Jewish Holidays

A Hanukkah Prayer of Lights

By: 
Rabbi Warren Stone

Hanukkah Prayer for Religious Freedom

Source of Creation and Life of the Universe 
We gather together on Hanukkah
As Jews of conscience
with a deep spiritual bond to the lights of freedom.

We are grateful for the inner might of the Maccabees
Who fought to reclaim a Jerusalem in despair 
And rekindle the lights of human freedom.

Freedom has many faces: 
Freedom from war and conflict or threats of terror
Freedom to have a secure home
Freedom from hunger, poverty and despair.

Freedom is deeply personal as well:
Freedom to express one’s gender identity without fear
Freedom to express one’s racial identity without fear
Freedom to make choices about of life and deepest beliefs
Freedom to live our faith in all of its beauty
without negating anyone else’s.

Our Hanukkah menorah with its eight branches and
Kindling light
Remind us of the diversity on our Earth
Bound together with a branch of Oneness.
It is a reminder that we are interconnected as a
Global Community.

We are diverse yet equal in our world: Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Hindi,
Buddhist, Sikh, and Humanist.

At times of deep darkness instead of walking in fear
Let us kindle Godly lights
Lights within and lights beyond
And let us increase these lights each day
To light the way for All. 

Rabbi Warren Stone serves Temple Emanuel.

Unless You Know: A Poem for Yom HaShoah

By: 
Rachel Lipetz MacAulay

Concentration Camp Memorial

Unless you know
what it is to look
at black & white proof
at lambs led to slaughter
at herds of the lost
at ghosts of a people
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
the deluge of tears
for strangers not touched
for family not met
for babies not kissed
for laughter not born
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
a childhood full
of ghosts at the table
of monsters in shadows
of stories of suffering
of prayers said in vain
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
that your people lie still
in piles of teeth
in hills of thrown shoes
in stubs of lit candles
in graves long forgotten
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
that guilt is ingrained
that grief never ends
that hate comes in waves
that life carries pain

Do not tell me you know
what it is that I feel
unless you know they were yours
and know they are you

 

©2016 Rachel L. MacAulay All Rights Reserved

Rachel Lipetz MacAulay is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, social media manager, and project manager. She blogs at Challa and Haggis.

Passover Evening Blessings: Kiddush - Blessing over the Wine, Weekday Version

Sederplate.jpg

Blessing over the wine for the festival of Passover

Hebrew text for the blessing over the wine for the Festival of Passover.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher bachar banu mikol am v'rom'manu mikol lashon v'kid'shanu b'mitzvotav. Vatiten lanu Adonai Eloheinu b'ahavah moadim l'simchah chagim uz'manim l'sason et yom chag hamatzot hazeh z'man cheiruteinu mikra kodesh zeicher litziat Mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v'otanu kidashta mikol haamim umoadei kodsh'cha b'simchah uv'sason hinchaltanu.

Baruch atah Adonai, m'kadeish Yisrael v'hazmanim.

Blessed are You, Our God, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Bessed are You, Our God, Ruler of the world, You have chosen us from all peoples, exalting us and sanctifying us with mitzvot. In Your love, Our God, You have given us feasts of gladness and seasons of joy; this festival of matzot, season of our freedom, a holy commemoration, a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt. God, You have chosen us from all peoples, consecrating us to your service, giving us the Festivals, a time of gladness and joy.

Blessed are You, who sanctifies our people Israel, and the Festivals.

Shehecheyanu

We recite the Shehecheyanu, thanking God for allowing us to reach this day.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

Passover Evening Blessings: Kiddush - Blessing over the Wine, Shabbat Version

Festival Kiddush

seder.jpg

Blessing over the wine for the festival of Passover when the seder falls on Friday night.  The Shehecheyanu (see below)  is recited after the kiddush, immediately before drinking the wine.

(See below for the order of the blessings when the seder falls on Saturday evening.)

Hebrew text for the blessing over the wine for the Festival of Passover when the first seder falls on Friday night

Vay'hi erev bay'hi voker yom hashishi. Vay'chulu hashamayim v'haaretz v'chol tz'vaam. Vay'chal Elohim bayom hash'vi-i m'lachto asher asah. Vayishbot bayom hash'vi-i mikol m'lachto asher asah. Vay'varech Elohim et yom hash'vi-i vay'kadeish oto ki vo shavat mikol v'lachto asher bara Elohim laasot.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, borei pr'ri hagafen.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher bachar banu mikol am v'rom'manu mikol lashon v'kid'shanu b'mitzvotav. Vatiten lanu Adonai Eloheinu b'ahavah Shabbatot lim'nuchah u moadim l'simchah chagim uz'manim l'sason et yom haShabbat hazeh v'et yom chag hamatzot hazeh z'man cheiruteinu b'ahavah mikra kodesh zeicher litziat Mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v'otanu kidashta mikol haamim v'Shabbat umoadei kodsh'cah b'ahavah uv'ratzon b'simchah uv'sason hinchaltanu.

Baruch atah Adonai, m'kadeish haShabbat v'Yisrael v'hazmanim.

