Lifecycle Events

A Prayer for Safety During This School Year

Rabbi David Wirtschafter

As young people and their teachers return to school, to campus and to class, we pray for a year that proves safer than those before. Grant, O God, that houses of learning from daycare centers to graduate schools are places free from havoc and harm.

May we send our children off to school each morning in peace, may they learn throughout the day in peace, and may the return home to us each afternoon in peace.

We pray that troubled students and struggling adults will express their pain with words rather than weapons, with resolve rather than revenge, with forethought rather than force.

We pray for a year without disruption from gun fire and from rumors that someone is going to “shoot up lunch.”

We pray that our students can focus on the task at hand rather than fearing for what might happen.

We pray for supportive faculty and staff, principals and counselors, deans, provosts, college and university presidents who can help our young people through whatever changes and challenges this year may bring

May pray that no one has to make the phone call that no one wants to make.

This year there will be no need for it.

No fatalities, no injuries, no false alarms and no threats.

Just as we bless our children aloud every Sabbath eve as we gather for candle lighting, so too do we pray for them in our hearts every day when the roll out of bed, gobble down breakfast, dash for the door or run for the bus.

“May this day be a good day for my child.” God of all children, young and old, hear our prayer, grant our plea. And let us say:


Rabbi David Wirtschafter is the rabbi of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, KY. Confronting violence in classic Jewish texts and contemporary society is the focus of his work in progress, The Torah They Never Taught You, Bad Stories from The Good Book.

Daily Blessings: Donning the Tallit

Optional: Before the blessing for donning the tallit

Some add this meditation before saying the blessing on the mitzvah of wrapping oneself in the tallit.

Bar'chi nafshi et Adonai, Adonai Elohai, gadalta m’od, hod v’hadar lavashta. Oteh or kasalmah, noteh shamayim kay’riah.

Bar'chi nafshi et Adonai, Adonai Elohai, gadalta m’od, hod v’hadar lavashta. Oteh or kasalmah, noteh shamayim kay’riah

Bless, Adonai, O my soul!
Adonai my God, how great You are.
You are robed in glory and majesty,
wrapping Yourself in light as in a garment,
spreading forth the heavens like a curtain.

Blessing for the Donning of the Tallit

Spread the tallit wide in front of you and look at it while saying this blessing.

Once the blessing is complete, wrap it around yourself. Many wrap it over their head for a few moments, to fully surround themselves in the mitzvah, before settling the tallit back on their shoulders.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hitateif batzitzit.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God,
Sovereign of all,
who hallows us with mitzvot,
commanding us to wrap ourselves in the fringes.

Prayer for Campers

Rabbi Daniel Gropper
Mi shebeirach avoteinu Avraham, Yitzchak, v’Ya’akov, Sara, Rivka Rachel, v’Leah, hu y’varech et hachanichim ha’eleh.

Mi shebeirach avoteinu Avraham, Yitzchak, v’Ya’akov, Sarah, Rivka Rachel, v’Leah, hu y’varech et chanichim haeleh.

May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah bless all of these campers as they go off to summer camp.

May You guide them in peace.

May their journey this summer be beautiful, filled with shira, song, rikud, dance, omanut, art, simcha, happiness, s'chiya, swimming, ruach, spirit, and chaverut, friendship.

May they give and receive many lanyards and friendship bracelets, hike to the most inspiring places, and stay up late laughing with friends.

May they experience great challenges and succeed in overcoming them and also learn from their struggles.

May they be partners in creating a kehillah kedosha, a sacred community of love and friendship and learning.

And may they return to this community, changed for the better while very much the same—bringing with them new rituals, songs and prayers.

V’yachazikeim v’yadricheim b’orach Torah u’v’ma’asim tovim.

May You help them grow in mind and heart, drawing them closer to You and to a life of Torah and ma’asim tovim, good deeds.

And let us say, "Amen."

For a Wedding Anniversary

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." God of all generations, we give thanks for the blessings that have graced our marriage, and we look back upon the day of our union with thankfulness. So may this joy be with us always: our way of life, loving and good, as we help each other bear burdens and as we share our joys.

Give us, O God, a peaceful dwelling where contentment and love find a resting place. May we maintain a home in which glows the light of faith, one that honors our membership in the House of Israel, our people.

O God, grant that we may grow old together in health, and live in gratitude for our marriage. Amen.

At the End of the Mourning Period

Lo yavo ode shimshaech  v'yir'achech lo yae'a'saef;  kee Adonai yiyeh lach l'or olam,  v'shalmu y'mei ev'laech.

Lo yavo ode shimshaech

v'yir'achech lo yae'a'saef;

kee Adonai yiyeh lach l'or olam,

v'shalmu y'mei ev'laech.

Your sun will not go down again,

your moon will not depart;

for Adonai will be your light for ever,

and your days of mourning ended.

[Isaiah 60:20]

God of spirit and flesh, we/I have turned to You for comfort in these days of grief. When the cup of sorrow passed into our/my hands, Your Presence was with us/me. Now we/I rise up to face the tasks of life once more. There will be moments of woe and loneliness. May the continued sense of Your Presence be for us/me a source of comfort, and let the pain of our/my loss subside. May the memory of our/my loved one be more and more a cause of joy and gratitude. Teach us/me, O God, to give thanks for all that was deathless in the life or our/my dear companion and friend, and which now is revealed to us/me more clearly in all its beauty.

For the ties of love that death cannot sever; for the friendship we shared along life's path; for those gifts of heart and mind which have now become a precious heritage--for all this and more, we are/I am grateful. Now help us/me, O compassionate God, not to dwell on sorrow and pain; help us/me, instead, to find within our hearts/my heart the courage to return to the tasks of life, and its joys. Amen.

