Tag Archives: listening

The Light in the Window

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

Rosh Hashanah, 5780 –
I’m sitting in the synagogue
listening to the rabbi preaching
the importance of listening
with eyes, ears, heart and soul,
to be part of the congregation
that says hineni, “Here I am.”
But I am a bad listener,
drifting in and out of the rabbi’s words.
My eyes wander up to the stained glass windows
where I see and sense the sunlight pouring in.
This light fills me with awe and comfort,
giving me the feeling there is hope
in these times of conflict and uncertainty.
The rabbi finishes his speech,
but it’s not his words I take away;
it is the language of light
that offers me His presence instead,
and I become  a most complete and faithful listener.

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years. Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in the YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy, edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Filed under American Jewry, Brooklyn Jews, Jewish, Jewish identity, Jewish writing, Judaism, poetry

Shema: Hear! Listen!

By Gloria Scheiner (Sarasota, FL)

We signed the Shema today.

We cupped our ears and raised one finger to show the Lord is One.

It was Tot Shabbat at my daughter Elana’s temple, and everyone was called to listen.

The Lord is One, and we were one Jewish community.

The parents recited the blessing over their sons and daughters, and, of course, Elana, Michael, and three-year-old Chloe sneaked in a special prayer to include their miniature dachshund, Otto.

The Shema urges us to hear, to listen!

I listen.

I listen to my forty-year-old son, Adam, when he calls me each morning at 7:20 am on his way to his office.

I hear all about his day’s plans, his stories about the kids, the challenges of raising a family in today’s world.

I listen.

I listen to his six-year-old.

“Grandma,” he says, “I have to go to a listening class every Sunday. Everyone wants me to listen but nobody wants to listen to me.”

I listen to him.

I listen to my forty-three-year-old son, Jac.

He shares his excitement about his partnership, his books, his music, his recipes, and sometimes even his dates.

“Hey Mom, I completed Sunday.”

Who else but someone who has listened to him could share that excitement?

Because I listen, I know what he’s excited about: the Sunday crossword puzzle.

We listen to each other because we love each other. We love each other more because we listen to each other.

“Listen, Glo. I’m furious. Why do I have to bla,bla,bla…?”

I listen to my sister’s frustration. The more I listen, the more I connect.

It’s so easy to love and be loved. Just listen!

The Shema tells us to hear, to listen, even when it’s a challenge to listen to a loved one when Dr. Alzheimer interrupts his speech and flow of thoughts.

It gets more difficult every day, but I am determined. I am pledged to listen.

Some days are better than others. Yesterday was not one of the better ones.

Tomorrow I will have my hearing aids checked.

I want to listen.

Gloria Scheiner is a member of “The Pearls,” a group of six women who meet every Monday in Sarasota to write. “We choose a word and write for about ten minutes. If we like it, we are free to expand it, edit it, or just hone in on a particular phrase or idea. What I love most is how one word evokes such a different chord in each of us.”


Filed under American Jewry