Go inside the private sanctuary of my backyard garden with me and enjoy the story I tell of both disruption and peace. I promise you a nugget of gold in the story (which I hope) provides guidance in our tumultuous times.
News is hard. Hugs are easy. Or are they?
Join me as I tell you about a recent day-in-the-life-of-Lee Ann story.
For this podcast episode, I (Lee Ann) sat down with Rabbis Nina Beth Cardin, Edwin Goldberg and Rhoda Harrison and discussed the upcoming Passover holiday. While my guests were from different denominations and backgrounds, it was delightful to learn of the similarities with which they all viewed this particular Jewish holiday, as well as their commitment to the same social justice issues that ring across the millennia and their openness to the varieties of Seder experiences.
Rabbi/Cantor Rhoda Harrison is the first voice you’ll hear today…She has her Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from the Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University. Her dissertation investigated the accommodation of liturgy to modernity. Not only is she a smart and compassionate rabbi, Jewish educator and liturgist, but she is also a cantor with a glorious lyric coloratura voice. Currently, she serves at Har Sinai as Education Director, but at the beginning of her career she was Har Sinai’s cantor. She also served for years as the rabbi and spiritual leader of Temple Emmanuel of Baltimore. When not at temple you can find Rhoda doing crossfit and working on her cabaret repertoire. Her next cabaret performance at Germano’s (in Baltimore) is June 16th, 2018. Find out more HERE!
Next is Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin– prolific writer, educator, social activist and environmentalist, who has, as it were, a “community pulpit” instead of a “congregational pulpit”. In Baltimore she has founded and lead numerous organizations, including the Jewish Women’s Resource Center, the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network and the Baltimore Orchard Project. As an author, she has a few publications to her name! She fashions spiritual resources from the Jewish tradition and makes them relevant for the post-modern world in which we live. Some of her works include: Visions of Holiness in the Everyday; Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope: A Jewish Spiritual Companion for Infertility and Pregnancy Loss; The Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events; and, Rediscovering the Jewish Holidays: Traditions in a Modern Voice. Currently she is in the middle of writing her next book, simply titled, Rabbi.
And finally, Rabbi Edwin Goldberg– senior rabbi at Temple Sholom in Chicago. He has served congregations in Coral Gables, Florida, Los Angeles and Cincinnati. He is the author of many books, including: Midrash for Beginners, Heads and Tales: Stories of the Sages to Enlighten Our Minds, Swords and Plowshares: Jewish Views of War and Peace, Love Tales from the Talmud, Saying No and Letting Go: Jewish Wisdom on Making Room for What Matters Most. He has served as the Coordinating Editor of the new Reform Jewish Machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh. A companion commentary, Divrei Mishkan HaNefesh, edited by Rabbi Goldberg, is due out this spring.
PART 1: THE EXODUS STORY
PART II: THE TELLING
PART III: SCRUBBING BUBBLES AND HAMETZ
PART IV: STEPPING THROUGH THE DOOR
PART V: MAKING THE OLD STORY NEW
PART VI: WHAT IF?
Big, heartfelt thanks go out to those who made this episode possible with their assistance. First, to the guests who took time out of their busy lives to talk with me. My love and appreciation to Rabbis Cardin, Harrison and Goldberg. For the musical interludes between the episode segments, Craig Taubman is the gifted musical artist to whom we owe such gratitude. You will want to hear all of his work at Craignco.com, but if you don’t do anything else, pick up/stream/find/GET his album, Passover Lounge. He and his colleagues are impacting the world one event, song, inspiration and ripple at a time.
To friends and colleagues, Herb Levy, Kim Sit, and Alexander Laurin, who gave me advice as I put this episode together–thank you!
And to my brother, John Hopkins, who is a talented audio engineer and music producer in New York City–I just could not have done this elaborate episode without his expertise. He brought my whole production and vision together. (I love you–I really, REALLY love you, John!) Please check out his work at Just John Music.
