August 1–Return Again

With today’s post, we begin a new calendar year at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett.  For the 2016-2017 Calendar Year, our themes are actually the title of songs and hymns that we love to sing and find inspiring, sources of wisdom, and which challenge us as we each walk our journeys in search of truth and meaning.  The theme for the month of August is “Return Again.”  This short, almost chant like hymn was written by the “singing Rabbi,” Reb Schlomo Carlebach.  Carlebach was born in Berlin in 1925.  His father who was also a Hasidic rabbi was able to escape with the family to Lithuania and then to New York in 1939 as the Holocaust was beginning.  After the War, Carlebach is credited with bringing a renewal of Judaism through his songs.  You can read more about his life here.

Our Unitarian Universalist resources note that this song “comes from a musical village that (Carlebach) founded in Israel. It is the birthplace of many Jewish songs enjoyed around the world. The Hebrew word “tshuva,” often translated as repentance during Yom Kippur, literally means “return.” This has a deeply spiritual sense of coming back to the source of our being to re-establish right relationship with yourself and others.

Return again, return again
Return to the home of your soul
Return again, return again
Return to the home of your soul
Return to who you are
Return to what you are
Return to where you are
Born and reborn again
Born and reborn again

Here is Reb Schlomo Carlebach performing the song in both Hebrew and English.

Here you can listen to the choir of Nashua Unitarian Universalist congregation in New Hampshire sing Return Again.  You may note that the UU hymn version has replaced the word “land” with “home.”

As we move through the days of August, let us consider what the “home of our souls” might be. That can be a powerful thing to know.

Bob Patrick

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