Amidah in the Time of Covid19


Photo by Nick Decorte on Unsplash, Photoshopped by me


There is a section of the shabbat service called the amidah. in which congregants pray silently for what usually seems to me to be a relatively long stretch, given that the rest of the service is filled with someone speaking, people chanting and singing, and in our congregation, beautiful music. In my Reconstructing Judaism/Jewish Renewal congregation, our rabbi encourages us to pray as our inner sense of what's needed in the moment calls us to do: to read the pages of prayers in the prayerbook or to be alone with the Self. I am always moving within and so choose to wait to receive what my soul sends me.


Since the pandemic descended, we have been zoom-gathering one by one or family by family, filling our screen-focused eyes with the little squares of faces we know, many of which are beloved. In what feels like a miraculous blessing, during every one of these shelter-in-place services, I have received waterfalls of words my hand somehow knows to record in poetry form, although that is normally not my preferred mode of creative or inspired writing.


Last night's amidah brought me into a dreamscape of roaring thunder. If you have ever stood in a huge waterfall or ridden the Maid of the Mist into Niagara Falls, you know how it felt. And this is what flowed into me. With gratitude to Reb Irwin Keller and our open-hearted community for cradling and raising me in your midst.

Amidah April 3

Let the fullness

your fullness

fill your life

as images fill your screen

and let the fullness of

Source Unleashed

as lightning, thunder, wind, flood and searing sun –

all those Great unyielding forces

from which you hide

BE WHAT YOU ARE.

Let the unlimited force of All Being

rush through your gates

your open gates

your gates shuttered in vanity

as if you could resist

the wholeness of All That Is

your Being

open to All that You Are

that You created yourself

to be

for this time.

In all time

you dance through the cosmos

the expanding stage

broader than any you have ever trod;

your stage awaits

your presence to

fill it, light it

without footlights, keylights or floods.

You are the light gathering behind your shuttered eyes.

Illumine your life.

Step into that light your open eyes release.

Command your life

around you.

Revel in what your mirror reveals

In the joyous

flushing of pale corners

opening into porticos never to be cornered again

into shame or shyness

for want of an adequate mirror.


(c) Leiah Bowden

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