Water From the Well column

Words of Torah by Rabba Kaya

wild garden

Come Into My Garden

Parashat Shabbat Pesach
Posted on April 5, 2021

In the burst of springtime, Shabbat Pesach arrives as an oasis of beauty and love. It is the one day in our year in which the Rabbis established the practice of publicly reading the book Shir Hashirim/The Song of Songs. As we look at the text, we will discover that ‘The Song,’ like Passover itself, is Continue Reading »

hands make a heart shape

A Community of Heart

Parashat Vayakhel
Posted on March 10, 2021

YouTube link to a musical piece – about art – from a consummate musician and artist, singer/songwriter Alicia Jo Rabins.  Last week we read the story of the Golden Calf, of the misguided attempt of the Israelites to find security in a god made of gold. Torah says that the people gathered together/vayikahel, single-mindedly, in Continue Reading »

owl camouflage hiding

Nu… Why Purim?

Posted on March 2, 2021

This month, we will celebrate the holiday of Purim at which time we read the Megillah of Esther. Connecting with the child in us all, we celebrate this redemption story with costumes, groggers and levity. It is a time of joy when most of the long winter is behind us and springtime beckons. Passover, our Continue Reading »

Butterfly in a semi-transparent Chrysalis


Parashat Va’era
Posted on January 19, 2021

Dedicated to my cousin Haim Shtrum z”l As this past week’s disturbing events unfolded, shaking us to the core as a nation, we have much to think about, much to process. As Jews, we can look to Torah for some wisdom about this moment. This week we read from the book of Exodus, the beginning Continue Reading »

spiral of stained glass windows

Circling Back Home

Parashat Vayigash
Posted on December 25, 2020

Jacob’s long journey is culminating as the truth is finally revealed to him. His son Joseph is alive after all. Jacob is stunned. He has been in mourning for twenty years. Now, suddenly, the world as he knew it is turned upside down. Torah tells us that upon hearing the news of Joseph’s existence, Jacob’s Continue Reading »


Hanukkah Torah

Posted on December 13, 2020

Hanukkah, as we know, takes place at the darkest time of the year, not only because the days are the shortest of the year, with the least amount of sunlight available, but also because it falls in the last week of the lunar month. This is the time of the month with the least amount Continue Reading »

Moon over Water

Darkness and Dreams: The Month of Kislev

Posted on December 6, 2020

The Moon of Kislev is just past full. Have you seen it?  A bright light amid the dark night. The days are still growing shorter but there is light amid the darkness. It is in fact the darkness that allows us to see the light more clearly. According to our traditions, this is the time of Continue Reading »

Weeping Tree

Parashat Vayishlah
Posted on December 4, 2020

This week’s parashah, Va’yishlah focuses on the homeward journey of Jacob and his family. This entire portion seems to swing widely between the poles of blessing and calamity. While the overt context of parashah focuses on Jacob’s inner and outward journeys, the feminine voices within the family are struck down through tragedy and death. Much as Jacob/Israel can be Continue Reading »

Thanksgiving Message from Rabba Kaya

Posted on November 24, 2020

Dear Friends, With both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the horizon, we are all surely struggling with anxiety and sadness over the safety of gathering together with family and friends. These are very difficult times and the specter of additional social isolation compounds our grief. In a recent Ministerium meeting of Seacoast-area clergy, we discussed the Continue Reading »

parashat hayei sarah jug of water pouring water

After the Trauma – Seeking Love

Parashat Hayei Sarah
Posted on November 17, 2020

After the trauma of the Akeida (the binding of Isaac onto the altar by his father Abraham) and after the death of Sarah, the Torah seeks out healing. The Torah seeks out the only possible path forward for healing: loving-kindness-hesed. It is the path of loving-kindness that will enable the survivors of trauma and loss to survive and Continue Reading »