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A Letter from Aurora Levins Morales

Dear Kehilla Community,

A few weeks ago I returned to my homeland, Puerto Rico, for the first time since Hurricane Maria.  As you know from my multiple requests for rides, I have been struggling with the loss of my driving privileges following a seizure, and that started a whole cascade of questions for me about where it makes sense for me to live.  My health and creative processes require the peace and quiet, cleaner air and connection with nature I get from rural living, but it can be very isolating, and Tomales, where I’ve been for the last two years, is VERY white and gentile, with a culture of self-sufficiency and independence that doesn’t work well for a collectively oriented, disabled elder like me.  I need community that is rich in people of color, and far more communally oriented than I’ve had, and I still need for my local humans to be outnumbered by other species.

So I’ve been wrestling with both my seemingly contradictory living needs, and a related question: what do I need in order to best contribute what I can during the critical next decade of human history?

Kehilla is my spiritual home base and will always be central in my life, but what became suddenly, astonishingly, joyfully clear to me on this trip is that the place where I must live, the place that answers my questions, is the land I grew up on in Western Puerto Rico.  It gives me the tropical mountain landscape I know and love best in the world, my highly communal Puerto Rican people, neighbors who knew me as a child, a small local community where I can make a big difference, and still work remotely with my many groupings of people in the US.

What it doesn’t provide is Jewish community of any kind, let alone the wonderful, social justice-oriented community that is Kehilla. For that I will need to travel back to you and to sibling synagogues around the US, to communicate via video calls, and create opportunities for my beloved Jews to come to me, and take part in the restoration of my land from far more than one hurricane.  I hope to build some Kehilla-specific possibilities.

I wanted to let you, my Kehilla, know my news before it’s widely public.

To learn more about my journey:

Much love,

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