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Shalom, Salaam, Shanti, Peace holy friends

Welcome to Rabbi Chava Bahle's home page. May the words and ideas on this page be a blessing!

Rabbi Chava lives in rural northern Michigan, near Traverse City, and travels the country to inspire people of all faiths. She is an ordained rabbi in Jewish Renewal, and an ordained Maggid, a Jewish inspirational preacher and story teller.

Cherry Festival 2016 Blessing

This year marks the first time a rabbi has been invited to do this great task – making it our first Cherry JEWbilee!

Whatever the faiths you have known or the flags of your heritage, you are welcome here. Whether you wear a yarmulke, a hijab, a baseball cap, a hoodie or the scarf of one who has been treated for cancer and your hair has fallen out, you are welcome here.

Whether you ambled or rolled or strolled in, whether your first language is English, ASL, Arabic, or Spanish, whatever the color of your skin, you are welcome here, because it is the content of your character that makes you part of "We are Traverse City."

Whether you are red or blue or rainbow, whether you stand remembering Pulse, you are welcome here.

Whether you have come to cheer the talent of the blue angel pilots, or to remember Blue Angel pilot Jeff Kuss who downed his plane rather than eject to save himself and thereby saved bystanders, or whether you are a veteran with PTSD for whom the booming sound of these planes causes flashbacks and trauma and celebrate war machinery, and so you protest, you are welcome here.

I want to invite you, holy friends, into a radical experiment – and I do not mean how surprisingly amazing it is to watch really good cherry pit spitting; no, a different radical experiment.

Let’s live for the one week of Cherry Festival as if we were in a society of lovingkindness, helping strangers and taking responsibility for ourselves and things around us for mother earth.

If you are local and the traffic aggravates you, leave 5 minutes early and remember that these fortunate folks are on vacation and have a chance to slow the pace of their lives and touch into some sanity. You give them a gift with your patience.

If you are a guest in our home and feel like driving slowly so you can look around, that’s great, let the locals who need to get to work pass you. Pull over and consider it a sacred pause. This is an act of kindness you can do while you are in our home.

Pick up a piece of trash that isn’t yours because it is the right thing to do in community.

Remember that folks who are differently abled move at different speeds and scooters do not have brakes.

Stop to ask if someone needs a little extra help – crossing the parkway with kids, someone who needs some cool water – let’s live it for one week as if we are our best selves and see what the heck happens.

Only a fringe few really enjoy being angry. The rest of us want understanding, a shared way forward, and to make everyone’s lives a little better, just like we want for ourselves.

Above all holy friends, let’s just slow down and live into our highest selves, our best values this week. We are here to have fun, to enjoy our freedom, to celebrate the beauty of Mother earth. to be with family and friends.

Kindness begets kindness, patience begets patience, warmth begets warmth.

What can we do for one week? Let the fruit of this festival be not consumerism but the creation of a microculture wherein we remind ourselves and each other what this country is really about: loving our neighbors as ourselves.

As this cherry festival begins, let us commit to being our best selves.

(sung) We would be one in building for tomorrow
A nobler world than we have known today.
We would be one in searching for that meaning
Which binds our hearts and points us on our way.
As one, we pledge ourselves to greater service,
With love and justice, strive to make us free. (Music: Sebelius; Words: Samuel Anthony Wright)