>> Help us, Help us, ,
>>> Help us Turn to a new way of living
>>> Make-new, Make -new,
>>> Our world of life intertwining –
>>> Splendor, beauty, joy in our love for each life-form.
 
Look, O Breath of Life, and behold,
what gluttons we have become.
Will we heed this warning, we who live as if unscathed –
Will we truly look and know this agony as ours own?
 
We are afflicted by angry consequence,
The elements push back against their abuse.
 
Forest fires reach down and spread like fury,
Sprawl and refuse trap our spirits.
Great storms hurl lives backwards, upside down
survivors are left forlorn, in constant misery.
 
For these things do we weep
Our eyes flow with tears.
How far from us is any comfort,
the possibility of change that might revive our Earth?
The children are forlorn for their future is bleak
unless we act with speed and wisdom.
 
Alas, humanity in our reckless living
have brought shame over all.
Can we remember the holiness of your creation,
Your footstool, green and fertile?
 
We have razed woodlands to the ground,
profaned the Kingdom of Earth and all its creatures.
In arrogance we slashed the mighty Redwoods,
will we cease hiding our power from ourselves and befriend our Earth?
 
How can we wrestle with God and bring justice to others
If we don’t quench the flaming fires,
and turn back from endless consumption?
 
Egrets and brown pelicans languish in salt marshes
From the depths, corals cry out.
“Where are the fish? Where are the clean waters?”
Languishing battle-wounded in the wetlands,
life runs out in ocean’s bosom.
 
>> Hashivenu Yahh elecha v’nashuva, hadesh yameinu kekedem.
>> Let us return, help us repent,
>> You Who Breathe all Life;
>> Breathe us, Breathe us,
>> Breathe us into a new path–
>> Help us, Help us, ,
>> Help us Turn to a new way of living
>> Make-new, Make -new,
>> Our world of life intertwining –
>> Splendor, beauty, joy in our love for each life-form.
 
Lead us, lead us, on a new path to Eden,
Teach us self-restraint in the very midst of abundance.
To “Ayeka/Where are you?”
We will answer Hineni.
We are here to honor boundaries, not to devour all.
 
Open, open —
Our eyes to see in each creature,
Tree, Ocean , Mountain —
the Presence of the One.
 
Between the Fires
(By Rabbi Arthur Waskow)
(Kinah, a litany of sorrow and hope.
 
We are the generation that stands

between the fires:
Behind us the flame and smoke
that rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima
And from the burning of the Amazon forest;
Before us the nightmare of a Flood of Fire,
The flame and smoke that could consume all earth.
 
It is our task to make from fire not an all-consuming blaze
But the light in which we see each other fully.
All of us different, All of us bearing
One Spark.
 
[Light a candle, or a torch, or clump of sage]
 
We light these fires to see more clearly
That the earth and all who live as part of it
Are not for burning.
We light these fires to see more clearly
The rainbow in our many-colored faces.
Blessed is the One within the many.
Blessed are the many who make One.
 
>>> Here! I will send you
>>> Elijah the Prophet
>>> Before the coming
>>> of the great and terrible day
>>> of YAHH, the Breath of Life.
>>> And he shall turn the heart
>>> Of parents to children
>>> And the heart of children to their parents.
>>> Lest I come and
>>> Smite the earth
>>> With utter destruction.
>>> (From Malachi 3)
 
Here! we ourselves are coming
Before the great and terrible day
of smiting Earth –
For we shall turn the hearts
Of parents to children
And the hearts of children to their parents
So that this day of smiting
Does not fall upon us.
 
Song of Songs 2:11-13, trans by Marcia Falk
Come with me, my love, come away,

For the long chill months are past,
The rains have fed the earth
and left it bright with blossoms.
Birds wing in the low sky,
dove and songbird singing in the open air above.
Earth nourishing tree and vine,
green fig and tender grape,
green and tender fragrance.
Come with me my love, come away!
 
 
 CELEBRATION:
Psalm 148: Hallelu-YAH! (trans by Rabbi Arthur Waskow )
Praise YHWH/Yahh the Breath of Life from the heavens,

Praise Yah in the heights,
Praise Yah, you messengers; Praise Yah, you multitudes!
Praise Yah, sun and moon
And all you light-filled stars!
Praise Yah, Heavens beyond the heavens.
Praise Yah, waters beneath the heavens.
Praise the Name of YHWH/ Yahh Breath of Life,
For through Its intertwining all comes to Be,
Each finds its place in the dance of All:
YHWH/ Yahh carves them a role that no one can erase.
So sing praise, all that is earthy and grounded,
All that flows in the deeps like the great sea-monsters,
Fire and hail, snow and fog,
Storm-winds blowing from the Mouth of God.
Lofty mountains, gentle hills,
Fruit trees and evergreens,
Roaring beasts and lowing herds,
Crawly bugs and soaring birds,
Powerful rulers and empowered peoples,
Prosecutors and public defenders,
Men and women sprouting promise,
Bearded elders bent by life and beardless youth not yet on path,
All sing praise to the Breath of Life —
For Yahh stands alone in radiance,
Filling with splendor earth and sky,
Making all peoples a horn of plenty.
For the sake of all who love Yahh
Or who come near through Wrestling God,
Let us praise the Breath of Life — Hallelu-YAH!

https://theshalomcenter.org/node/1733