Sharing the Journey: The Haggadah for the Contemporary Family by Alan S. Yoffie and illustrated by Mark Podwal
For This We Left Egypt?: A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel
The New Freedom Seder by Arthur Waskow (free, printable .pdf version!)
A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah by Rabbi Joy Levitt and Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, illustrated by Jeffrey Schrier
New American Haggadah by Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander
Family Haggadah: A Seder for All Generations, edited by Pamela B. Schaff
Maccabeats — Mah Nishtanah (a favorite of mine!)
10 ounces good imported bittersweet chocolate broken into pieces
½ c unsalted butter at room temp
½ c sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
5 large eggs separated
1/3 c finely ground almonds in a food processor
2 tbsp kosher for Passover brandy
Whipped cream (optional)
If you like what you heard, please subscribe to this podcast to make sure you get every upcoming episode. You don’t want to miss it and I don’t want to miss you! And don’t forget:
I love you, I really, REALLY love you!
Today is a story about family life and the odd, wonderful gifts that come out of the dysfunction. Lee Ann mines the rituals of family and gives us a beautiful ode to love, with music by John Hopkins.
It’s got a little something extra at the end, so enjoy this seven-minute love story that will both delight you and bring a wee smile to your face.
We get help from our mystic and poet friends today as we celebrate love and passion: love of self, love of others and love of God. Lee Ann is joined in this episode by poet-lawyer, Andrea Grill. Enjoy this poetry in all its naked beauty!
What story or stories are you telling yourself right this moment about yourself, your past, your future? What kind of tales are you spinning about others? What myths do you hold about the world and the current state-of-affairs?
Today, Lee Ann looks at story and shares how she switches the script in order to tell better stories about herself and those around her.
Two Birds (Lee Ann Hopkins)
There are two theologies that arise–
Two birds taking flight
from the clay below.
One rises in song,
One with broken wing.
The poor one pecking its fallen self
as the songbird hears only
the call of God’s whisper:
“Oh you are good–
You, oh lovely creature!”
Divinity offered mirrored
words to the limp:
“Darling, you are holy;
fly my sweet, my innocent!”
To which he finds a worm in the apple.
Then the showers come
and the showers go.
Will they reek destruction or
will there be flowers and a rainbow?
That, my friend, all depends on where your bird’s story begins.
Get your weekly “love letter” from Lee Ann. These weekly words arrive in your email box every Monday morning. They are like the anonymous love notes that Lee Ann leaves in the Metro, on the trains and in public spaces in the DC area. Why anonymous love notes? Because we never know the struggles of another or their hope and dreams unrealized…but we can add some light and love, even if anonymously to remind the holder that there is always hope. So since you will likely not find your own anonymous love note on the train, why not get a love letter anyway and start your week off with some encouragement? Click here to get yours!
Happy New Year! Lee Ann has a short, SHORT story to get you started off right. And no surprise here–the story is about love!
The story is called “Love 2.0”, and the script is below to read again later! May self-love be your starting point this year as you disentangle irrelevant, old and useless programs like low self-esteem, grudges and resentments. Continue reading
The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic. It’s a must-read as a child AND as an adult.
Margery Williams (also known as Margery Williams Bianco) wrote this children’s book in 1922 about a stuffed rabbit and his desire to become real. The subtitle “How Toys Become Real” points the reader and listener to the truth. That truth conveyed through a small bunny in a boy’s life can change all of us. Listen closely for the wisdom of Skin Horse and the Nursery Magic Fairy as Lee Ann reads this timeless story to you and yours.
Feeling a bit anxious in these dark and tumultuous times? You’re not alone! Listen in as Lee Ann shares two stories from her Icelandic travels that speak to the hope and light that we all need. It is the season of hope, light and expectation after all!
“Yes” is a superpower in our world of “No!” This meditation is a musing about my favorite word. Find out why! Maybe you’ll learn to like it as much as I do.
