Tuesday, July 16, 2024



Our domesticated beasts, our animals,  when they trust you, you are blessed.  
And when that gift of joy and love and attention and nowness dies, we miss them so much. We suffer.  We mourn. Why do they have to live such short lives?

In June of 2022  I lost Buster, my cat.  He was 23. Here he is:

Blessed Holy Wholeness
Breath of the Universe 
Breathing us in
Breathing us out. 

Remembering us
Remembering our companions
Who let us love them with a full and pure heart
And who loved us back the same way. 

We were blessed to have them 
As  long as we did
And though I am really sad that they are gone,
I am really glad that they were here. 

I give thanks to the Holy Connector,
The One-ness that is eternal,
Which I experienced 
Through my sweet beasts. 

Brucha HaShleimot
Ruach ha Olam,
Breathing us in
Breathing us out.

We remember them,
We mourn their loss
And their memories are a blessing. 
And let us say, 


Thursday, July 4, 2024

Making Decisions on July Fourth

In this holy space that is Independence Day

We can pause our pain

And look for compassion 

And then for truth

Before we decide upon

Our response. 

In this holy space that is Independence Day

We can pray to observe others’ anger

With tenderness 

And understanding 

Before we choose 

Our reaction. 

In this holy space that is Independence Day

We can stop and note,

With honest respect,

All ambient sounds and feelings

And then decide for freedom 

And hope.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

WE ARE AFRAID /A prayer for hope


It is everywhere:
Anger, grief, fear, war, 
Famine, corruption, greed, 
And paranoia. 
The willfully malignant
Who live to hate, and
Fools who despise science and learning —
It’s horrible 
And we are afraid.  

We were afraid so
We prayed for it all to go away
But it didn’t 
So now we pray for survival. 
May this era pass (as all eras eventually do)
With the least amount of 
Damage and pain possible 
To our bodies and spirits and
To our freedom and to our planet.

We are afraid but going forward.
We pray for the strength to resist the cruelty 
And the brains to know when to hide. 
We pray for elders’ counsel and youths’ outrage,
Brilliant strategies and victories,
Adequate funding,
Joy when it can be found and
Kindness when it cannot. 
And hope. 

We pray for hope. 

Monday, July 1, 2024

A Prayer For Democracy

Blessed Holy Wholeness,

The Powers That Be

May be

In power

For now. 

But we are the powers 

that were 

and are 

and will be. 

So there. 


Sunday, June 23, 2024

Roofs (for Sukkot)


What does a roof do?
It keeps out the rain
It keeps in the warmth
It keeps us safe from lions and robbers
It protects the TVs and the computers
It protects our beds while we sleep 
It protects our futures from the future. 

Roofs are good. 
So why on Sukkot 
Do we eat dinner outside 
In a temporary hut
With holes in the roof?
It doesn’t make sense!

What do holes in a roof do?
They let in the weather 
They let us breathe fresh air
They let us hear our neighbors and friends
They remind us of when we slept in the fields
They remind us how to be without our phones
They remind us that our history is long and complicated.  

Blessed Holy Wholeness,
We honor the rituals 
That don’t make sense 
Because sometimes they do
Like holes in the roof
And breathing fresh air. 

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Seen (for Elul)

Blessed Wholeness,

What do we see when we look?

Do we see it even if we’re not looking?

Where should we look?

What if we don’t know we’re seeing it?

Is it in the forest? The neighborhood?  A pew?

What about dogs?

When is it easy to spot?

Is it just a projection?

Does it know when we’re sorry?

What looks at us? 

Where is it watching from?

Does it form an opinion?

Does it see us even if no one else does?

Does it see us when we’re wrong? 

Does it ever apologize?

Does it make jokes?

Is it everywhere?

Are we alone?

What do we see when we see ourselves?

Is self-delusion sometimes appropriate?

If we see something, should we say?

Or if we see it, is it better to be nice?

What if it’s none of our business ?

