Celebrating Aging

The author shares the process of using Jewish texts and customs to celebrate a new stage of life.

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God made covenants with Abraham and made promises to Sarah. I elected to make a pledge in memory of the promises made to Sarah. I offered my community a Beth Chayim Chadashim [the name of my synagogue] grant to anyone who would continue my work in feminist Judaism.

I ended the ritual with the planting of a tree. Trees were a significant spiritual symbol for our ancestors: Sarah lived in elonei mamre, a grove of sacred terebinths at Mamre; Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under an oak in Beth El; Abraham planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheva, etc.

Trees symbolized the connection between the depths of the earth, where life is quickened, and the canopy above, where life becomes visible. I brought a young tree (in a pot) to temple and symbolically planted it with handfuls of earth and enjoined those who wished to partake in the planting.

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Savina J. Teubal

Savina J. Teubal (1926-2005) was the author of the books Sarah the Priestess: The First Matriarch of Genesis and Ancient Sisterhood: The Lost Traditions of Hagar and Sarah, as well as many essays and articles about biblical characters and eldering rituals.