Tuesday, January 31, 2012


“Good morning!” she said cheerfully. It was my turn to check throughmy products at the A&P and the cashier's greeting seemed natural andspontaneous.

I answered in kind, smiling and friendly.

In response she added: "I am thankful that I got another day today!”

I was hooked. "I am Jewish,” I announced .”In my tradition, the first words that a Jew recites when waking up, before doing anything else, are 'I thank You'-'Modeh Ani which is Hebrew for I thank you.”

Her eyes began to glisten with tears. " I felt like crying when you told me this.”

A pause was followed by: “When I get up I say 'thank you, Jesus, for another day'!

The transaction was completed, I wished her a good day and I was on my way.

A smile stuck to my face as I thought about the brief encounter. Different theology, same humanity.Different ethnic group-she, Afro-American, me-Jewish caucasian-same heart!

Perhaps in fact gratefulness is the unifying spiritual sensibility this world so desperately needs.

I was blessed with another moment of gratitude sharing which brightened my day. I thank You-Modeh Ani!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Where have I been!

Almost two months have elapsed since my last posting on gratefulness. Let me explain.I still have much for which to be grateful! I have been preoccupied in finalizing my work on the Passover Haggadah-Dayenu, which should become available in print within the next few weeks.
Concurrent with this has been my engagement in preparing a work on the Sabbath as a day of gratefulness, dedicated to our Rebbe, Abraham Joshua Heschel. In addition, I have been exploring ways by which to understand the Jewish festivals as occasions of sacred gratitude and have completed "A Gratefulness Guide to the Jewish Festivals".
These works include much color, illustration and images so as to enhance our sense of gratitude in considering the meaning of these sacred times in our lives.
Finally, I am convinced that the essence of prayer is praise and the expression of gratefulness and from this premise I am working on a prayer book, a siddur, which I title-the Modeh Ani Siddur-modeh ani," I thank," being the first words pronounced by the Jew upon awakening.
My ultimate objective is to create a small Jewish gratefulness library consisting of 5 volumes:
1.I Thank, therefore, I Am-Gateways to Gratefulness
2.Dayenu-The Gratefulness Haggadah
3.Sabbath-A Day of Gratefulness
4.A Gratefulness Guide to the Jewish Festivals
5. Siddur Modeh Ani-The Gratefulness Prayer Book.

Meanwhile, my heart is filled with gratefulness for the opportunity to devote my time and energy to what I consider this holy task.
With much gratitude to you who share in my spiritual path.