On Returning Home after a Funeral

In Jewish tradition, a mourner is identified as being a child, spouse, sibling, or parent of the deceased. Others, however, may also wish to use the following prayers.

Out of the depths I cry to You, Adonai;

hear my supplication.

A heavy burden has fallen upon us and sorrow has bowed our heads. And now we turn to You, the Source of life, for comfort and help. Give us the eyes to see that pain is not Your will, that somewhere there weeps with us One who feels our trouble and knows the suffering of our souls. We seek the light that will dispel the darkness that has overtaken us. Let us find it in the love of family and friends, in the sources of healing that are implanted within all the living, in the mind that conquers infirmity and trouble. Grant us the strength to endure what is inescapable, the wisdom to accept what cannot be undone, and the courage to go on without bitterness or despair. Amen.

Ner l'ragli d'varecha, v'or lin'tivati.
B'or'cha nireh or.

Your word, O God, is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.

By Your light shall we see light.

[Psalms 119:105, 36:10]



[The memorial light is kindled.]

Ner Adonai nishmat adam.

Your light, Adonai, burns in the human soul.

Baruch atah, Adonai,
notei-a b'
tocheinu chayei olam.

Praise to You, Adonai, who plants within us eternal life.

Hanging a Mezuzah

Blessing when hanging Mezuzah

The mezuzah is raised.

This ancient symbol speaks to us of our need to live by the words of Adonai. We affix the mezuzah to the doorposts of this house with the hope that it will always remind us of our duties to one another as members of the Household of Israel. May the divine spirit fill this house--the spirit of love and kindness and consideration for all people.

Baruch atah, Adonai
Eloheinu, Melech haolam,
asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav
v'tzivanu likboa m'zuzah.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,
who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to affix the mezuzah.

[The mezuzah, its top inclining inward, is then affixed to the upper part of the doorpost on the right, as one enters the house. If desired, a mezuzah may be affixed to the right doorpost of the principal rooms.]

Conclude by reciting the Shehecheyanu (blessing of praise).

Upon Retirement

As I look back over the years that have gone, I ask to see life as a continuum from youth to age: What lies before me now? I look ahead not knowing what will be given me to see. Sustain me, Adonai, Fountain of Life, with faith that the best is yet to be, for opportunities now await me. There is blessing that only the maturity of age can bring; there is a ripeness that experience alone can yield. May I find the sweetness of that joy that is reserved for those who serve others through the counsel and guidance learned in the school of life. Out of the lessons drawn from disappointment and success alike, may I be able to help them to discover value in life's struggles, and find joys and triumphs that endure.

Now I have precious time to give to those I love, to family and friends. I pray for insight and a warm heart: let me be with them when they need me, let me respond when they call to me. And let me use my leisure to explore new worlds of thought and feeling, or to rediscover old ones. Now I can study my heritage of Torah, savor the beauties of nature and art, find new meaning and inspiration in the book of life. Let the passage of time continually deepen within me the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverance for life.

And let me never lose that sense of wonder that stirs within me in the presence of Your creation and that beckons me to greet each day with zest and eager welcome. Thus will my life be renewed and blessed, and thus will I bring blessing to many in the years to come. Amen.

Mourner's Kaddish

Version of the Kaddish, praising God, that mourners recite during the bereavement period and to mark the anniversary of a death of a loved one.

Download the printable version of the Kaddish.

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba. B’alma di v’ra chirutei, v’yamlich malchutei, b’chayeichon uv’yomeichon uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael, baagala uviz’man kariv. V’im’ru: Amen.

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba
b’alma di v’ra chirutei, 
v’yamlich malchutei, 
b’chayeichon uv’yomeichon 
uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael,
baagala uviz’man kariv,
v’im’ru: Amen.

Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach 
l’alam ul’almei almaya.

Yitbarach v’yishtabach v’yitpaar 
v’yitromam v’yitnasei, 
v’yit’hadar v’yitaleh v’yit’halal 
sh’mei d’kud’sha b’rich hu, 
l’eila min kol birchata v’shirata, 
tushb’chata v’nechemata, 
daamiran b’alma, v’imru: Amen.

Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya, v’chayim aleinu v’al kol Yisrael, v’imru: Amen.
Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael, v’imru: Amen.

Exalted and hallowed be God’s great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God’s majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel — speedily, imminently,
To which we say: Amen.

Blessed be God’s great name to all eternity.

Blessed, praised, honored, exalted,
extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One,
beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing, praise, and comfort.
To which we say: Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel.
To which we say: Amen.

May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all Israel.
To which we say: Amen.

On the Birth or Adoption of a Child

You may select either of the two versions.

Source of all life, my heart is filled with joy for the child that has been entrusted to me. May I be thankful always, and speak my thanks not with words alone, but with the love, understanding, and tender care with which I hope to raise my child.

Be gracious to my child, that they may grow in strength of body, mind, and spirit. May they learn to love all that is good and beautiful and true, and so live a life of blessing.

May my child find their way in the paths of Torah and good deeds as a loyal member of our people. Give me, O God, the wisdom, courage, and faith that I as a parent will need to help my child become a strong, confident, and loving person. Amen.

Recite the Shehecheyanu (blessing of praise).

How small you are, my child, and how beautiful! You grasp my finger; I hold you close. Let my arms be your loving cradle; my whispered prayer, your lullaby.

My heart overflows with joy and I give thanks:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu,

Melech haolam,

she-asah lanu neis bamakom hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, for the wonder we have experienced.


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