Debra Darvick

Debra Darvick is the author of This Jewish Life, Stories of Discovery, Connection and Joy. Her essays on parenting, family life and spiritual matters, have appeared in over a dozen anthologies and top-flight mainstream and Jewish presses including Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, Moment, Hadassah and the Forward. Readers who enjoy her weekly essays at DebraDarvick.com have come to count on Debra's lyrical and perceptive observations about life, nature, relationships, and more.

For information about This Jewish Life, click here.

Articles by Debra Darvick

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Debra Darvick: Heart to Heart to Heart

Monday June 03, 2013
**W** hile hiking one day, I came across three hearts, a trio of metaphorical messages courtesy of Mother Nature.

Debra Darvick: When Nature's the Classroom, Trees Are the Teachers

Monday June 03, 2013
We saw quite a few self-hugging trees as we hiked the trails in Sedona a few months back. The first words that sprang to mind when I saw this particular one was a public service bumper sticker from the 1970”²s asking, Have you hugged your kids today?

Debra Darvick: Discovering New Authors

Monday June 03, 2013
Debra shares some new authors she's discovered in these brief reviews.

Debra Darvick: Hearing Voices, Past and Present

Monday June 03, 2013
There is a push in some corners away from organized religion. Such advocates say we can find our own paths to spiritual meaning at our own pace, in places of our own choosing. It’s the American way they say, evoking the cowboy on the range. This Marlboro Man analogy ignores the other part of the myth ”” cowboys gathered around a campfire, seeking out human connection after a day spent solely in equine company.

Debra Darvick: Kristine Barnett's Memoir, The Spark

Monday June 03, 2013
The Spark is the story of an ordinary/ extraordinary mom whose son was diagnosed with autism and who was determined bring her kid out of its grip.

Debra Darvick: Tisha B'Av: The Story of the Impossible

Monday June 03, 2013
Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning that falls during the summer, marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. This year it begins Monday evening, July 15, and concludes sunset on Tuesday, July 16. I have attended services sporadically, more out of a sense of responsibility than any feeling of true mourning. How do I mourn something absent from Jewish experience for nearly two millennia?

Debra Darvick: Nuit Blanche

Monday June 03, 2013
Here I am again at 4 AM. Awake. Sleepless. Torn between getting up and using this extra time in some productive way, and turning over and courting Morpheus. I read somewhere that waking up at 4 AM (as opposed to 2 AM or 5 AM) signifies deep sadness and mourning.

Debra Darvick: The Great Lily Caper

Monday June 03, 2013
The lilies were mere days from opening. Six stalks heavy with close to three dozen blossoms, each blossom swaddled within its own petals. In full bloom they would soon measure five to six inches in circumference, bright white petals outlined in deep pink. I went out to check on them yesterday and they were gone. Every. Last. One. Vanished. -

Debra Darvick: Voices & Visions: Art Inspired by Jewish Wisdom

Monday June 03, 2013
Last Saturday in synagogue, instead of a sermon, we had a fabulous discussion inspired by the Voices & Visionsâ„¢ project, an exhibit sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Voices & Visionsâ„¢ is about art, about powerful messages, about combining them into posters, about starting conversations, about continuing the Jewish journey.

Debra Darvick: My Dream Comes True: I'm an Advice Columnist Too!

Monday June 03, 2013
I”˜ve had a lifelong passion for advice columnists, starting with Dear Abby when I was about nine or ten. This was my after-school routine: get home at three-thirty; grab the pertinent section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; head for my room where I’d sprawl on my floor and pore over the day’s crop of troubles. - See more at: http://www.readthespirit.com/debra-darvick/#sthash.aHge088e.dpuf

Debra Darvick: His Lens/My Pen: The Pull of Shadow and Surf

Monday June 03, 2013
This week I’m introducing a new feature. I’ve long wanted to collaborate with my husband in a creative endeavor, and since he’s the one with the camera and I’m the one with the pen as it were, His Lens/My Pen seems to be the natural intersection.

Debra Darvick: A Review of 'The Colored Car'

Monday June 03, 2013
Merely typing these three words””The Colored Car””makes me cringe. Compressed into those four syllables is an arc of our country’s history run through with inhumanity, pain, bigotry, humiliation. It is an apt title, the only title really, for Jean Alicia Elster’s new novel for ages 10 and up.

Debra Darvick: A Review of The End of Your Life Book Club

Monday June 03, 2013
Will Schwalbe has written a beautiful book. When his mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he accompanied her to her treatments. Over the course of those long afternoons in waiting rooms and treatment rooms, they discussed the books they were reading. Before they knew it, they had formed an ad hoc two member book club.

Debra Darvick: Debra Darvick: Heirlooms of Thoreau, Whitman, Seurat and …

Monday June 03, 2013
When I was 11, my mother taught me how to embroider, giving me a kit that featured a quote by Thoreau printed on a piece of off-white linen. No pioneer alphabet samplers for my literary mother. Only Thoreau would do.

Debra Darvick: His Lens My Pen: Staying Calm, Serene and Unruffled

Monday June 03, 2013
This is the second in a monthly series of a new feature called His Lens/My Pen, a collaboration with my husband. He’s the one with the camera; I’m the one with the pen as it were.

Debra Darvick: Home Making: The sisterhood of the traveling remnant

Monday June 03, 2013
For nearly thirty years, my mother, sister, and I circulated among us a remnant of printed linen that began life as full-length tie backs at my bedroom windows. Today, even in its two-yard microcosm, the fabric radiates elegance.

Debra Darvick: His Lens/My Pen: A Perspective on Truth

Monday June 03, 2013
His Lens/My Pen endeavor is a creative collaboration between my photographer husband (the lens) and your truly as the pen. This is the third image in the series, and our teaming up is the fulfillment of a long-held dream.

