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Jonah Rank

Rabbi Jonah Rank is President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary: A Rabbinical School for the Deaf and Hearing. An award-winning Jewish songwriter, Rabbi Rank earned an MA in Jewish Thought and was ordained in 2015 at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Rabbi Rank has been involved in Jewish education for many years and served as the Maskil (“Teacher-of-Tradition”) at the Shaar Shalom Synagogue in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where his spouse, Rabbi Dr. Raysh Weiss, served as Senior Rabbi. While living in Canada, Rabbi Rank initiated the annual Halifax Communal Beit Midrash, and collaborated with the community’s Education Committee in rebooting the Halifax Joint Hebrew School. Following his family’s return to the U.S, he became the Director of the Shul School at Kehilat HaNahar in New Hope, Pennsylvania. While managing the supplementary school, Rabbi Rank co-led a Virtual Youth Arts Beit Midrash serving youth across five states, designed a virtual reality Purim carnival, and created curricular materials for young Jews to engage with Jewish notions of responsibility towards marginalized communities and to the planet. Rabbi Rank has authored several academic articles, served as the Managing Editor of Zeramim: An Online Journal of Applied Jewish Studies, and is currently editing Siddur Kanfey HaShekhinah, a forthcoming traditional Ashkenazi Hebrew prayer book, where the language referring to God is with feminine grammar. An advocate for civic causes, Rabbi Rank was appointed in 2021 to the Environmental Advisory Council in the Township of Lower Makefield, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Rank’s recently moved with his family to Natick, Massachusetts.


A Jewish Prayer for Graduation and an Interfaith Meditation on Wisdom and Learning, by Jonah Rank (2010)

Contributed on: 21 Jan 2019 by Jonah Rank |

A Jewish Prayer for Graduation and an Interfaith Meditation on Wisdom and Learning, by Rabbi Jonah Rank (2010) . . .

בִּסְעוּדָה הַזּוֹ | At this meal! – a piyyut for the Passover seder translated by Rabbi Jonah Rank

Contributed on: 23 Apr 2019 by Jonah Rank |

A litany of mythical guests and creatures presenting at the Passover seder. . . .

אַתָּה ה׳, מָגֵן בַּעֲדִי | Attah Adonai Magen Ba’adi, a piyyut by R’ Fradji Shawat (late 16th c.)

Contributed on: 22 Apr 2019 by Jonah Rank | Fradji Sawat |

A (kosher-for-Passover) prayer for redemption from exile. . . .

תעודת גירות | Certificate of Conversion template for adults (Hebrew-English and gender-neutral), by Rabbi Jonah Rank

Contributed on: 18 Aug 2019 by Jonah Rank |

A gender-neutral Hebrew-English conversion certificate template for adults. . . .

שטרות לקישור נפשות | Documents for a Marriage from One Soulmate to Another by Raysh Weiss and Jonah Rank

Contributed on: 17 Jul 2014 by Jonah Rank | Raysh Weiss |

If one were to accept that a kosher Jewish wedding needs some element of what the Mishnah calls “acquisition” (and, more or less, we accepted this to be the case), any wedding must be conscientious in rethinking the following questions: What exactly is “acquisition” in the Mishnah’s eyes? And, if “acquisition” is inherently offensive to our sensibilities, how can we lessen the role that “acquisition” plays in a kosher wedding? . . .

אֵיךְ תְּנַחֲמוּנִי הֶבֶל | Eikh T’naḥamuni Hevel, a ḳinnah by Elazar ben Killir ca. 7th c. (trans. Jonah Rank)

Contributed on: 16 Feb 2022 by Jonah Rank | Elazar ben Killir |

The qinah, Eikh T’naḥamuni Hevel, in Hebrew with an English translation. . . .

Gender Neutralizing Ketubbah with Instructions by Jonah Rank and Raysh Weiss

Contributed on: 15 Dec 2013 by Jonah Rank | Raysh Weiss |

On [day of the week] of the [day of the month] of the month of [month] in the year [year], as we count here in [location], behold, the soul of [name of one member of the couple] and the soul of [name of the other member of the couple] wrote one to the other in documents indicating that the entirety of each soul is consecrated one to the other in accordance with the law of Moses and Israel. They both shall serve, cherish, sustain, and support one another, in accordance with the laws of the Jews. Behold, all that which is written above has been accepted upon these two souls in the valid manner of interconnecting souls. All of the above is in proper, good standing. . . .

תפילת הזכרת הורים כשאין מניין לאמירת קדיש | “Gebet Statt Ḳaddisch” Memorial Prayer For When There is No Minyan

Contributed on: 11 Aug 2013 by Isaac Seligman Baer | Jonah Rank |

Please Lord, Sovereign of Compassion, God, Arbiter of the spirits of all flesh, Parent of Orphans and Judge of widows: God, from the source of Your holiness! May my prayer and the Torah of life that I have learned come before you on account of the soul . . .

Mikveh Kavvanah for Affirming Jewish identity, by Rabbi Jonah Rank

Contributed on: 21 Jan 2019 by Jonah Rank |

A kavvanah for affirming one’s Jewish identity in a mikvah before immersion. . . .

אוֹי נָא לָֽנוּ כִּי חָטָֽאנוּ | Oy Na Lanu Ki Ḥatanu (Woe alas unto us, for we have sinned), a ḳinah possibly by Elazar ben Killir (ca. 7th c.)

