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Ed Towbin-Issur haLevi

Ed Towbin grew up in Denver, CO in a conservative congregation. As an adult he learned of Reconstructionist Judaism, which was a comfortable place for his developing theological awakening. Ed has been writing "variants" to Reconstructionist liturgy for the past 40 years, emphasizing his understanding of principles of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. His work stresses values such as considering the divine as a process not a human-type entity; the importance of Jewish peoplehood; recognizing the human authorship of Scripture, with consequent questioning of miracles, revelations, and commandments; and rejecting ideas such as Divine Kingship and the Chosenness of the Jewish people.

אֶשָׂא עֵנַי | An adaptation of Esa Eynai (Psalms 121:1-2), by Ed Towbin-Issur haLevi

Contributed on: 03 May 2018 by Ed Towbin-Issur haLevi |

At B’nai Havurah, the Denver Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, located in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, we consider this psalm a local favorite. Psalm 121, described as a Song for the Ascents, traditionally looks to the heights, where godly powers were believed to reside, such as Mt. Sinai, or the Acropolis, to find divine help, in the person of God or The Unseen One. My proposal is a variation that adjusts our focus to this world, away from the supernatural, to acknowledge our responsibility for the well-being of ourselves and the environment. Whatever deeds and actions that may need to be taken for repair and preservation of our world, we are responsible for. To look for others to do the work for us, or to postpone acting until divine help comes, may turn out to be the height of recklessness for our own, as well as our children’s future. First we acknowledge what is here and real, then we commit to do what we can to solve problems and make things better. This variation is designed to allow it to be sung, with some adjustments, in community with others who are singing the traditional version in Hebrew and English. . . .

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