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☞   Life cycle

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | El Malé Raḥamim (Prayer for the Departed), interpretive translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The prayer El Malé Raḥamim, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. . . .

Prayer on Entering a New Habitation, by Rabbi Isaac Henry Myers of Ramsgate (1855)

A prayer on entering a new habitation or dedication for a new home by Rabbi Isaac Henry Myers of Ramsgate. . . .

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | El Malé Raḥamim (Prayer for the Departed), translated and sung by Effron Esseiva

Almost two years ago my best friend passed away and I had the honour of chanting this malé raḥamim for him. In mid-May this year another friend approached me and said he really liked the way I did it at the time and could I record it for him because he was going to do it too for an unrelated unveiling. So, I recorded it on May 18, 2011. I didn’t compose it. It’s a traditional tune, but it’s my voice and I hope someone else can perhaps learn it with this material. The more resource there are out there through means such as Open Siddur the better we can learn and share. . . .

על הכל יתגדל ויתקדש | A Ḳaddish During the Removal of the Torah from the Ark in the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l (translation by R’ Oren Steinitz)

This Kaddish was first published online at Jewish Renewal Chassidus by Gabbai Seth Fishman. Rabbi Oren Steinitz translated the kaddish on the 3rd yahrzeit after Reb Zalman’s passing. . . .

שמחת בת | Simḥat Bat, by Dr. Devora Steinmetz and Rabbi David Silber (1987)

We name our daughters on their fifteenth day of life. This is based on Vayiqra 12:1-5, which describes the length of a woman’s period of impurity after childbirth. If she gives birth to a son, she is impure for seven days; if she gives birth to a daughter, she is impure for fourteen days. The passage seems to connect the baby boy’s circumcision on the eighth day to the conclusion of the mother’s seven day period of impurity. (Similarly, Vayiqra 22:27 says that a newborn animal must remain with its mother for seven days, and on the eighth day and onward it is acceptable as a sacrificial offering.) It seems, then, that for the first seven days of a little boy’s life, and the first fourteen days of a little girl’s life, the child and mother are still closely linked, and both remain separate from the larger family and community. Then, on the eighth day of her son’s life, and on the fifteenth day of her daughter’s life, the mother begins to rejoin her family and community, and the child too becomes incorporated as a member of the family and community. That is why a baby boy’s father becomes obligated to circumcise his son only on the eighth day, and why the baby boy first receives his name at his brit milah; it is then that the baby boy becomes a member of the community of Israel. On our daughter’s fifteenth day, we come together as a family and as a community to welcome this new member and to give her a name. . . .

ברוכה הבאה | Blessed be the newcomer!, a ceremony for the naming of a baby daughter by Joshua Gutoff (ca. 1989)

A ceremony for the naming of a baby daughter. . . .

שמחת בת | Simḥat Bat of Amalya Shaḥar Exler-Kaunfer, by Rabbi Elie Kaunfer and Lisa Exler

In place of the blood of the slaughtered bulls from the covenantal ceremony in Exodus, we looked for another substance to effect the covenant ceremony. Amalya was born right after Shavuot, on which we have a tradition to eat dairy. In fact, milk itself is associated with the acceptance of Torah, as described in the following Midrash which quotes a verse from Song of Songs (4:11): “Sweetness drops from your lips, O bride; honey and milk are under your tongue and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon.” . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar prayer for recognizing the Divine Image in all our bodies by R’ Emily Aviva Kapor

Asher Yatzar (the “bathroom blessing”, traditionally said every morning and after every time one goes to relieve oneself) has always rung hollow to me, at best, and at worst has been a prayer not celebrating beauty but highlighting pain. The original version praises bodies whose nekavim nekavim ḥalulim ḥalulim (“all manner of ducts and tubes”) are properly opened and closed—yes, in a digestive/excretory sense, but it is quite easy to read a reproductive sense into it as well. What do you do if the “ducts and tubes” in your body are not properly opened and closed, what if one is open that should be closed, or vice versa? . . .

שמחת בת | Simḥat Bat by Yoni and Hannah Kapnik Ashar

This is a simḥat bat baby-naming and welcoming ceremony, based on similar ceremonies by Dr. Devora Steinmetz and Rabbi David Silber, Rabbi Elie Kaunfer and Lisa Exler, Drs. David and Joanna Arch-Andorsky, and others. . . .

