Presence, Absence, and Opportunity: Jewish Cemeteries in Poland

In a northeast corner of Poland, the sky is milky white over soft, wet earth covered in places with sheathes of yellow and brown leaves. All around, a soft breeze murmurs, rising and falling to a wordless melody, as Jewish New Year arrives and I track how it feels to be here once again. I… Read More

In Search of Magic at the Borderland

It is my second visit to Krasnogruda, a dot in space on the outskirts of the small community of Sejny, near the Polish-Lithuanian border. Before the war, this property belonged to the family of Czesław Miłosz, the Nobel prize-winning poet who happily vacationed here as a boy, and returned to visit in 1989. Abandoned for many… Read More

Treblinka and the Ground of Basic Goodness

On this, my eleventh visit to Poland, I’ve felt at home once again, reconnecting with a lineage that is clearly as Polish as it is Jewish. This sense of connection is much more fundamental than nationality. It is a deep resonance with place – with the powerful presence of earth and trees and sky –… Read More

Tribal Borders

One September day, during my recent stay in Poland, I joined a walking tour of Jewish Warsaw. At its end, our smart and funny Polish guide informed us that fifteen hundred Jews now lived in Warsaw, a third of whom actively practiced Judaism. That afternoon I continued walking and found the Nozyk Synagogue, which our… Read More

Awakening the Heart, Blue Moon over Warsaw

On July 31st, the second full moon in July, I was invited to give a dharma talk at the Warsaw Shambhala Center. Since Namkhai Norbu, a famous Tibetan teacher, was also teaching in Warsaw that evening, we were surprised that more than twenty people showed up. They were apparently attracted by my topic “Awakening the… Read More

Travelling Symbols

My tenth journey to Poland began almost two weeks ago in Berlin, where I recovered from the long flight and visited some dear friends in nearby Hamburg. My host and caretaker in Berlin was a woman I’d met in August, 2014 at the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto. Also a writer,… Read More


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