Contributed on: 26 Jul 2023 by Jonah Rank | Elazar ben Killir |

This anonymously authored ḳinah (קינה, song of “lamentation”) begins with the line “אוֹי נָא לָֽנוּ כִּי חָטָֽאנוּ” (oy na lanu ki ḥatanu, “Woe—alas—unto us, for we have sinned”). Although the ancient Roman Jewish historian Flavius Josephus blames the Roman Empire for the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE—and Roman art even celebrates the Roman capture of the Temple’s candelabrum—this ḳinah suggests that the destruction of Jerusalem was, at least partially, the result of Jewish discord. The ḳinah, which was long part of the Romanian prayer service for Tish’ah b’Av, appears in few other traditional prayerbooks for Tish’ah b’Av. It seems that the author of this ḳinah was El’azar ben Kallir (ca. 570–640 CE), who composed approximately half of the kinot most commonly inserted into contemporary Tish’ah b’Av prayerbooks that include the 40-odd most common kinot (קינות, plural of ḳinah) Jews sang throughout Europe during much of the early modern period. The author did not sign their name but left us with an alphabetical acrostic listing of often-concrete reasons to mourn today. . . .

תפילה (ישראלית) לפני הכניסה לקלפי (למאמין וללא מאמין)‏ | Prayer before entering the voting booth in Israel (for believers and non-believers)

Contributed on: 18 Mar 2013 by חיים היימס-עזרא | Jonah Rank |

May it be the will [before the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors] that this ticket which I am placing in my ballot will join thousands of other tickets that will promise reasoned leadership that will strengthen democratic values, aspire towards peace with our neighbors, separate religion and state, be concerned with the weak and protect the laborers, fight corruption and exercise leadership through personal role modeling. May it be the will [before the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors] that the nation sitting in Zion will merit years of freedom, quiet, productivity, education and good health and that our children may never fear at all. . . .

תפילה לעת שרפה – וחמת האש תשכך | Prayer for the Wildfires to Subside (Masorti Foundation, trans. by R’ Jonah Rank)

Contributed on: 24 Nov 2016 by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | Jonah Rank | Masorti Movement in Israel | Anonymous Author(s) |

The Prayer for the Fire (תפילה לעת שרפה) was first published by the Masorti Foundation at their website here in response to the November 2016 wildfires in Israel. Translation by Rabbi Jonah Rank. Transcription by Aharon Varady. . . .

שבע ברכות לנפשות קשורות | Seven Blessings For Interlinking Souls, by Rabbi Dr. Raysh Weiss and Rabbi Jonah Rank

Contributed on: 01 Sep 2015 by Raysh Weiss | Jonah Rank |

When Jonah Rank and Raysh Weiss intended to finalize the words of the “Seven Blessings” (Sheva Berakhot, שֶֽׁבַע בְּרָכוֹת) that their friends and family members would offer them on their big day, they attempted to preserve the most widespread Ashkenazic version of these seven nuptial blessings with which their Jewish marital status would be effected. However, they attempted to avoid phrases that would limit the gender or sex of the blessings’ referents. Additionally, they sought to ensure that their blessings focused on the happiness of the occasion at hand. . . .

שַׁבָּת וַחֲנֻכָּה נִגְּשׁוּ וַיְרִיבוּן (מִי כָמוֹךָ)‏ | Shabbat and Ḥanukkah Met and Fought, a piyyut by Shlomoh ben Eliyahu Sharvit HaZahav (ca. 15th c.)

Contributed on: 08 Dec 2020 by Jonah Rank | Shlomoh ben Eliyahu Sharvit haZahav |

A 15th century Ḥanukkah vs. Shabbat rap battle. Technically it’s not a rap battle–just a piyyut introducing “Mi Khamokha” in the blessing after the Shema on the Shabbat morning of Ḥanukkah . . . .

שִׁמְעוּ אֹֽמֶר בֵּאוּר מִשְׂגַּבְכֶם | Shim’u Omer Be’ur Misgavkhem, an ofan for Shabbat Matot-Mas’ei by Rav Shmu’el haShlishi (ca. 10th c.)

Contributed on: 17 Mar 2022 by Jonah Rank | Shmuel haShlishi ben Hoshana |

An ofan (a yotser piyyut for the qedushah) on the Shabbat upon which Parashat Matot-Mas’ei is read, by the paytan Rav Shemu’el HaShelishi. . . .

תחנון לימים קשים | Taḥanun [Plea for Mercy] on Hard Days by Noa Mazor (trans. by Jonah Rank)

Contributed on: 21 Jul 2014 by Noa Mazor | Jonah Rank |

Lord, our God, bring us days of good, of mercy, of life and of peace. Give our leaders the capability to see the natural sanctity embedded in every person. Give us the ability to trust human beings fighting for their way, for their lives–for our lives. Lord, lay us down along Your path–a path for loving humanity as humanity, a path for welcoming peace between neighbors: between humanity and pain. . . .

Teshuvah on Ketubbah Where Woman Acquires Man, by Rabbi Jonah Rank

Contributed on: 06 Aug 2016 by Jonah Rank |

A teshuvah (responsum) on, and text of, a ketubbah whereby a groom acquires a bride, and a ketubbah whereby a bride acquires a groom. . . .

בסיעתא דארעא