Current Chochmat Social Hall Display



In the Fall of 2015, just a few days after High Holy Days, I died in the doorway of my house. I had to be revived multiple times, & shocked back into life. I experienced the extended version of The Days of Awe. I felt The Book of Life close, then re-open to me. I Lived. Such Gratitude!!! The art on these walls is an account of my spiritual journey. This creative time has provided Blueprints for Life.

What happened? I was shattered. Since then, I have been gathering the holy sparks of my being, and have been lovingly fitting the broken pieces back together. I have been listening to the singing of each shard. They tell me of some new form they wish to take. It has been a whole year to put words, color and form to this formless experience of living between the worlds – of being, then dying, and beyond death to rebirth. A whole year has unfolded of surrender and grief. Ultimately it has led me to serenity and joy, co-existing in balance with pain and sorrow. As I mourn the many losses of the past, I celebrate the life I am given today.

This life is both the most gentle and painful process of unfolding, of living in the unknown landscape of illness. This has been a time of conscious living, of an awareness of what my mind thinks and what my body knows it can, or cannot be in this moment. I must go slowly. I must walk with care. I must forgive myself for needing help.

For each of us, we are called to embrace life’s limitations and find new pathways to joy. Can we find strength, relief and serenity in surrender?

What has this year been for you?

The holy vessels of our lives can feel broken.  When we experience job loss, retirement, divorce, illness, death, or a child grown and leaving home, politics, war and sorrow for the planet- these are all cracks in the vessels, and there are many forms that our grief can take. We may be dwelling in the land of resentment, anger, or despair. Can we find Tikkun Olam? Can we renew and heal our own brokenness? Can we generate compassion for our world, ourselves,  & others? Can we find new languages of caring?

Tikkun Olam, Repair of the World – Healing the Vessels.

Can we still find Holy Joy, Delight and Beauty?

When I was dying in the threshold, I raised my head and to my right, I saw veils with the holy texts and symbols of all Creation, shimmering in pale translucent gold. I saw them flowing gently on the breath of life. Over the year of pondering, I realized that what I saw were words in different languages:  Hope, Peace, Forgiveness, Serenity. These words were for the healing of the intimate vessels of ourselves and the vessels of life and all existence.  I am on an adventure. Holy Art, and Beauty, and all creatures and friends companion me.

I am wrapped in a tender… Blanket of Blessings.

I share these gladly with you.

I am filled with Gratitude.

Gina Rose Halpern has dedicated her life to education, creativity, healing and service.  She is the founder of The Chaplaincy Institute, an Interfaith Seminary and Community in Berkeley, CA. She is a retired Interfaith Board Certified Clinical Chaplain.


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