Makom Shalom's Book of Forgiveness

We began our High Holyday preparation with a wonderful presentation by poet and scholar, Stacey Robinson. As part of our work together we each wrote our own poem on the subject of return and spiritual healing and formed together Makom’s Book of Forgiveness. Our poems are below:

A few Questions on Repentance

If I ask, may I ask?
If I promise, what then?
What then, if others or not?
What of community, what obligations?
What if I is not we and
we does not include all?


And Again

And again
I stand before you
seeking forgiveness.
And again
It’s often for the same transgressions.
And again
I am  truly, deeply sorry
and feel really bad,
asking forgiveness is easy;
Real change is hard.
So what will be different this year?
May it be different this year.

Asher Levy

Return Me

My God, my soul is barren and empty
I feel you have removed your shelter from me.
Leaving me to wither in the sun
Please return to me
Your presence I what I beg for
Do nt leave me broken and abandoned
My sins are so great
And those of my people even greater
I implore you for forgiveness
Move aside the stain from me
now and from the whole world
Bring a spring of healing to delight my soul
That I may breathe and move
Able to produce the bounty that you designed
Healing me to see myself as capable of change
Return love to my heart.


Oh God, Help Me

Oh God
Please help me to forgive those who have purposefully injured me emotionally and spiritually. Please help me not to carry a grudge against those seeking to destroy my integrity and my very way of life. Please help me understand why others feel the need to destroy my very existence, and help me to get along in the world, doing right in the eyes of God and teachings from early childhood until now.

Help me to thank my teachers and mentors who counsel me in righteous ways, and help me to put forth love, respect and understanding to all I come in contact with.

Linda Touchstone

Help Me to Know

I have done nothing wrong
Certainly I have!
What have I done wrong?
Help me to know
How have I shared in the evils of my community?
Help me to know.
Help me to do the work to figure it out.
Help me to know.
I will work very hard to think and ponder.
Help me to know.


God, I stand before you to ask you to forgive me for placing the image I portray to the world before the person who you created me to be.

I failed in being that authentic self by needing my puffed up ego to be seen. My mask is of a righteous liberal, but I do not use my feet to pray consistently. I buy based on economics versus the earth and others’ livelihoods that ignite humanity on a constant basis. This goes against my fury regarding global scorching.

Help “me” to be “me.”



Deep and open wide
Unearth the hidden pain and joy
While held, not for comfort
but for completeness and connection
To You and to all and to self.

Beyond words and ideas
Into the realm of the spirit
With all souls
And to live there, in paert,
All the time.


I Come to You

I come to you – tired, sick
Asking for forgiveness, for embracing
My sick symptoms, rather than my health
And healthy moments
Letting the negative aspects define my life.
Help me to focus on, and give me energy on the positive.


If Only

I forgive,
I let go.
If only.

Holding on
On hold,
Clinging to my perch.
What else is there?

Forgiving means becoming free.
Free will is where?

I am free,
If only.


Maybe This Time

Looking upon you
With eyes squinty
One more time
The old “give it a try”
Defining this word insanity
Returning again, so am I
Maybe this time…


God of Gates

The road twisted.
The gates clangs
With rusted resistance
While I raced breathless
To reach them
Before they shut.
leaving me breathless
And gasping
On the damned bifurcated

God of Gates
and twists,
of coming and going
lead me to the place
of intimate knowing.
Gone are the gates
And the roads that bend
Into the narrow places
Of emptiness
And captivity.
Set me free
Of my need for gates
And wandering roads
Set me free
So that I may
know you
and in that knowing
I may know myself.

(Stacey Zisook Robinson)