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Al HaNisim: For the Banners, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit

An interpretive version of Al HaNisim for Ḥanukkah that is playful, powerful, and embodied. May it fuel our activism, including the self-care and community-building that is part of activism.

The Hebrew word for miracle, ness, also means banner: a miracle is a banner that announces something.

Alice refers to the title character in Alice in Wonderland, a popular children’s book by Lewis Carroll.

I hope this piece brings you spiritual sustenance for your journey! I appreciate financial contributions to sustain me as a writer, which will help bring more of my work out into the world.

You can contribute via Venmo to @Ilana-Streit or email Ilana for a mailing address.


עַל הַנִּסִּים al hanisim

Upon the banners that we raised high
in pride and hope and We Are Here

And for all of the moments that raise us up

וְעַל הַנִּפְלָאוֹת v’al hanifla’ot

And for the wonders
  and our ability to be in wonderment
  and know that we are wonderful
and for Alice

וְעַל הַמִּלְחָמוֹת v’al hamilḥamot

and for the times that we took up the fight
and for the times that we fought for ourselves
and for the allies who fought by our side
and for the times that we won

וְעַל הַפֻּרְקָן v’al hapurkan

and for all of the moments
that we stop and catch our breath
before doing it all again

for all of the times that we are able to see our power
and cry on each other’s shoulders

וְעַל הַגְּבוּרוֹת v’al hag’vurot

for all of the moments that we knew
    or were willing to believe
  that we were strong

וְעַל הַתְּשׁוּעוֹת v’al hat’shuot

for all of the times that we reclaimed sacred spaces
  created sacred spaces
and for all of the times of recognizing altars

and breathing and delighting
and being altars
       portals
       vessels for the divine

for all of the shrineful moments of knowing
  that our ancestors bequeathed to us

for all of the moments of Yes!
and the yesness of knowing No

for all of the huge and tiny movements
in which aliveness was present
and life won

and for all of the revolutions and resolutions
and for the consolations
and breaths taken

for all of the bullets that never flew
for all of the times that everything was okay
for all of the times that I forgot to worry

for all of the moments of hopefulness

for all of the times I got to hold up the banner
to touch the banner
the banner of hopefulness

for all of the moments I didn’t give up

add a line or two from your own life:

for all of the banners that we raise up
and for all of the banners
  that we have been

בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם וּבַזְּמַן הַזֶּה bayamim hahem uvaz’man hazeh


 

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