And it was evening, and it was morning, the sixth day. Now the whole universe—sky, earth, and all their array—was completed. God completed the work of creation on the seventh day and rested, for all the work was completed. Then God blessed the seventh day and called it holy, for God rested on that day, having completed the work of creation. (Genesis 1:31-2:3)

Blessed are You, Our God, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Bessed are You, Our God, Ruler of the world, You have chosen us from all peoples, exalting us and sanctifying us with mitzvot. In Your love, Our God, You have given us Sabbaths of rest, feasts of gladness and seasons of joy; this Shabbat day and this festival of matzot, season of our freedom, in love, a holy commemoration, a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt. God, You have chosen us from all peoples, consecrating us to your service, giving us the Sabbath, a sign of your love and favor and the Festivals, a time of gladness and joy.

Blessed are You, who sanctifies Shabbat, our people Israel, and the Festivals.

Shehecheyanu

We recite the Shehecheyanu, thanking God for allowing us to reach this day.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

A Prayer for the Jewish New Year

By: 
Rabbi John L. Rosove

Apples, Honey, and Pomegranates for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah

May we hold lovingly in our thoughts / those who suffer from tyranny, subjection, cruelty, and injustice, / and work every day towards the alleviation of their suffering.

May we recognize our solidarity / with the stranger, outcast, downtrodden, abused, and deprived, / that no human being be treated as "other," / that our common humanity weaves us together / in one fabric of mutuality, / one garment of destiny.

May we pursue the Biblical prophet's vision of peace, / that we might live harmoniously with each other / and side by side, / respecting differences, / cherishing diversity, / with no one exploiting the weak, / each living without fear of the other, / each revering Divinity in every human soul.

May we struggle against institutional injustice, / free those from oppression and contempt, / act with purity of heart and mind, / despising none, defrauding none, hating none, / cherishing all, honoring every child of God, every creature of the earth.

May the Jewish people, the state of Israel, and all peoples / know peace in this New Year, / And may we nurture kindness and love everywhere.

Rosh HaShanah Evening Blessings: Kiddush - Blessing over the Wine

Kiddush

Blessing over the wine and sanctification of the day. 

Hebrew Text for the Blessing over the Wine on the Evening of Rosh HaShanah

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher bachar banu mikol-am, v’rom’manu mikol-lashon, kid'shanu b'mitzvotav. Va-titen-lanu Adonai Eloheinu, b’ahavah et-yom ha-zikaron ha-zeh, yom T’ruah, mikrah kodesh, zacher li-tzi-at Mitrayim. Ki vanu vacharta, v'otanu kidashta, mikol haamim, ud’vrachah emet v’kayam la-ad. Baruch atah, Adonai, Melech al kol ha-aretz, mikadesh Yisrael v’yom hazikaron.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has chosen us from all the peoples, hallowing us with mitzvot. In Your love, Adonai our God, You have given us this Day of Remembrance, to hear the sound of the Shofar, to unite in worship, and to recall the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us from all the peoples, consecrating us to Your service, and Your word is truth eternal. Praised is the Sovereign God, Sovereign of all the world, who hallows the House of Israel and the Day of Remembrance.


 

Shehecheyanu

Thanking God for allowing us to reach this day.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

Psalm 27: My Light and My Help

A Healing Resource for the Jewish High Holiday Season

hands-1384735_960_720.jpg

From the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul -- one month before Rosh Hashannah -- and all the way through the holiday of Sukkot, traditional Jews add Psalm 27 to their daily prayers. One would think that, chosen for this season of repentance, the Psalm would focus in on human shortcomings and our resolve to do better in the coming year/s. But, as you'll see, the focus of Psalm 27 is confidence and security in the shelter of the Almighty (however one may understand these notions), an intimate relationship of care and protection, and a very concrete, persistent request of God to rally against besieging foes.

Clearly, then, Psalm 27 has much to offer those of us struggling with illness -- whether as patient, family member or friend, or health care provider. Our tricky "balancing" act of acceptance and activism, of living in the moment but fighting for the future, finds expression in these ancient words attributed to King David. Read it through and see what phrases or ideas resonate for you; consider revisiting the Psalm, with some regularity, alone or with close ones, during this season of Return and Response. Perhaps it will trigger your own creative writing effort to articulate your deepest prayers. It will certainly link you to a community and a tradition of support, faith, affirmation, and hope.

Shabbat Morning Blessings: Kiddush

Sanctification of Shabbat over Wine or Grape Juice

KiddushCup.jpg

Fill a Kiddush cup with wine or grape juice.

Raise it and recite:

V’shamru v’nei Yisrael et HaShabbat, laasot et HaShabbat l’dorotam b’rit olam. Beini uvein b’nei Yisrael ot hi l’olam, ki sheishet yamim asah Adonai et hashamayim v’et haaretz, uvayom hashvi-i shavat vayinafash.