We fall prey to the myth of “Otherness” especially in hard times. The concept of “otherness” grows out of our pain and suffering. And if we aren’t aware of our pain points, we will blame others for what ails us. Today, Lee Ann offers an answer to this “otherness” problem we seem to be having in the U.S. and the world at large, using one of Jesus’s stories from the Gospel of Luke. You’ll recognize the lawyer that prompts Jesus to tell this story and you’ll be surprised (maybe) by what you learn.
Grab a chair, pillow or some place comfy! Today, Lee Ann guides us through a simple and relaxing meditation. Take 10-15 minutes for yourself. You’ve got the time. Stop and take a few moments during all the chaos that life seems to throw at you. You deserve it.
Today and everyday, the good life is about gratitude, right? You bet! In this episode, I consider this all-encompassing thing we call “gratitude” during that time of year when many of us–most of us–sit at overflowing tables, bow our heads and give thanks with our friends and loved ones. May you find within it something that will both lift you and challenge you.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings;and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
The struggle ends when gratitude begins. –Neal Donald Walsh
If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it will be enough. –Meister Eckhart
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom. –Marcel Proust
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. –William Arthur Ward
Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart. –Seneca
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. –Thornton Wilder
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle. –Albert Einstein
Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first or the last time, then your time on earth will be filled with glory. –Betty Smith
Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. –William Faulkner
To say that “you’re in for a treat” is an understatement when it comes to hearing the extraordinary storyteller, Kristin Pedemonti. Today’s “Moments” episode is a story that all of us can relate to in some form or another. I don’t want to say anything about it because hearing the story is “it”…
(Production Note: The sound on today’s podcast is a bit “tinny” because we were recording remotely. Just think ‘old time radio’ and forgive me, would ya!? It’s worth it, I promise! I’ll be back with my usual microphone next week!)
Which of these two do more damage: power or powerlessness? Given today’s environment in which we live, it’s important to know. Listen in and find out if you are, in fact, powerful.
Next week, Lee Ann invites Kristin Pedemonti, storyteller extraordinaire, to share a favorite story, “Superhero Grandma.” Kristin called in with her story and it’s here for you to enjoy on November 13th!
Stay tuned as Lee Ann will be the guest on “The Podcaster’s Life” and also, “In Her Voice” in the next couple of weeks.
Thank you for listening. Please subscribe and review this podcast on your favorite podcast platform. We hope that you carry love and power into your week. Remember, Lee Ann loves you!
We are a people in need of friendship–not only with others, but with ourselves. Today, Lee Ann explores friendship and belonging in this episode. Because this topic is so wide and so deep, we’ll return to this subject again.
You’ll find the notes for the episode below. Please don’t forget to reach out to me, Lee Ann, with your ideas and your comments HERE. I’d love to hear them. You will most definitely get a response from me. Thank you for listening, subscribing and sharing. Remember, I love you. I really, REALLY love you…
Today we hear a story, a children’s song, a poem and some wisdom about the meaning of spirituality. Spirituality is not a “to-do” in our lives, but more like a “TA-DA”! We make the invisible, visible in our lives. Join Lee Ann as she shares her weekly dose of love.
We’re here to love, to bind up the broken-hearted, to feed and heal the sick, to be in relationship with one another, to cherish this glorious planet that we are lucky enough to inhabit. We’re here to be the love revolution.
And yes, just like the F-bomb, love is a four-letter word…L-O-V-E, and it packs one heckuva punch. There’s more power in it than anything else on this earth.
Hear Lee Ann’s take on what this world needs more of. She’s going all “red-head” on the topic. You’ll want to listen and share.
A voicemail. A call. A father. And a daughter.
May you find your own story within this short story from Lee Ann.
Here’s one listener’s response to the story:
In “The Phone Call”, a 9 minute piece of storytelling art about a father and daughter, we receive the whole world — with its great compassion, great love, and yes, great humor…
Please enjoy…and make our day by subscribing to this podcast. Thank you!
