Julie Leavitt   


True Refuge

“It is something that is very close to you.  It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can keep it.”
 -Nitzavim 30:14

It is in my mouth
between my teeth
waiting on my tongue,
for You.

It is in my heart
hidden under skin
and bone revealed
in drumbeats and murmurs,
for You.

Today I am chosen 
to choose life:
When my daughter balances on the edge of a razor,
When my uncle stares at a wall and sees a window of birds,
When a surgeon’s knife cuts into my neighbor’s brain,
When my sister loses her way,
When my house is rubble 
and my friend helps
me carry out each rock
and stone,
I seek You.

Tell me, what will happen to the refugees?
Will you give them life or death?
Will you choose them,
so they can choose you,
and tell stories
like me, saying:

My mother was a refugee.
My grandmother was a refugee.
My great-grandmother lost refuge after
She brought me out,
so I could choose
to remember her
in my mouth
in my heart
where she lives today
still teaching
about love.


Julie Leavitt is a body-centered spiritual director and psychotherapist, a modern dancer and dance movement therapist. She loves learning from Jewish wisdom teachings and exploring these amazing words and images through dance and writing.