Guidelines for Contributing Authors for Sara Harwin's Illuminated Letters: Threads of Connection

Reclaiming Judaism Press invites written submissions of spiritual reflections on one or more Hebrew word drawn from one of the Hebrew roots below. This will be juried for potential inclusion in exhibition panels and the exhibition book for Sara Harwin's Illuminated Letters: Threads of Connection exhibition.

Guidelines, author rights and examples:


1. Submit entries of 100-250 words, double-spaced in .doc format with no more than a 100 word bio before Rosh HaShannah. We anticipate a third another round later this year, as well. 

2. Roots for which we are presently welcoming personal reflections about your connection to any word that can be derived from the root are:

ohr-- אור
sara-- שרה
achad-- אחד
ahav-- אהב


tzadak-- צדק

chakham-- חכם
kadash-- shin

yarah-- ירה

zachar-- זכר

avad-- עבד

kum-- קום

tzavah-- צוה

barah-- ברה

Example 1.
Root, עבד, ayin bet daled, root derivative avoda.
Excerpt from My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. (Riverhead)

All who serve, serve life. What we serve is something worthy of our attention, of the commitment of our time and our lives. Service is not about fixing life, outwitting life, manipulating life, controlling life, or struggling to gain mastery over life. When we serve, we discover that life is holy.

Service is closer to generosity than it is to duty. It connects us to one another and to life itself. When we experience our connectedness, serving others becomes the natural and joyful thing to do. Over the long run, fixing and helping are draining but service is renewing. When you serve, your work itself will sustain you, renew you, and bless you, often over many years.

The best definition of service I have come across is a single word, BELONGING. Service is the final healing of isolation and loneliness. It is the lived experience of belonging.

Example 2--a winner from Round One by Rabbi Diane Elliot.

Root, shavat, שבת

What does it mean to shavat--to engage in the "pause that refreshes?"

Light is perceived in relation to darkenss, sound vibrates within a matrix of silence, and motion unfolds in a gradated contrast to stillness. SHAVAT is the natural pause between an exhalation and the next in-breath, the sleep that allows healing dreams to unfold, the cesura that organizes the verse of poetry, the rest that defines the musical phrase.

The Alexander technique is a movement education form where shavat is known as "inhibition." When you "inhibit" a habitual movement pattern, you open up space for new information to enter the system, for something different--more efficient, more interesting more true to happen. In the Torah, Shabbat is the culmination of Creation, a natural time of rest in a cycle of splendid, furious creativity through which God unfurls the cosmos.

For humans who are b'tzelem elohim, "made in God's image," shavat comes each week-- a blessed, welcome release from our own furious, obsessive rhythms of productivity.




I pause, trusting that the next breath will come, remembering that I am held and cared for when I'm not trying, knowing that nothing I do or make ultimately belongs to me. Shavat. I let go for a few hours, take time to feel my insides, to look into my partner's eyes, and to receive what I've been given--the manna of my life.

3. Author Rights:
You have the right to reprint pieces accepted by the jury for inclusion in this exhibition and associated print/web matter. All that is required is attribution back to this project. By sending a submission for the blind jury's consideration, this agreement becomes valid. There will be no free copies of the volume available, as this is solely a labor of love on the part of all involved.

Please submit your 100-250 word reflection and a no more than 100 word bio before Rosh Hashannah to Thank you for the honor of your soulful participation.