Yom Kippur is the holiest of days in the Jewish calendar year and it will occur this week. Find out why Lee Ann is talking about “choosing life” during this holiest of fast days.
L’Shana tova! Happy New Year! Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe are upon us as we stand at the beginning of new things, new activities and a new year. What are you hoping for? What will you choose for yourself? How will you live into this opportunity before you?
Join Lee Ann (whether you are Jewish or not!) as she offers a short reflection on Rosh Hashanah.
Preparations are underway for the Days of Awe (High Holidays) in the Jewish calendar. Come join the celebration and learn something new. This is a time of teshuvah–of turning and returning–a time of forgiveness. Let’s remember that forgiveness is a small shift with big consequences–maybe, even a miracle or two…
Today, Lee Ann talks “off-the-cuff” about the troubles and answers for our collective malaise here in America. While we may be “drowning in information and starving for wisdom” in the U.S., most people want to be on the side of love and justice. But it demands that we look at ourselves individually and communally. “Who are you?” is the question to be asked and answered. How we answer determines the course we take.
We’ve taken a quick tour of Stoicism and heard from the likes of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Today, we end this series with Seneca’s piece that has been titled over the millennia, “On the Shortness of Life.” The piece is a strident call to action. Truly, it’s about seizing the day like no other written work.
A Washington, D.C. story about two strangers and acts of kindness from the 5th and 6th floors on Eye Street…
You’ve heard in the prior episodes about the first two disciplines that the Stoics practiced: the disciplines of perception and of action. Today, we hear about the third discipline–the discipline of will. Our clearest examples come from the trials and tribulations of war and great loss which we will hear about today. But we’ll learn that the crucible of war is not the only time to pull out this discipline from our old friends, the Stoics. It’s a daily practice. This discipline of will requires that we answer the question, “How do we govern ourselves in a world that isn’t always happy and fair? How do we reconcile the externals and internals–those things within our control and those things outside our control. This discipline is about our character and how we define ourselves.
Crayons seem to be the lifeblood of our childhood. But what about now?
Listen in to Hooray Weekly and Lee Ann for a moment…Go back for a second. See and smell all your crayons spilled upon the floor. What was your favorite crayon in the box of 64? Continue reading
With the discipline of action, our ancient friends remind us that the way to live a happy and productive life is to make a habit of doing good.
Are you in the habit of seeing things and people as they are or do you attach a story to everything and everyone you see? If you’re honest, (and we all need to be!) most of us are in the habit of poor perception and faulty thinking/logic. We have endless reels that are playing in the background that distort almost every interaction…and we wonder why we suffer! Continue reading
A composting bin, spider, rain, persistence and sunshine. What weaves them together? Listen in and find out.
And don’t forget to check out Lee Ann’s latest, “the little book with a lot of punch”:
Thanks to all who have made this first week of the book launch so special, meaningful and successful! My hat is off to you and my gratitude is immense.
With love and Hooray,
P.S. Want to send a comment or make a suggestion for a future podcast episode? By all means send an email–just click here!
This week and for the next few weeks, unless for some reason I’m side-tracked, let’s sip some lemonade on the porch with some ancients…who are in fact, quite modern. These guys are the Stoics.
Some moments are so precious they leave an imprint on you for life. This moment is a collection of moments–really, two years worth. As of this week, Enzo, the greyhound, our wonder-boy and beautiful soul has been with our family for two years. Join Lee Ann as she talks about Enzo and her wish for a better self and kinder world.
Nothing worth having can be had quickly. Life is not something to be cheapened with tricks or second-rate dabbling. We are all prone to want to get to the goal or end point as fast and efficiently as possible. But is a life worth living to be traveled the same way that we manage to manipulate a paperclip into many different uses? Hacking our way through our days is a disservice to our lives. Mastering life and living is a much different concept to Lee Ann than is our current market bent toward “life hacks” and “life hacking.”