חג הכנסה לברית | Ḥag hakhnassah labrit – On Entering the Covenant by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

In the weeks leading up to the birth of our first child in 1997, my partner and I spent a lot of time thinking about the brit. Whether it was a boy or a girl we knew that we would have a celebration. If it was a boy we would have a brit, yet we were not happy with the ceremony as it stood. If it was a girl we needed a ceremony which was equally powerful and yet didn’t draw blood. In response to these two concerns I wrote a liturgy for what I called a chag hachnassah labrit/celebration of entering the covenant which could be easily adapted to boys and girls, and I wrote a piyyut (a liturgical poem) for a milah/a circumcision. . . .

Prayer in a Time of Serious Illness by Rabbi Gilah Langner

Traditional Judaism offers a confessional prayer, or vidui, to be recited during a time of serious illness or near death. If the patient is unable to recite the prayer, others may do so on his or her behalf. This modern adaptation [of vidui] places less emphasis on atonement for sins, and more on the bonds connecting the patient to his or her loved ones. It can be recited by a friend, family member, or chaplain on behalf of a person who is very ill, especially when life and death are hanging in the balance. . . .

תפילה קודם למוד הקבלה | Prayer Before Studying Kabbalah, by Yitsḥak Luria (translated by Aharon Varady)

Master of the worlds and Lord of Lords, Father of Compassion and Forgiveness, we give thanks before you [haShem] Elohainu, Elohai of our ancestors, by bowing and kneeling for having brought us near to your Torah and to your sacred work, and for granting us a portion in the hidden insights of your holy Torah. . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

This English translation of the prayer “Asher Yatsar” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification by Aharon Varady according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l. . . .

רפא אותי | Heal Me by Trisha Arlin

I have been asked to write a healing prayer So I tried But I can’t do it I don’t have the soothing words I’m in pain Right now And it’s been going on for a while And it looks like it’s going to last longer than it takes to write this prayer

So instead I offer to you A pain prayer . . .

ברכת הורים לבר או בת מצווה | Parents’ blessing for a Bar or Bat Mitsvah by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

I wrote this brachah on the occasion of my son Oryah’s bar mitzvah. The Aramaic/Hebrew and the translation are mine. My partner and I recited the blessing after my son was called up to the Torah. The brachah replaces the ברוך שפטרנו which is recited in some communities. This blessing (which is basically self-explanatory) expresses gratitude for Divine favor leading to this moment and a prayer for Heavenly guidance for my son’s continued path. Though the translation is gender neutral in relation to God, the Hebrew/Aramaic is gendered masculine. This is my practice with regards to my children. I bless my daughter with feminine God language and my son with masculine God language. The blessing can be grammatically adapted for a bat mitzvah. . . .

פיוט למילה | Piyyut for a Milah (circumcision) by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

This is a piyyut (liturgical poem) which is intended to be recited at a brit. It is connected to my liturgy for a “chag hachnassah labrit” (available here). The explanation for the chag is also the basis for the piyyut. Translation into English by Shoshanna Gershenson, Maeera Schreiber and Aryeh Cohen. . . .

תפילת בת המצווה | Prayer of the Bat Mitzvah after she finishes reading from the Torah, by Chaim Hames-Ezra

A statement by the Bat Mitsvah after her first aliyah. . . .

שבחי המשפחה לבת המצווה | A Prayer in Honor of a Bat Mitzvah from her Family, by Dr. Chaim Hames-Ezra

A prayer for a ritual of blessing of a bat mitzvah by her family. . . .

A Blessing for the Sudden Relief from Chronic Pain, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Rabbi Menachem Creditor first shared this prayer in the Open Siddur Project discussion group on Facebook, here. . . .

A Prayer before Torah Study by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

My Lord Creator of all, Master of all worlds, Supreme, compassionate and forgiving, Thank You for Your Torah, Thank You for allowing me to learn from it And to move toward serving You. Thank You for revealing some of the Mysteries of Your Way. . . .

