Trisha Arlin

is creating New Liturgy and Kavannot, Sacred Art
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About Trisha Arlin

Thank you so much for your interest!  To purchase my book, PLACE YOURSELF: WORDS OF PRAYER AND INTENTION, or see my online blog, please go to

I am a writer and performer. I was a playwright and screenwriter and then, in 2009, I wrote my first prayer, "Fruit Flies" for a Birkat HaChamma service (the prayers for the sun that are done every 28 years) in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and I became obsessed with the form and its function liturgically and personally . I have been writing prayers, new liturgy and kavannot ever since. Each piece is a holy conversation with the divine, what Alicia Ostriker calls, "The Fierce Mystery", whatever that is meaning for me at any given moment. I have raised enough money to print my first book, “PLACE YOURSELF: Prayers and Words of Intention”, a collection of new liturgy and kavannot published by Dimus Parrhesia Press and hope to have the wherewithal to support myself as I publicize the book, set up readings and teaching as an artist/scholar in residence in Jewish venues and synagogues, and continue to write.

I was the Liturgist-In-Residence during the National Havurah Committee's 2014 Summer Institute and I have served as Scholar-In-Residence, prayer leader, teacher, speaker and reader at synagogues and Jewish venues in Brooklyn, Westchester, New Jersey and Ohio. My work has been published online on, the Open Siddur Project , and at my site, Trisha Arlin: Words of Prayer and Intention as well as anthologies. I share my work online with a Creative Commons license and I am happy that it is used in services and gatherings around the US and Canada and other countries. But I need to pay my bills, I need time to arrange residencies and appearances, prepare a book and most of all, to write and study.  Please help me if you can. 

"Trisha Arlin's liturgies are so fresh you'd think someone just picked them off the vine. They are thoughtful and reverent yet utterly modern, with language that evokes the grit and doubt of the real world. They have the depth of traditional prayer, and, one has the sense of the real internal monologue of a contemporary human being. These prayer-poems are needed as a voice of the times and a signpost on the way to the sacred."--Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, translator of The Romemu Siddur and author of The Book of Earth and Other

"Thanks to Trisha Arlin we observe Rosh Hodesh Elul with prayers and blessings for animals. Her extended blessing focusing on the smallest of animals - the bugs and even smaller - was astonishing: funny, deep, thought-provoking. It connected us all to the Divine in a completely new way." ---Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives

"Trisha Arlin’s prayers create worlds of spiritual space that invoke a worshipful tone. Then they puncture complacency and boldly ask, badger, and provoke. They awaken us. And then they restore the spiritual space, but we’re a bit more comfortable in it because like us, the prayers are faithful and faithless, hopeful and hopeless, serious and playful. The overall affect is a prayer spot wherein moderns who yearn may find comfort, solace, and a smile." --Rabbi Jeff Hoffman, D.H.L., Rabbi-In-Residence and Director of Institutional Assessment, The Academy for Jewish Religion

"In my congregation are published authors and readers of professional quality as well as students and just plain folk. They relish the opportunity to read one of Trisha's kavvanot aloud during services. The rhythms of her poetry awaken our hearts on the High Holy Days and her words, real, alive and down to earth enhance our Shabbat worship experience throughout the rest of the Jewish calendar year."--Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum, Congregation B'nai Harim, Pocono Pines, PA.

"Trisha Arlin's prayer-poems are evocative, moving, and spiritual. I am constantly amazed by their deceptive simplicity, which opens like a flower unfolding to reveal color upon color, each richer than the last."--Rabbi Jennifer Singer,Spiritual Leader, Congregation Kol HaNeshama, Board Member, ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal

 "Love this [Rosh Hashana Amidah] and am sharing it again to Kol Hai this year." ---Shir Yaakov Feit, Aleph Rabbinic Student, Spiritual Leader, Kol Hai, New Paltz NY 

  I know how to write words that are meant to be spoken out loud and heard in real time: I received a BA in Theater from Antioch College in 1975 and MFA in Film (Screenwriting) in 1997 from Columbia University School of the Arts. But I realized I needed to know more about Judaism if I wanted to add depth and take on tradition. So, in 2009/2010, I was an Arts Fellow at the Drisha Institute; in 2011, I graduated from the sixth cohort of the Davennen Leadership Training Institute (DLTI); and in 2012 I became a part-time second career rabbinic student at the Academy of Jewish Religion (AJR). Traditionally, rabbinic students go to seminary to be pulpit rabbis but I went to become a Sacred Artist. A sample is here, something written for Yom Kippur, or see the video below, which is a piece I wrote for the seder. 


© 2017 Trisha Arlin

Inside the Holy of Holies, I see
An empty room.
There is a roof on top of four walls
And a door but no windows.
We declare the inside, divine
And the outside, mundane.
This is arbitrary but okay with me,
I like holy separation.

Inside the Holy of Holies, I see
God speaks to me and tells me
Of God's disappointment with all my mistakes.
I apologize and promise to do better.
We both know this is unlikely but God appreciates the sentiment.
This is great for me,
I have faith in the rituals.

Inside the Holy of Holies, I see
I see racism, murder, ethnic cleansing,
Misogyny, homo- and transphobia,
Rape, fascism, privilege,
Lies, manipulation, collusion.
If this is God,
I give up.

Inside the Holy of Holies I see
People rise up, demanding action.
Investigators and organizers reject cynicism and despair.
We light candles, pray and make change.
Everyone votes and democracy rules.
God manifests
And I rejoice.

Inside the Holy of Holies, I see
The Jewish people.
Our stories create me,
Our culture animates me,
Our society challenges me,
Our past scars me.
I couldn't escape them if I tried.
Could be worse.

Inside the Holy of Holies, I see
Years of therapy allow me to make
An honest evaulation
Of who and what I am.
I criticize myself appropriately.
I honor self-awareness,
Anything else is boring.

Inside the Holy of Holies, I see
The Infinite.
I meditate on the Ruach Ha Olam
And each breath is a prayer.
I feel the Presence,
I am unaware of the past and unworried about the future.
It is amazing.
I give thanks.

Inside the Holy of Holies, I see
The God I need to see.
Today, God is ancient wishful thinking.
And tomorrow, Aveinu Malkeinu, Who will make miracles.
Next week, I ponder the Fierce Mystery,
And the week after, I know the One-ness that is everywhere in all things.
Here I am,
In the Holy Of Holies.

$286 of $500 per month
When I earn 500 a month I will work on publishing my work, setting up a new website, setting up readings, workshops and residencies.
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