Debra Darvick: Show and Tell Is for Grownups Too!

Monday June 03, 2013
A week or so ago I had the pleasure of participating in a program at the Northville First United Methodist Church sponsored by the Read The Spirit team on our shared American values.

Debra Darvick: Thanksgivukkah, 5774

Monday June 03, 2013
When I first heard of the great cosmic calendrical concurrence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, I admit I didn’t give it much thought other than a cursory, Boy it’s coming early this year.

Debra Darvick: His Lens/My Pen: Within a Bamboo Forest

Monday June 03, 2013
This is the fourth in a monthly series of a new feature called His Lens/My Pen, a collaboration with my husband. He’s the one with the camera; I’m the one with the pen as it were. Ergo His Lens/My Pen. - See more at: http://www.readthespirit.com/debra-darvick/#sthash.2qB6Dzuq.dpuf

Debra Darvick: Blazing Sechel! Debra Darvick welcomes Rabbi Harvey of the Wild West!

Monday June 03, 2013
Sheinkin combined his two childhood literary passions—a book called 101 Jewish Stories and a collection of Wild West adventures—into the persona of Rabbi Harvey. Rabbi Harvey keeps the peace, settles disputes and outsmarts the bad guys in the fictional frontier town of Elk Spring, high in the Colorado mountains.

Debra Darvick: To Sit and Tile a While

Monday June 03, 2013
I’ve gone only twice, but I’m beginning to love those Wednesday mornings. It’s a perfect loop: artistic creativity, getting to know an ever-expanding circle of women, an ample nosh, and best of all the knowledge that each of our creations will be sold to help those in need. The site of this wonderful Mobius strip of goodness is the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkley, Michigan.

Debra Darvick: Ode to a Shattered Pomegranate

Monday June 03, 2013
I have a keen sense of hearing and like nothing better than to be in a completely silent house. Football blaring on the TV instantly drains me of energy as I try to tune it out. There are many sounds that delight me as well, which brings me  to last weekend’s cosmic joke.

Debra Darvick: Religion: Because Thinking Is Hard?

Monday June 03, 2013
This bumper sticker made my blood boil. The snootiness of it, the smug denigration, the car owner’s assumption that anyone who is religiously engaged and strives to have a relationship with…dare I use the G-word?…is intellectually vacant.

Debra Darvick: Blessing Our Children: 'May You Be Like...'

Monday June 03, 2013
For going on nearly three decades now, as part of our family’s Friday evening Shabbat dinner ritual, my husband and I have blessed our children.

Debra Darvick: Mom’s 10 Commandments of Health: A One-Act Play

Monday June 03, 2013
I originally wrote Mom’s 10 Commandments of Health for my young adult children. I wanted to impress upon them that they were now the stewards of their own health.

Debra Darvick: Looking Ahead to Pesach, Passover

Monday June 03, 2013
This spring, Passover begins on the evening of Monday April 14 and I’m sharing the text of my Passover overview as a sample from my book.

Debra Darvick: The Sounds of Grief and Joy

Monday June 03, 2013
It’s been a tumultuous roller coaster of a month. The bare bones short story is this: My mother died on March 9. Our son was married on March 22. So much has happened in the four weeks since her death that I cannot even begin to process it all. I have simply experienced whatever the day called from me to experience: grief, relief, joy, pride, exultation, exhaustion.

Debra Darvick: The Best Words: "I Had a Mother Who Read to Me..."

Monday June 03, 2013
I was shopping for baby gifts at Barnes & Noble last week””and headed straight to the children’s section to revel in picture books. Always my favorite part of the book store; always brings out my inner child.

Debra Darvick: Hours of Devotion

Monday June 03, 2013
A poet and book editor, Dinah Berland serendipitously happened upon a book of women’s prayers (tkhines) written by Fanny Neuda (1819- 1894). This book, Hours of Devotion, was the first Jewish prayer book for all occasions written by a woman for women.

Debra Darvick: Speaking at the Catholic Information Center

Monday June 03, 2013
Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids. Nu? What’s a girl like me doing speaking at the CIC?

Debra Darvick: Like Water from the Rock

Monday June 03, 2013
The metaphor between water and Torah is strong. Our thrice-weekly reading is based on the teaching that since our physical body cannot go more than three days without water, our soul cannot go more than three days without Torah.

Debra Darvick reviews Robert J. Wicks’ book ”˜Perspective’

Monday June 03, 2013
I thought of an old entry in my journal when Robert J. Wicks’ book 'Perspective: The Calm Within the Storm' came my way. Instead of time and distance, Wicks guides readers to perspective by 'improv[ing] our sense of reality and acceptance of it.'

Debra Darvick: Go See 'Boyhood'!

Monday June 03, 2013
Richard Linklater filmed Boyhood over 12 years, capturing actor Ellar Coltrane’s yearly development from childhood to adulthood. The movie was mesmerizing.

Debra Darvick: ”˜Stay on the Trail': Words of courage from Chicken Point

Monday June 03, 2013
This morning we hiked the Little Horse Trail, which leads to the Chicken Point overlook. Over the centuries, the wind has scoured the surface of the formations into undulating waves of red rock. Posted by the crest of the trail was this sign that read 'Healing in Progress. Please stay on trail. Thank you.'

Debra Darvick: Time to Fill Those Holes!

Monday June 03, 2013
I love Ruth Kraus’ book A Hole is to Dig. It was one of the early ones I read to Elliot and Emma when they were little. In this sweet and simply illustrated book, holes are for digging, looking through, stepping into and hiding things in. Between the covers of A Hole is to Dig, life is complete and everything fits: doors are for shutting and opening, the world is so you have something to stand on.