Each Loss Breaks a Pattern: A Shiva Prayer by Trisha Arlin

This prayer was written to introduce the service at a shiva minyan: Baruch Atah Adonai, Ruach HaOlam, Blessed One-ness, Breath of the Universe, Breathing us in, Breathing us out. Each loss breaks a pattern. We remember and we pray. We remember our loved one, _(name)_ Beloved _(relationship)_ Each loss breaks a pattern, And we remember them. We remember them Because they gave us to ourselves, We remember them Because we loved each other, And we remember Because, well, That is our job. Every loss breaks a pattern, And we pray. We pray and place ourselves in front of the fear, We place ourselves in front of the anger, We place ourselves in front of the grief, We pray and delight in our memories We pray and listen for music that reminds us there will be joy again. We pray for the long repair that happens after the patterns break. And we give thanks for the ancient traditions, Telling the story even when we can’t. Hallelu Yah, breathing in, Remembering us when we cannot. Hallelu Yah, breathing out, Praying with us when we feel alone. Amen . . .

Intention for community garlic planting at the end of a harvest season, by Jess Berlin (translated by Miri Landau)

Garlic is typically the last crop planted on a farm, it is planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. So you are leaving a legacy for next years farmers (which might be you). We begin by separating the garlic bulbs from the cloves, similar to separating people from their community. Then, once the individual (garlic cloves) are planted, they form new communities in the ground. Similar to the process that we are all going through. Leaving our community here on the farm and going out into the world to create new communities. . . .

תפילה לתורם דם | The Blood Donor’s Prayer, by Elli Fischer

A prayer to be recited upon donating blood. In Israel, there are major blood drives around the times of Rosh Hashana and Pesaḥ, so the prayer borrows themes from both of those holidays. It emphasizes both the tzedaka aspect of blood donation and the ancient symbolic resonances of blood sacrifice. . . .

אַ געבעט פאַר דער אימונירונג | תְּפִלָּה לִפְנֵי חִסּוּן | Prayer before a Vaccination, by Hannah Katsman

A prayer in Hebrew to be said before a vaccination, with Yiddish and English translation. . . .

תְּפִלַּת הַדֶּרֶךְ | The Traveler’s Prayer (with a Supplement for Airplane Travel)

If I ascend up into the heavens, you are there. If I take wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there would your hand lead me, and your right hand would hold me. And may it be your will, our father in heaven, that you guard us from storm and tempest and grief. And may you bring forth from your storehouses a propitious wind to carry our plane, and may you sustain and preserve those who fly it, that they neither weaken nor falter, and may we reach our destination alive and well, without any trouble and injury. O keep my soul, and deliver me. Let me not be abashed, for I have taken refuge in you. But we will bless Yah from this time forth and for ever, Halleluyah. . . .

תְּפִלַּת הַדֶּרֶךְ לְרוֹכְבִים | A Traveler’s Prayer for Bicycle Riders, by Rabbis Rachel and Ofer Sabath Beit-Halachmi

May it be Your will, our God That You lead us toward peace; that You enable us to ride in safety; that You lead us with blessing. Save us from all accidents and unstable wheels, from a dangerous driver and a bounding chariot.[ref]after Nahum 3:2[/ref] 
Inspire in us unity of the material and the spiritual, Love of the ascent as well as the descent. Show us Your face, in the smallest of details and in the countenance of the other. Enable us to persevere on our journey toward love, truth and peace. Blessed are You, YHVH, the One who hears prayer. . . .

תפילה לפני חלוקת תרופות | Prayer before the dispensation of medication, by Dafna Meir, z”l

This prayer was originally published April 13th, 2013 on Dafna Meir’s blog, Derekh Nashim (Women’s Ways), here, writing “את התפילה זכיתי לחבר תוך כדי למידה למבחן תרופות במחלקה הנוירוכירורגית בסורוקה, בה אני עובדת.” (The prayer I composed for a friend while studying for a test at the Neurosurgery department at Soroka Hospital, which I work.) English translation by Moshe F. via Israellycool. More about Dafna Meir, here and here. . . .

דיזי שיני נייאי תפילה | Dize sheyne naye tfile: This Beautiful New Prayer, by Gele bat Moshe v’Freyde (1710)

This is a faithful transcription of the prayer of Gele (Gella), daughter of the printer Moshe, as found at the end of Tfile LeMoshe (2nd ed., Halle, Germany, 1710), a prayerbook Gele typeset when she was only 11-years-old. This prayerbook is rare owing to the destruction of the press following the incarceration of Gele’s father for publishing a prayerbook containing the prayer “Aleinu,” which had been forbidden by royal decree. The translation provided here was made by Dr. Kathryn Hellerstein as found in A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987 (2014, Stanford University Press), p. 63-4. The layout of Gele’s prayer follows that of Ezra Korman from his anthology of Jewish women’s poetry, Yiddishe Dikhterins, also the source of the page image provided. If you know the location of a copy or digital scan of this siddur, please contact us. . . .

