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December 30th, 2015 at 11:07 am

Excerpt from Modim by Linda K. Wertheimer

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The full essay appears in our Fall 2014 print issue. The entire issue is available for download in digital format. MY ARMS FELT HEAVY, MY MOUTH PARCHED AS I DREW THE FLUTE CLOSE TO MY LIPS.     It was a regular Friday night service at temple, and only 50 people sat in the sanctuary. I was about to accompany the cantor on a song, something I had done many times. Yet I was petrified and feared collapsing into tears.     I was 43, and three weeks before, was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I was anxious about my health, anxious about my baby boy’s welfare, anxious that my husband of two years would think he married a fraud rather than a competent, upbeat, successful journalist. Around the time our son was six weeks old, irrational fears and thoughts overtook me. I could not sleep when the baby slept. I was often nauseous. One night, I lay in bed thinking I was having a stroke. Every limb tingled. I did not want to be left alone. I would not let my sleep-deprived husband rest.     But there was so much to be thankful for in my life even as it unraveled. A decade ago, I Read the Rest…

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The following essay appears in the Fall 2006 print issue of Tiferet. Click to purchase the Kindle edition from Amazon.     It is said that a king wearing full battle armor once rushed up to see the Buddha. The king said, “O Enlightened One, I am on my way to war and it is very possible I may be killed. So I am in need of your deepest spiritual teachings. However, I must hurry or my soldiers will lose their courage. Can you sum up all your teachings in one word?” The Buddha replied, “Awareness.”     Not religion. Not God. Not faith. Just awareness.     There is an enormous difference between the choice to practice a religion and the need to become more spiritually aware. Religion is created by man. But life itself – creation, the universe, whatever we want to call it – is spiritual. That’s not an opinion or a philosophy or a view. Transcendent experiences are not merely relative; it is not as though they are real if you believe in them and not real if you don’t. The Divine is not an idea or a metaphor. It is a direct perception when we reach pure awareness. — BO LOZOFF’S first book, We’re Read the Rest…

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December 17th, 2015 at 10:45 am

Prayer by Chard deNiord

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Here is one of two poems by Chard deNiord that appears in our Fall 2014 print issue. The entire issue is available in downloadable digital format here. PRAYER I pulled weeds on my knees in the garden and prayed as I pulled, asking for bread, forgiveness, and deliverance, but nothing else-no intervention, miracle or sign. I was floating on the ground with dirt on my knees and blood on my hands from pulling thorns. A snake slid by with a cold clear eye I took as mine to see myself with so little time. My wife called out from the porch with nothing on for me to leave my trowel and join her for lunch beneath the elm that is so tall it sweeps the sky with its vernal broom. That is so ancient, hollow, and large a crowd of creatures make it their home, including an owl who sings till dawn about the hole in the sky that is the sky. I was so hungry then at noon, for how long had I been in the dark wet dirt without an answer? What it was that said, “Listen to the leaves that ruin paradise,” I’ll never know but did, Read the Rest…

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December 17th, 2015 at 1:23 am

Episode 59: Jacqueline Sheehan

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Please join Donna Baier Stein and Tiferet Journal for a conversation with author Jacqueline Sheehan,  Jacqueline Sheehan, Ph.D., is a New York Times Bestselling author. She is also a psychologist. A New Englander through and through, she spent twenty years living far from home in Oregon, California, and New Mexico doing a variety of things, including house painting, photography, freelance journalism, clerking in a health food store, and directing a traveling troupe of high school puppeteers. Her novels include, The Comet’s Tale a novel about Sojourner Truth, Lost & Found, Now & Then, and Picture This. Her newest book, The Center of the World, will be published in January 2016 by Kensington. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, short stories, and essays including the New York Times column, Modern Love. She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline has been awarded residencies at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland and Jentel Arts Colony in Wyoming. She teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and Writers in Progress in Florence, Massachusetts. She teaches writing workshops in Jamaica, Guatemala, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.   To find out more about Jacqueline Sheehan, please visit: www.jacquelinesheehan.com   Listen to the replay. Our entire interview archive Read the Rest…

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December 10th, 2015 at 9:58 am

Excerpt from The Map of Light by Rachel Dacus

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The full poem appears in our January 2015 digital issue. The entire issue can be downloaded here. One bird outside my window repeats Sweet, Sweet, Sweet, and another answers Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock. So I guess I’ll soon go to a place called Sweetrock. I googled and it turns out to be a farm in Portland where they grow herbs, bake artisanal bread, and make Swiss pastry. This is how my day proceeds, by poetry and association, as if I were still five and asking Mom how my oatmeal is named by birdsong. — RACHEL DACUS is a poet and writer whose works include the poetry books Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau, as well the recent Gods of Water and Air, a collection of poetry, prose, and drama. She has written on a variety of subjects, from travel in Italy to growing up a rocket scientist’s daughter during the race-to-space Cold War era. Her poems, stories, essays, reviews, plays, and interviews have appeared in Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, Rattapallax, and many other anthologies and journals. Read more at http://racheldacus.net.