Keeping the clutter and icky chatter from your (internal) home can be tough. That’s why today’s conversation is a no-brainer addition to plucking out and replacing the negative in our minds. Our forebears and favorite coaches have left us with inspiring words. Let’s put them to good use! Sprinkle words of wisdom into your day and find more positive thoughts flooding your mind. Continue reading
To live a good and happy life, the Cherokee elder warns his grandchild to feed the “good wolf”. And Jesus gives us the Beatitudes as a marvelous template for how to feed our better selves (the good wolf). Continue reading
Moments are defined as–
a : a minute portion or point of time
b : a comparatively brief period of time
a : present time
b : a time of excellence or conspicuousness
In this new segment of Hooray Weekly, Lee Ann shares small, yet significant moments to gnaw on and consider. And reminds us of our shared present that surely is a delight and wonder, if we will only stop and pay attention. Continue reading
No one can avoid the anxiety that plagues the U.S. and the world at this moment in time. But we can, and must, hold fast to the good. Lee Ann wrestles with a small portion of the Sermon on the Mount for today’s episode to help us through these anxious moments of 2017. Continue reading
Today’s a bit of a neighborhood day, a Mister Roger’s day…an introduction to your host and friend of Hooray Weekly, Lee Ann Hopkins. We are incorporating a bit of last week’s theme, it’s kind of like “coming out”—sharing things that are perhaps hidden and unknown to the public.
It’s Pride Month! Few communities embrace their true nature better than the LGBTQ community. Today, Lee Ann opens this celebratory time with a challenge to all: live out proud and loud as WHO. YOU. ARE. There’s only one you. None of which should ever be hidden away, since secrets can be incredibly harmful. In fact, it’s spiritually honest to be out as who you are. Take it from a modern-day, true-to-oneself pop icon, Lady Gaga…And if not from her, then a 13th century Beguine sister, Mechtild of Magdeburg.
A peaceful Ramadan to all who are fasting and rejoicing at the start of this month-long celebration. May this month be purposeful, meaningful and prayerful for you and yours.
And for those in the United States, may you have a safe Memorial Day weekend and holiday.
In this Memorial Day weekend episode, I give you three poems that show us the way forward, as we re-member, re-order, honor and live with the losses that are front-and-center for each of us individually and communally. The violence and war that have taken our precious ones demands that we go beyond borders and contrivances of family and nation to heal and to hope. I focus on three poets and their poems in this episode. They are Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day”, Czeslaw Milosz’s “Encounter” and Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!” Continue reading
Time to slow the mind down and listen. Poetry will do the trick. Let the three poets and their poems Lee Ann chose for this week’s podcast welcome you into their world (which is YOUR world) and lead you to some beautiful, life-affirming and kick-butt conclusions. Or maybe not even conclusions at all, but entry points for living full and rich days.
The three poems in this episode are Maya Angelou’s “A Brave and Startling Truth,” Kobayashi Issa’s “Cricket” and Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Famous.” If you’d like, you may follow along as the poems are found below, along with links to the books where they are found. Continue reading
This episode is for YOU! Lee Ann offers encouragement that delivers–offering two ideas that will surely boost your internal skies–your very own positive weather! When your practice gets stale or feels fake, you have to mix things up a bit with a switch of pronoun usage and/or a novel form of “afformations” as introduced by Noah St. John. Continue reading
Clear up those internal weather patterns that are causing you to suffer! Create your great life with affirmations. Learn from a master affirmation practitioner and your host and fellow traveler on this journey, Lee Ann Hopkins. She gives you seven rules (suggestions) to get you started with affirmations. Even if you’ve worked with positive thinking, listen in, as you’re bound to learn something new! Continue reading
Lee Ann offers a wonderful story to illuminate your brilliance. She reminds you of your greatness every week. So listen in, and enjoy. This is for YOU!
