The Hill We Climb: An Invitation to Poetry

One of the moments in this week’s inauguration which captured the nation’s attention was when our first National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” Written in the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, it captured the heartbreak, anger and division of our nation, even as she provided us with a message of tempered hope and a path forward.

The Microphone at Times Square

Here’s an urban legend I have never been able to verify. Fact of fiction, it remains instructive. The story goes that in the early days of radio, an open microphone was stationed in the Times Square neighborhood. People could line up and await their turn at the microphone, where their message would be broadcast on a local station.*

The Day the Capitol Emptied Out

On January 6th, our nation’s capitol came under attack, not from a foreign power, but by American citizens. It was a day of high emotion and a low mark in the history of our nation. It was a day of shock and upset.

What is a congregation? Why is the sky blue? Where did the joy go?

There are moments and even eras when fundamental questions surface and when large numbers of people engage in the sort of philosophical speculation that normally is reserved for young children and professional philosophers. These big questions as they are sometimes referred to, are not only about “what is the meaning of life,” but they touch upon mystery or wonder. “Why is the sky blue?”

Vacation Notice

Rabbi Kosak is on vacation this week. Oasis Songs will return next week. In the meantime, please don't forget to use the link below to see Torah commentary from the Conservative Yeshivah and the movement.

The Voices that were Silenced

As I type these words, I am looking out the basement window and across the ravine, to where my neighbor’s deck is battened down for the winter. This is a seasonal view, obscured through most of the year by dense foliage. The vertical rails of their deck fence seem suddenly barren, and I am reminded of a Wallace Steven’s poem entitled “The Plain Sense of Things.”