Jewish Holidays

Mi Shebeirach for Aliyah

This prayer can be said in honor of someone called up to the Torah.

Mi Shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu, Avraham Yitzchak v’Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel v’Lei-ah, hu y’vareich et [name] ben/bat [parents] baavur she-alah/she-altah lich’vod HaMakom, lich’vod haTorah. Bis’char zeh HaKadosh Baruch Hu yishm’reihu/yishm’rehah v’yatzileihu/v’yatzilehah mikol tzarah v’tzukah umikol nega umachalah, v’yishlach b’rachah v’hatzlachah v’chol maaseh yadav/yadeha, im kol Yisrael. V’nomar: Amen.

Mi Shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu,
Avraham Yitzchak v’Yaakov,
Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel v’Lei-ah,
hu y’vareich et [name] ben/bat [parents]
baavur she-alah/she-altah
lich’vod HaMakom, lich’vod haTorah.
Bis’char zeh HaKadosh Baruch Hu
yishm’reihu/yishm’rehah
v’yatzileihu/v’yatzilehah
mikol tzarah v’tzukah umikol nega umachalah,
v’yishlach b’rachah v’hatzlachah
v’chol maaseh yadav/yadeha,
im kol Yisrael. V’nomar: Amen.

May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless [name] son/daughter of [parents], since he/she has come up to the Torah in honor of God and Torah. May he/she merit from the Holy One of Blessing protection, rescue from any trouble or distress, and from any illness, minor or serious; may God send blessing and success in his/her every endeavor, together with all Israel, and let us say, Amen.

An Alternate Un’taneh Tokef

By: 
Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler

On Rosh HaShanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed:

That this year people will live and die,
some more gently than others
and nothing lives forever.
But amidst overwhelming forces
of nature and humankind,
we still write our own Book of Life,
and our actions are the words in it,
and the stages of our lives are the chapters,
and nothing goes unrecorded, ever.
Every deed counts.                
Everything you do matters.
And we never know what act or word
will leave an impression or tip the scale.
So, if not now, then when?
For the things that we can change, there is t’shuvah, realignment,
For the things we cannot change, there is t’filah, prayer,
For the help we can give, there is tzedakah, justice.
Together, let us write a beautiful Book of Life
for the Holy One to read.


Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler is the spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Sharon, MA.

 

A Rosh HaShanah Prayer for Our Clergy

By: 
Alden Solovy
For Our Clergy

As the New Year approaches, let it be our job to feed our clergy with love and care. Let it be our sacred calling to lift them up as they lift us. 

Our clergy carry our communities on their backs. Funerals and weddings the same week. Torah conversations with b’nai mitzvot, private conversations with the newly-divorced and hospital visits on the same day. It can be an emotional whip-saw and an intellectual drain.

The list goes on. Preparing sermon after sermon. Eulogy after eulogy. Counseling couples. Baby namings. Brit milah. Learning new Torah to teach Torah afresh. Representing the Jewish community in interfaith and civic settings. Writing new music. Caring for our Hebrew schools and adult education classes.

It’s real. It’s personal. It’s as steady as the flow of life and death. It can take a toll spiritually, emotionally, professionally. Sometimes, even the most caring and energetic clergy can run out of gas.

At almost every difficult moment of my life, a rabbi has been at my side. At almost every moment of celebration, a rabbi has been there. These are sacred callings.

As the New Year approaches, let it be our job, as congregants, to feed our clergy with love and care. Let it be our sacred calling to lift them up as they lift us. Let us see with fresh and grateful eyes the hard work and the loving hearts that they commit to us.

For Our Clergy

God of sacred callings,
Bless the work of our clergy,
Who carry us through our lives,
Our joys and our sorrows,
In holy service,
Our broken hearts,
Our festive moments,
And our deepest yearnings.

May their dedication serve as shining lamp of love.
May the works of their hands bring merit in heaven.
Bless them with health and long life.
Guard them from taking our traumas into themselves.
Protect them from loneliness and isolation,
Shielding them from the spiritual and emotional pain
That can come with a life of service.
May they have find peace and comfort in their own moments of need.

Blessed are You,
God of All,
Who, with love, provides the world
Dedicated leaders of faith.


Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, and teacher. His teaching spans from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem to Limmud UK and synagogues throughout the U.S. Before making aliyah to Israel in 2012, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, Evanston, IL, and a regular participant in worship at B'nai Jeshoshua Beth Elohim, Deerfield, IL. He’s the author of Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing. His writing also appears in several CCAR Press books, including the newly published anthology of his work, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

View all posts by Alden Solovy

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

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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

A table set up for a Passover seder

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

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

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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.

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