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The TBE Blog

Each week as Shabbat begins, we’re asking a member of the TBE community to share a photo that represents shalom to them. Today, Rabbi Vanessa Harper shares a Shabbat/Shalom reflection:

I was finally able to visit my sister in Portland, OR last month (a sense of shalom in and of itself!), and as part of the trip, we went to the city’s beautiful Japanese Garden. Founded in the wake of WWII, the Japanese Garden is a space designed to promote peace, healing, and wholeness. Immersed in the harmoniously balanced elements of nature (stone, plants, and water) throughout the garden, which compliment the surrounding landscape of mountains and forests, you can feel the rest of the world slipping away, time slowing down, stress lifting off of your shoulders. This photo is of one of my favorite spots in the garden (if you look closely, you can see huge koi in the pond!)—I felt like I could sit in this spot forever, where every element, including my own body, was exactly where it was meant to be. For me, this environment, and the emotions it engendered, profoundly embodied shalom.