But what if it’s the truth?

Who gets to say what is true?

What if the truth is annoying?

Can being seen be more important than being loved?

I see. 

I don’t see. 

I am seen. 

I am not seen. 

I need truth. 

I need delusion. 

I miss my old dog. 

I apologize. 

I accept your apology. 


Wednesday, June 19, 2024


To me, the service is a story which makes the congregant the protagonist. And the protagonist should be at least a little transformed at the end of a story, which is hard to do when you don’t know what’s going on.  So if you’re re interested in learning about what you’re saying and singing on Shabbat mornings, let me help you make it your story. 

In my opinion, the two words that sum up my kind of Judaism are Obligation (to community, ethics, tikkun olam, teshuvah, learning, etc. ) and Doubt (we love questions!)  No faith or belief necessary although welcome if you’ve got it.  Personally, I hold at least two contradictory ideas in my head about God-ness at the same time most of the time. 

We can design a learning agenda that’s specific for you but what I usually do is go through the entire Shabbat morning service from the first Modeh Ani (I give thanks) to the kiddish and V’shamru  we can go fast or slow, and, if you want, stopping during holidays to study rhe holiday liturgy and, at any point, writing your own versions of the prayers.  

There’s reading material for learning detailed history and tradition (which you can read or not as you desire ) but the heart of it is you and I going through the service and talking about what each component means personally, spiritually, politically, theologically, all of it.  

We can do this via zoom or in person. 

Email me at Trisha.arlin@gmail.com if you’re interested  


Saturday, June 8, 2024

Freedom And Deep Rest

Art by Carolyn Hall

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Viktor Frankl

In this holy space that is Shabbat day

We can pause our pain

And look for compassion 

And then for truth

Before we decide upon

Our response. 

In this holy space that is Shabbat day

We can pray to observe others’ anger

With tenderness 

And understanding 

Before we choose 

Our reaction. 

In this holy space that is Shabbat day

We can stop and note 

All ambient sounds and feelings

And then, with honest respect,

Decide for freedom and 

A deep rest. 


Voice and Picture Muted On Shabbat


Those of us who are old, sick, lazy or far away,

My people,

Still do Shabbat on Zoom,

Some are on screen with their tallitot but 

I’m in my bed, voice and picture muted. 

The story of the service demands company,

Does it work if I’m alone?

Does the standing prayer count

If I’m under an electric blanket?

Sometimes I doze off during the drash.  

The camera pans around the sanctuary

When they take out the Torah and 

Parade around the room. 

We can see our friends 

But do they see us?

While the Torah is out we absorb its mojo 

And listen to a blessing for healing.  

I text the names of my sick friends 

(And myself)

Into the chat. 

Then Aleinu, 

It is upon us to change the world!

But today there’s nothing up on me

But banal thoughts of

Coffee and a morning pee. 

They get to the Mourners Kaddish,

One mustn’t grieve alone.  

(Maybe I’ll go in person next week for Daddy?)

The service ends with a song,  Adon Olam.

Feh, that tune is so annoying. 

Then, at last, we unmute

And for a moment 

The old and sick and lazy and the far away, 

My people,

Make noise in the room with each other. 

We wave and call out,

“Shabbat Shalom!!”

Blessed One-ness,

We give thanks for this holy day

Of love and pleasure. 


Monday, May 27, 2024

Words For Those We Remember

To the soldiers who died bravely for their country
And the soldiers who died in the fog of war 

To the civilians who died as collateral damage
And the civilians who died resisting cruelty 

To the helpers who died feeding the hungry 
And the helpers who died tending to wounds

To the young who died to fight old men’s wars
And the young who died while protesting 

To the women who died from weaponized rape
And the women who raised children alone

To the exploiters who profited from fear and ignorance 
And the exploiters who profited from the sale of weapons  and  death

To those who used war to enslave
And those who used war to liberate 

To all of these
We say
We remember you.  

We remember you.  

We remember you.