הודאה לפני התרגיל | Prayer of Gratitude Before Exercise, by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

If it is a mitsvah to guard our lives and strengthen our bodies in service of our holy mission, then there should be a brakhah (blessing) before we start a session of vigorous activity; any excuse to add blessings to our day is a wonderful opportunity for personal growth! . . .

מי שברך לתקופת יום הולדת | Mi sheBerakh on behalf of one celebrating a birthday, by Rabbi Dr. Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

“Prayer in behalf of one celebrating a birthday,” by Rabbi Mordecai Menaḥem Kaplan can be found on p. 494-497 of his The Sabbath Prayer Book (New York: The Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) . . .

תחינה פאר א אִשָּׁה פאר דעד חוּפָּה פון איר זון ארער איר טאָכטער | Tkhine for a mother to say before the wedding of her daughter (19th c.)

A tkhine (supplication) for a mother to say before her daughter’s wedding, transcribed and translated from the Siddur Qorban Minḥah (1897). . . .

תחנה פיר אין כלה פאר דער חופה | Prayer for a Bride before her Wedding (19th c.)

A tkhine (supplication) for a bride to say before their wedding, transcribed and translated from the Siddur Qorban Minḥah (1897). . . .

א תחנה פאר א כלה קודם החופה | A Tkhine for a Bride [to say] before the Khupe [wedding canopy ceremony]

“A Tkhine for a Kaleh before the Khupe” by an unknown author is a faithful transcription of the version published in Rokhl m’vakoh al boneho (Rokhel Weeps for her Children), Vilna, 1910. I have transcribed it without any changes from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .

תְּחִנָּה מִגְדַּל הַשֵּׁן | Tkhine for a Baby’s First Tooth

This is a faithful transcription of the תְּחִנָּה מִגְדַּל הַשֵּׁן (“Tkhine for a Baby’s First Tooth”) which first appeared in ש״ס תחנה חדשה (Shas Tkhine Ḥaḥadasha), a collection of tkhines published by Ben-Zion Alfes in Vilna, 1922. . . .

א תְּחִנָה פאר א שׂטיףּ מוטער | A Tkhine for a Stepmother (from Shas Tkhine Ḥadasha, 1922)

This is a faithful transcription of the א תְּחִנָה פאר א שטיף מוטער (“A Tkhine for a Stepmother”) which first appeared in ש״ס תחנה חדשה (Shas Tkhine Ḥadasha), a collection of tkhines published by Ben-Zion Alfes in Vilna, 1922. . . .

דיא װײבּער װאס האבּין אײן שׁװערין מזל צו קינדר זאלין דיא תחנה זאגין | Women who Have Bad Luck with Children Should Recite this Tkhine (1910)

“Women who Have Bad Luck with Children Should Recite this Tkhine” by an unknown author is a faithful transcription of the tkhine published in Rokhl m’vakoh al boneho (Rokhel Weeps for her Children), Vilna, 1910. I have transcribed it without any changes from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. If you can translate Yiddish, please help to translate it and share your translation with an Open Content license through this project. . . .

תחנה פאר אמוטער װאס פירט אקינד אין חדר | Tkhine for a Mother Leading their Child to Religious School (1910)

“Tkine for a Mother Who Leads Her Child to Kheyder” by an unknown author is a faithful transcription of the tkhine published in Rokhl m’vakoh al boneho (Raḥel Weeps for her Children), Vilna, 1910. I have transcribed it without any changes from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. Please offer a translation of this tkhine in the comments. . . .

א תחנה פאר א מוטער װאס פירט איהר קינד דעם ערשׁטען מאל אין חדר | Tkhine for a Mother Who Leads their Child for the First Time to Religious School (1910)

“Tkine for a Mother Who Leads Her Child to Kheyder” by an unknown author is a faithful transcription of the tkhine published in Rokhl m’vakoh al boneho (Raḥel Weeps for her Children), Vilna, 1910. I have transcribed it without any changes from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. Please offer a translation of this tkhine in the comments. . . .

