I felt such stress about the things I’d stress,
Since I know less than them about the minds
Of kids. Would Freud or Erickson be best
To read, or maybe what some research study finds?
I puzzled over children’s books whose God
Is such a cozy, cuddly teddy bear,
It is as if no bears live in the woods,
And nothing She creates could conjure fear.
Then, wearied by my work, I walked outside
To wander through the red and yellow leaves
That waved at me with life just as they died.
They told the setting sun, “It’s time to move
This man to wonder, like a little boy
Who kicks the autumn piles with wildest joy.”
Dan Ornstein is rabbi of Congregation Ohav Shalom and a writer living with his family in Albany, NY. He blogs at the Times of Israel and contributes essays at WAMC Northeast Public Radio. He has published poetry in the Jewish Forward and online at the Jewish Literary Journal, as well as essays in Conservative Judaism. He writes for the forthcoming Mesorah Matrix book series on Judaism from New Paradigm Matrix Publishing.