V’shamru v’nei Yisrael et HaShabbat,
laasot et HaShabbat l’dorotam
b’rit olam.
Beini uvein b’nei Yisrael
ot hi l’olam,
ki sheishet yamim asah Adonai
et hashamayim v’et haaretz,
uvayom hashvi-i shavat vayinafash.

The people of Israel shall keep Shabbat,
observing Shabbat throughout the ages as a covenant for all time.
It shall be a sign for all time between Me and the people of Israel,
for in six days Adonai made heaven and earth,
and on the seventh day God ceased from work and was refreshed.

Al kein beirach Adonai et Yom HaShabbat vay’kadsheihu.

Therefore Adonai blessed the day of Shabbat and hallowed it.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei p’ri hagafen.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Drink the wine or grape juice.

Shabbat Morning Worship Services: Aleinu

ShabbatChallahRaisin.jpg

This is a prayer used in every service expressing hope for God's universal rule.

Aleinu l’shabei-ach laadon hakol, lateit g’dulah l’yotzeir b’reishit, shelo asanu k’goyei haaratzot, v’lo samanu k’mishp’chot haadamah. Shelo sam chelkeinu kahem, v’goraleinu k’chol hamonam. Vaanachnu kor’im umishtachavim umodim, lifnei Melech mal’chei hamlachim HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

Aleinu l’shabei-ach laadon hakol,
lateit g’dulah l’yotzeir b’reishit,
shelo asanu k’goyei haaratzot,
v’lo samanu k’mishp’chot haadamah.
Shelo sam chelkeinu kahem,
v’goraleinu k’chol hamonam.
Vaanachnu kor’im
umishtachavim umodim,
lifnei Melech mal’chei hamlachim
HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

 

Let us now praise the Sovereign of the universe, and proclaim the greatness of
the Creator who has set us apart from the other families of the earth, giving us a
destiny unique among the nations. We bend the knee and bow, acknowledging the
supreme Sovereign, the Holy One of Blessing.

 

Shehu noteh shamayim v’yoseid aretz,
umoshav y’karo bashamayim mimaal
ush’chinat uzo b’govhei m’romim.
Hu Eloheinu ein od,
emet Malkeinu efes zulato.
Kakatuv b’Torato, V’yadata hayom
v’hasheivota el l’vavecha,
ki Adonai hu HaElohim
bashamayim mimaal,
v’al haaretz mitachat, ein od.

 

For you spread out the heavens and established the earth; Your majestic
abode is in the heavens above and Your mighty Presence is in the loftiest heights. You
are our God and there is none else. In truth You are our Sovereign without compare, as
is written in Your Torah: Know then this day and take it to heart that Adonai is surely
God in the heavens above and on the earth below. There is none else.

V’ne-emar, v’hayah Adonai
l’Melech al kol haaretz.
Bayom hahu yih’yeh Adonai echad
ush’mo echad.

Thus it has been said, Adonai will be Sovereign over all the earth.
On that day, Adonai will be one, and God’s Name will be one.

Shabbat Morning Worship Services: Blessings on Reading the Haftarah

Blessing Before the Reading of the Haftarah

torah.jpg

Prior to chanting the Haftarah (a reading from Prophets or Writings that varies weekly), the reader says:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher bachar bin’vi-im tovim, v’ratzah v’divreihem hane-emarim be-emet. Baruch atah, Adonai, habocher baTorah uv’Moshe avdo, uv’Yisrael amo, uvin’vi-ei ha-emet vatzedek.

Baruch atah, Adonai
Eloheinu, Melech haolam,
asher bachar bin’vi-im tovim,
v’ratzah v’divreihem
hane-emarim be-emet.
Baruch atah, Adonai, habocher baTorah
uv’Moshe avdo, uv’Yisrael amo,
uvin’vi-ei ha-emet vatzedek.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,
who has chosen faithful prophets to speak words of truth.
Praise to You, Adonai, for the revelation of Torah, for Your servant Moses,
for Your people Israel and for prophets of truth and righteousness.

Blessing After the Reading of the Haftarah

Upon finishing the chanting of the Haftarah, the reader says:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech
haolam, tzur kol haolamim, tzaddik
b’chol hadorot, HaEl hane-eman,
haomeir v’oseh, ham’dabeir um’kayeim,
shekol d’varav emet vatzedek.
Al haTorah, v’al haavodah, v’al
han’vi-im, v’al yom HaShabbat hazeh,
shenatata lanu Adonai Eloheinu, lik’dushah
v’lim’nuchah, l’chavod ul’tifaret.
Al hakol Adonai Eloheinu, anachnu modim
lach, um’var’chim otach, yitbarach shimcha
b’fi kol chai tamid l’olam va-ed.
Baruch atah, Adonai, m’kadeish HaShabbat.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,
Rock of all creation, Righteous One of all generations,
the faithful God whose word is deed, whose every command is just and true.
For the Torah, for the privilege of worship, for the prophets,
and for this Shabbat that You, Adonai our God, have given us
for holiness and rest, for honor and glory: we thank and bless You.
May Your name be blessed for ever by every living being.
Praise to You, Adonai, for the Sabbath and its holiness.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Jewish Holidays