תפילה על מת בהמה או חיה מחמד | Prayer on the Death of a Beloved Animal, by Aharon Varady (1994)

A prayer for a beloved animal first compiled in English by Aharon N. Varady for Nethaniel Puzael, his family’s cat, in 1994. . . .

תפילת היוצר | A Worker’s Prayer, by Rabbi Stephen Belsky

A worker’s prayer by Rabbi Stephen Belsky, dedicated to Noam Ezra ben haRav Moshe z”l. . . .

ודוי | Vidui meditation, by Danny Cohen

Vidui means acknowledgment. It is not about self-flagellation or blame, but about honesty, coming into contact with our lives, our patterns and experiences, and ultimately about teshuva and learning. In contacting the pain and suffering which our modes of being have given rise to, our regret can help us to willfully divest ourselves of them and awaken the yearning for those modes of being which are life-affirming, supportive of wholeness, connection, integrity, and flourishing. With each one we tap on our heart, touching the pain and closed-heartedness we have caused, and simultaneously knocking on the door that it may open again. . . .

Kiss of death: a prayer upon the death of a parent by Andrew Meit

By Andrew Meit, written upon the death of his mother, Sonie Meit, the 28th of Sivan 5771 –כ״ח בְּסִיוָן תשע״א. . . .

A blessing for you if you need one, from Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

On May 15th, 2018, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg tweeted this blessing. . . .

הַכְנִיסִינִי תַּחַת כְּנָפֵךְ | Take Me Under Your Wing, by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1905)

The prayer-poem, “Take Me Under Your Wing” (1905) by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik. . . .

ברית שמות | Baby Naming Covenant by Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman and Benjamin Kamm

In honor of the birth of their son born 23 Shvat 5772 ~ 15 February 2012, Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman and Benjamin Kamm share their Brit Shmot (Naming Covenant). The ceremony took place February 23rd, 2012 (Rosh Ḥodesh Adar ~ 30 Shvat 5772) at Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline, Massachusetts. . . .

תְּפִילַת הוֹלְכִים לְאוּנִיבֶרְסִיטָה | Prayer for Those Leaving Home for University, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A prayer for the safety and success of those leaving home to go off to college and university. When children go off to college, parents can feel worried about the future of their children. Empty-nest syndrome can set in and spiritual guidance is often needed. This prayer uses the idioms of Biblical and siddur language to create a text for parents who worry about their children’s future as they head off on their own. It could be said 49 days after Tekufat Tammuz in the diaspora (August 28 or 29 after a leap year – approximately the time when college terms begin in the US) or on the first Saturday after Shmini Atzeret ba’aretz (approximately when college terms begin in Israel) . . .

Thirteen Intentions of Faith Taught at the Beit HaMidrash of Elat Chayyim, by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

This list of thirteen supplications for emunah (faith) in particular beliefs was included by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). . . .

תהלים י״ב בלשון לאדינו | Psalms 12 by David in Ladino (Estampado por Ǧ. Griffit, ca. 1852/3)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of Psalms 12 from תהילים או לוס סאלמוס ; טריסלאד’אד’וס דיל לשון הקדש אין לה לינגואה ספרדית (Tehillim, or the Psalms, translated from the Holy language [Hebrew] into the Sephardic language, Estampado por Ǧ. Griffit 1852/3) from a digital copy made available by the collection of Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington. Please join me in making a complete transcription of this Ladino translation of Psalms. –Aharon N. Varady . . .

Loss of what could be; but is – a prayer-poem in eulogy after a suicide, by Andrew Meit

This eulogy by Andrew Meit was read at Temple Beit Ami in Rockville, Maryland at the funeral of Benjamin Meit. Andrew writes, “Ben would have turned 19 next week. He died from complications from depression and mental illness.” Donations in Ben’s memory may be made here. If you or anyone you know is in need of help, please call 911, or 1-800 273 8255, the national suicide prevention hotline. . . .

עָלֵינוּ לְשַׁבֵּחַ (ספרד)‏ | Aleinu l’Shabei’aḥ, translated by Rabbi David de Sola Pool (1937)

The prayer, Aleinu, as read by Sepharadim, with an English translation by Rabbi David de Sola Pool. . . .


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