THE INTERFAITH CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ISRAEL hosts a Poetry Slam, poet Michael Dickel presents

c The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development‎Interfaith Eco Poetry Slam صدى المناظرة الشعرية بين الاديان האקו-פואטרי סלאם הבין דתי

c The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development‎ Interfaith Eco Poetry Slam صدى المناظرة الشعرية بين الاديان האקו-פואטרי סלאם הבין דתי

The ICSD staff and participants from around Jerusalem gathered in Tmol Shilshom to perform and speak about faith and ecology through the art of poetry on June 30.  Michael Deckel discussed the human relationship with God and how we want a connection but cannot have one without striving to create meaning in the world.

En Gedi — Wadi David Photograph ©2015

En Gedi — Wadi David
Photograph, Michael Dickel ©2015

En Gedi

Even lizards hide from this scorched heat.
Tristram’s grackles pant in the shade of skeletal acacia.
Fan-tail ravens float on rising currents like vultures.

David hid from Saul in the strongholds of En Gedi;
along the wadi now named for him, waterfalls
drop warm water onto maidenhair ferns into tepid pools.

Any stippled shade provides shelter from the scathing sun
when hiding from midday heat or close pursuit:
Tristram and Iseult, David, seek shade, ferns, sparkling droplets.

We escape, fugitives from kings
into what little shade we find, wade
into green puddles of desert water,

for brief respite, solace,
a bright glimmer sliding down
an eroding rock face.

– Michael Dickel

© 2015/2016, poem and Ein Gedi photograph, Michael Dickel;2012, portrait (below) Aviva Dickel

RELATED:

dickelheadshot3x4-1MICHAEL DICKEL (Fragments of Michael Dickel), a poet, fiction writer, essayist, photographer, digital artist, and educator is a contributing editor for The BeZine, was associate editor and contributing editor of The Woven Tale Press, managing editor of arc-24 (2015) and arc–23 (2014), and co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36 (2010). His latest book of poems is War Surrounds Us. Previous books include Midwest / Mid-East and The World Behind It, Chaos, an eBook from “why vandalism?” that is no longer available online. Dickel is the Chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English.

Dickel’s work was short-listed for the Wisehouse 2016 Poetry Award and has appeared in literary journals, anthologies, art books, and online for over twenty years. His photographs and poems have appeared in: THIS Literary Magazine, Eclectic Flash, Cartier Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Sketchbook, Emerging Visions Visionary Art eZine, Poetry Midwest, Fotógrafos En La Calle (Street Photographers), why vandalism? [1, 2, 3, 4], Poetica Magazine—Reflections on Jewish Thought, Zeek: a Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture and Abramelin: the Journal of Poetry and Magick, among many others (a selection of recent publications can be accessed on the Links page). Two of his poems received first and second place in the 2009 international Reuben Rose Memorial Poetry Competition.

He has also worked with documentary film productions, writing everything from fund-raising proposals to research to treatments and scripts. Working with David Fisher, he wrote a successful proposal for a U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures through Film Development Grant.

Michael (Dickel) Dekel, Ph.D., holds degrees in psychology, creative writing, and English literature. He has been teaching college and university for over 25 years—writing and literature courses in the United States and Israel – as well as courses in media and English Education in Israel. He directed the Student Writing Center at the University of Minnesota and the Macalester Academic Excellence Center at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN). He currently lectures at Kibbutzim College (Tel Aviv). Dr. Dickel has published articles, presented conference papers, and led workshops on writing and the teaching of academic writing. He currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel.

a story of faith, hope and love

IMG_1955I feel almost inclined to start this story with “once upon a time” since it feels that we began our adventure so long ago.  I started The Bardo Group (though it wasn’t titled that way to begin with) in 2011 as a way to encourage a sort of world without borders by having people from different cultures and religions come together to show what’s in their hearts and in doing so to demonstrate that with all our differences we have much in common: our dreams and hopes, our plans for children and grandchildren, our love of family, friends and the spiritual traditions we’ve chosen or into which we were born  . . . not to mention our love of sacred space as it is expressed in the arts and our concerns for peace, social justice and sustainability.

At one point I decided that it would be nice to have a sort of virtual Sunday service and invited Terri Stewart, a Methodist Minister, to be our “Sunday Chaplain.”  In 2008 she founded Beguine Again, an interfaith platform for clerics and spiritual teachers to offer daily solace and inspiration. I felt comfortable inviting Terri in because she didn’t want to convert anyone and seemed to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of traditions other than her own. She even incorporated the wisdom of other traditions in her rituals and writings. Terri supported our mission. She didn’t appear threatened by different opinions or beliefs.

A little over a year ago, I suggested we might throw our two efforts together, Beguine Again and The Bardo Group. I hoped that would ensure the continuation of the The Bardo Group and the wise, beautiful and valued work and ideals of our core team and guests, a group of earnest and talented poets, writers, story-tellers, essayists, artists, photographers and musicians.  Each is a strong advocate for a better – fair, peaceful and sustainable – world. Together they are a powerhouse.

Okay, yes!  I’m a bit biased.  I’ve only met one of our group in person and only talked by phone with Terri,  but I’ve read everyone’s work – their emails, messages, books, blogs and FB posts for years now.  We’ve been through deaths in families, births and birthdays, graduations, illness and recovery, major relocations, wars and gunfire, triumphs and failures. Two of our original contributors have died. I feel that our core team and our guests might be my next-door neighbors instead of residing in  Romania, England, Algeria, the Philippines, Israel, India, Greece, Bulgaria, the United States and other countries I’ve probably forgotten. We’ve featured work by people ranging in age – as near as I can guess – from 19 to nearly 90. They’ve been Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics. The growth of our readership is slow but steady, loyal and just as diverse as our core team and guests.

So what did we do to facilitate this merger: At Beguine Again daily posts continued. That team joined The Bardo Group. We stopped posting daily on The Bardo Group site and started The BeZine, a monthly online publication with a fresh theme for each issue. Terri got a grant to establish a community website from the Pacific Northwest United Methodist Church. The website has been over a year in the works. Today, we unveil it.

footer-logo

The site is designed to be a spiritual networking community.  Though it is an extended ministry of the Lake Washington United Methodist Church, this effort remains both interfaith and a labor of love.

The site is supported by donations, membership (paid membership is optional) and a generous grant from Pacific Northwest United Methodist Church, which funded the design and development of the site. The grant from the church ends on December 31, 2015. Donations and membership fees will support the cost of technical assistance, web hosting and so forth. Should there be any excess funds they will go to the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, a Seattle nonprofit (also interfaith) founded by Terri under the aegis of the church. Coalition members provide assistance to incarcerated youth. No income is earned by anyone associated with Beguine Again, The Bardo Group, The BeZine or the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition.  All are labors of love.

The BeZine can still be conveniently and easily accessed either directly HERE or through BeguineAgain if you choose to become a member of the community.

Please check out the site. Any questions? Let us know … and do let us know what you think. Please be patient too.  The tech gremlins are still working behind the scenes.

A note on the name: Beguine Again.  The original Beguine community was a Christian lay order in Europe that was active between the 13th and 16th century.  Terri chose the name “Because they worked outside the religious structure and were a safe place for vulnerable people.”

© 2015, article and photograph, Jamie Dedes; Beguine Again logo, copyright Beguine Again