Our Year of Wondrous Noticing

Brianna Caplan Sayres

About Brianna Caplan Sayres

I am a children’s book author, editor and publisher. I am proud to be the founder of Intergalactic Afikoman, a new publisher of Jewish children’s books, and I am currently hard at work researching and writing Fighting Climate Change is a Mitzvah, a book featuring wonderful young Jewish climate activists and showing the connection between their Judaism and their activism. I am also a proud Jewish educator and was honored to receive the 2016 Seattle Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.As part of my research for my upcoming Jewish climate change book, I have been taking many classes on Judaism related to nature and Shmita. I am grateful for the inspiring courses I have taken in recent months with teachers including Rabbi Katy Allen, Rabbi Josh Briendel, Rabbi Natan Margalit, Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, Dr. Jeremy Benstein and Justin Goldstein. I am also incredibly inspired by my amazing friend, Deirdre Gabbay, founder of Shmita Project Northwest, and all the wonderful Shmita speakers she has brought to our community.

About Our Year of Wondrous Noticing

This poem was especially inspired by the class I took with Rabbi Katy Allen and Rabbi Josh Briendel called “Wondrous Connecting” and the class I took with Rabbi Natan Margalit and Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife called “Shmitta: A Year of Letting Go”. In “Wondrous Connecting”, I was inspired to slow down and take time to notice the beautiful natural world around me. In “Shmitta: A Year of Letting Go,” we took time to think and write and imagine what our upcoming Shmita year could look like. The concept of the Shmita year being “a year of letting go” was very inspiring to me.This poem began as a short response during class in “Shmitta: A Year of Letting Go”. After class, I kept on writing and revising. I found all that I had learned about Shmita over the past several months spilling onto the paper, integrating itself into my poem. And I found myself thinking about what Shmita could mean for me in the year ahead…