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December 2nd, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Excerpt from Desert Revisited by Yahia Lababidi

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The full poem appears in our Spring 2015 digital issue. The entire issue can be downloaded here. under a whirling skirt of sky streaming light and stars groping for that tremendous hem gingerly over quicksand as though steadied beneath some tongue and dissolving not the absence of sound but the presence of silence or, as if transfixed by a gaze, stern-serene surveying a dream foreign-familiar — YAHIA LABABIDI, Egyptian-American, is the author of 6 books. His latest, Balancing Acts: Collected Poems (1993-2014) is forthcoming from Press 53 Silver Concho Poetry Series.  For more information, please visit:http://amazon.com/author/yahialababidi

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November 23rd, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Episode 58: Ronna Wineberg

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Please Join Donna Baier Stein and Tiferet Journal for an interview with Ronna Wineberg. Ronna Wineberg is the author of On Bittersweet Place, her first novel, and a debut collection, Second Language, which won the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project Literary Competition, and was the runner-up for the 2006 Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction. Her stories have appeared in American Way, Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review and elsewhere, and been broadcast on National Public Radio. She is the recipient of a scholarship in fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and residencies to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. She has been awarded a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is the founding fiction editor of the Bellevue Literary Review, and lives in New York.   For more information on Ronna Wineberg please visit: http://www.ronnawineberg.com   Listen to the replay. Our entire interview archive can be down­loaded from iTunes.   The Tiferet Journal is most pleased to also offer to you our multiple, award winning and recently released, “Tiferet Talk Interviews” book. This book includes 12 more exceptional interviews from Julia Cameron, Edward Hirsch, Jude Read the Rest…

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November 19th, 2015 at 10:44 am

Excerpt from A Sign in the Labyrinth by Linda Lappin

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The full essay appears in our Spring 2015 digital issue. The entire issue can be purchased here. I stroll barefoot on the beach at Spinalonga across the crushed luminescence of tiny abalones.  Scanning the shore for pocketable souvenirs, I note a cube of rock, striped with bands of red and green. An inscription appears as I look closer: spidery white script engraved upon the bands of red, and thick, black gothic strokes across the green.  The inscription runs along four sides of the chunk in an unbroken stream of notation. I dip the rock into the sea to refresh its colors.  A few letters leap out, unmistakable:  alpha, theta, but the rest are illegible.  On the lowest band is a row of white triangles resembling a highly stylized delta, all identical and evenly spaced, as if punched in the rock with the same carving tool. I am standing only a few feet from the crumbling Venetian bastions of the last leper’s colony in Europe, shut down over a half century ago. Could this have been scratched by an inmate on those dilapidated walls?  Or has it been washed up from some far more ancient, sunken ruin of Byzantium? LINDA LAPPIN is a prize-winning Read the Rest…

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November 12th, 2015 at 10:20 am

Excerpt from Sing Out by Gail Fishman Gerwin

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This poem appears in Tiferet print issue 19 from 2011. Click here to purchase the full issue in kindle format.   for my grandchildren I’d like to tell you all that you come from a long line of singers but in our family the thread 
we can touch stretches back only to your great-grandmother, my mother, unlike others’ lines that reach to the Revolution and beyond, perhaps to earls and kings. I’d like to tell you that lullabies 
I sang as I rocked you in your special room upstairs ring with generations of natal voices that came before us 
but the only tunes she bequeathed to me remain Dirty Lil, about a rancid girl
 who never took a bath, and a ditty 
about a cow atop the Alps, opening and closing its sphincter. My mother used the naughty term when she sang it
 in German, the language that marked her first seven years, the language 
that peppered her Yiddish when she spoke with her sisters. She’d hit the notes in a voice husky from the Chesterfields she puffed, Americanized from the life she led after her parents brought her here, but flawless German took her back to the Saxon town—I Read the Rest…

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The short story ‘Land of the Breath Artists’ by Wayne-Daniel Berard that appears in our Spring 2015 digital issue. Click to purchase the full issue.   I am writing to you from the Land of the Breath-Artists, and it is everything one could imagine it to be, believe me.  ‘Designedly dropt’ in the very center of this compact but diverse ecosystem, The Land reminds one alternately of a Mahfouz fable where, quite matter-of-factly, the borderless air breathes Koranic verses, and one of Hermann Hesse’s märchen, in which magical ideals press in upon you from the green and gold of a thousand northern linden, and pale, irresistible water maidens you half-recognize as an old school crush or last night’s waitress rise from every stream to stare –  or perhaps to sing  –   for you. You should really be here.  To write from this place is to know the obverse of magical realism. Even as I first arrived at the border (a remarkably friendly experience, by the way), I felt very much at home here, which surprised me.  How many of our friends would feel at ease if they were suddenly dropped at the gates of their father’s Galway City (where there Read the Rest…

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