Play is oxygen for the soul! It’s not just for children, it’s for us adults. Silliness and levity are necessary ingredients for our soul and researchers are filling in the data points to prove that this is so. Even Plato understands the importance and insight of play. He said: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Right on, Plato! Play does tell us a great deal about people. Let’s hear it for fun! Continue reading
We can’t be in a hurry in tough times. It often requires patience. But even more than patience, inner generosity fills the holes in our weary soul and spirit. In this podcast, Lee Ann chats about a different kind of relationship we need to have with ourselves in the middle of difficult circumstances–well, in life really. Listen in for a few pointers and a big dollop of love! Continue reading
Have you ever been put down with the question, “Who do you think you are?” Have you halted your own growth because of the opinion of others or your own limited knowledge? We do this in countless ways, but we need not do this. Join Lee Ann for a very personal pep talk–one that she gives herself! Find out what Jesus, Luke, Robert Kennedy and Marianne Williamson have to say about your fear and self-doubts. Continue reading
Prayer is a critical piece when things appear to be falling apart, when they are shifting, changing, uncertain and unstable. On our knees, we are stabilized. It is prayer that is the workhorse keeping us grounded in what is true, loving, right and good. In this episode, Lee Ann talks about prayer as a way to assist us in tough times. Continue reading
Do you know the odds of your birth? Do you know how amazing you are? Do you know how unique your contribution to the world is? Let Lee Ann fill you in on today’s Hooray Weekly podcast. Continue reading
What will bring us through tough times? Listen in as Lee Ann reflects upon the power of our grief.
…And drop Lee Ann a line via email, sky-writing or pigeon carrier! She’d love to hear from you…and as you’ll hear in this episode, she’s sending cards and notes to listeners who just need a bit of love, cheer and/or pick-me-up. Nothing better than finding some love in your mail box (not your email in box!)…Just don’t forget to leave your mailing address or the address of someone you care about who needs a little surprise. You can email Lee Ann at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Continue reading
Times are such that we need people, purpose and love more than we need perfect. Particularly in tough times…Join Lee Ann as she continues the series “Hooray in Tough Times.” Today, it’s all about “being a groupie.” Find out what that means for you! Continue reading
Friends, today’s episode is called “Belief”. This is the tie-a-knot-and-hang-on episode. When all is said, done and practiced in difficult times—no matter what our strategies for getting through—there is a point when none of these strategies matter at all. Random acts of kindness, meditation/being still, keep-on-keeping-on action are emphasized because these are things that we can DO.
But today, we consider the foundation…the stuff that is behind the curtain. What is there when you pull everything away and look? What keeps you going when nothing seems to be working, when everything has gone wrong? Continue reading
Today, we meet “learned helplessness” and its antidote, kindness. We will discover that kindness not only overwhelms and changes the world, but it changes us. That would seem obvious, right? But when we are in tough times, thinking outside of the box is not always available to our hurting souls. So listen in! Continue reading
Today, I discuss the importance of stillness in our busy, frenetic and fear-filled world. If you want to find your Hooray in tough times, it is a necessary component for your days. Listen in to the podcast for some love, encouragement and a couple of meditation/stillness techniques. Here are two of the practices I mention in this week’s episode. Continue reading
How in the world do you manage through tough times of crisis, despair, anxiety and loss? In this episode, I encourage you to keep your head down. Keeping your head down is a way through when worlds seem to be crashing in upon you. It’s one-foot-in-front-of-the-other work and involves doing what is right in front of you and involves praying in whatever form that is for you. Continue reading
Today, we begin our journey together, where each week I bring you food-for-thought, something yummy for your Soul and your life. It’s like having your own cheerleader, coach and teacher–all rolled up into one.
In this short welcome and intro, I discuss:
Please do me the favor of:
Remember: “Smile and the world smiles with you.”–Lee Ann Hopkins