This blog is a model of spiritual blogging to accompany the book PHOTOGRAPH GOD: CREATING A SPIRITUAL BLOG OF YOUR LIFE by Mel Alexenberg. The book explores the interface between the biblical narrative, the wisdom of kabbalah, and digital technologies. It demonstrates how to create a blog by photographing God revealed in everyday life while crafting a dialogue between the blogger’s story and the biblical story.
Beginning In the Beginning
Artists Mel and Miriam Alexenberg celebrated their 52nd year of marriage by collaborating on the "Torah Tweets" blogart project. During each of the 52 weeks of their 52nd year, they posted six photographs reflecting their life together with a tweet text that relates the weekly Torah reading to their lives.
Unlike the biblical narrative that begins “In the Beginning,” a blog begins at the end. A blog displays its narrative in reverse chronological order with the most recent post appearing first. This blog was created to reverse the order of the blog posts in the “Torah Tweets” blog to begin in the beginning.
The Alexenbergs invite other couples, individuals, and families to join them celebrating their lives through creating their own spiritual blog.
PHOTOGRAPH GOD: CREATING A SPIRITUAL BLOG OF YOUR LIFE teaches how to
Bible blog your life by linking your story to the Bible’s story.
Bible blogging invites you to discover creative ways that your
narrative relates to the biblical narrative.It presents opportunities to use your imagination for discovering how
the biblical narrative provides fresh insights for seeing the spiritual
dimensions of your story-line.
Seeing your life as a narrative gives meaning to
it.A blog is a web log that can help
you discern the significance of events in your life by joining them together in
a narrative sequence.You can make spiritual
sense of your life by creating a blog that tells your story through sequences
of photographs in dialogue with creative texts inspired by biblical
The biblical narrative is a rich and multidimensional look at
an ancient world that is amazingly accessible to the contemporary reader.It brings to life fascinating people and
their complex interactions that have been the source of enchantment for readers
from generation to generation for thousands of years.
Although the Bible focuses on a particular family, nation,
time, and place, it tells stories that resonate in the minds and hearts of
people from diverse cultures through translations from the original Hebrew into
hundreds of languages.But it is more
than a storybook.It uses its stories to
help each of us come to see humanity in its multifaceted relationships to God,
spirituality, and morality. To Bible blog your life, you need to turn biblical stories
into mirrors in which you can see yourself.
Our grandson at the Sea of Galilee
"From generation to generation, they will dwell in the Land of Israel where the wilderness will rejoice over them, the desert will be glad and blossom like a lily. Her wilderness will be made like Eden and her desert like a divine garden. Joy and gladness will be found there, thanksgiving and the sound of music." (Isaiah 35:1, 51:3)
Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace,
and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (Genesis
Miriam was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, the former Dutch
colony north of the Amazon jungle on the South American coast.
She loved to be the first to walk on the freshly-raked sand
on the floor of the Paramaribo synagogue where her father read the Torah.
Her family made aliyah [return to the Jewish homeland
in the Land of Israel] in 1949.
Six decades later, her synagogue made aliyah and was
reconstructed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Mel was born in the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital (now Interfaith
Hospital) and grew up in Queens.
He celebrated his bar mitzvah at his Uncle Morris’ shul on
Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn (now a Pakistani mosque).
We were married at a Jewish wedding hall on Eastern Parkway
in Brooklyn (now an African-America Baptist church).
God said to Abram, “Raise your eyes and look out from
where you are: northward, southward, eastward and westward.For all the land that you see, I will give to
you and to your offspring forever.”(Genesis 13:14, 15)
After being married for 10 years, we made aliyah with
our children Iyrit, Ari and Ron to a two-room house in an orange grove in
Each morning, a milkman on a donkey cart delivered
milk.The donkey was named Simha because
he was born on the Simhat Torah holiday.
From Ra’anana in the west, we moved to Mount Carmel in the
north, to Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi in the east, and to Yeroham in the south.
Our son Moshe Yehuda was born in Yeroham where our son Ron
continues to live with his wife and six children.
Ten years ago, we moved to an apartment in Petah Tikva with
a porch facing orange groves as far as the eye can see.
All the orange groves are now gone.New buildings are rising as far as the eye
Rebecca came out carrying a jug on her shoulder.When she went down to the well and drew
water, I said to her, “Please give me a drink.”She hurried and lowered her jug and said, “Drink, and I will also water
your camels.” (Genesis 24:45)
This week’s posting from the shores of the Sea of Galilee is
about women, water and hesed (loving kindness), both human and divine.
On Shabbat, we heard “Hayay Sarah,” the only Torah portion
named for a woman, read from a Torah scroll in Casa Donna Gracia in Tiberius.
We stayed at a hotel built around a museum honoring Donna
Gracia, a pioneering Zionist woman who convinced the Sultan to grant her
Rebecca’s water jug linked itself to Donna Gracia’s 500th
birthday, Miriam’s well, and religious Zionist women studying the arts.
Rabbi Isaac Luria taught that after moving through the
desert with the Israelites, Miriam’s well ended up under the Sea of Galilee.
Rebecca’s hesed linked itself to divine hesed
today where Miriam’s well below joins rain from above to fill Israel’s primary
Make the wind blow and the rain descend
(recited in morning, afternoon and evening prayers during Israel’s wet winter)
Dark rain clouds hovered as we descended to Tiberius to
spend Shabbat with faculty of Emuna College where Mel heads the School of the
As we checked into Casa Donna Gracia, we were greeted by a
mannequin representing Donna Gracia who preceded Herzl by four centuries.
With the water level of the Sea dangerously low, we were
disappointed that the rain clouds dissipated as we walked to the waterfront.
On Sunday, we drove to the east side of the Sea where egrets
strolled between shells and stones at the water’s edge.
Our oldest grandson Or photographed his youngest brother
Razel reaching out for the surf during their summer trip to the Sea of Galilee.