בסיעתא דשמיא

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! . . .

ליקוטי תפילות חלק א תפילה לז | Likutei Tefilot I:37, by Reb Nosson Steinhartz of Nemirov (early 19th century)

Reb Nosson’s Likutei Tefillot I:37 contains teḥinot derived from Rebbe Naḥman’s Likutei Moharan I:§37. . . .

תפילת הדרך | Tefilat haDerekh, a prayer for peace (trans. Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

In this Tefilat haDerekh (the prayer for travel), I’ve made a synthesis of Ashkenazi and Sefardi nusaḥ. Even though the translation is pretty close to literal in most places, it comes across as an extraordinary and activist prayer for peace. So I think of this prayer not just as a prayer for the beginning a physical journey, but for any spiritual journey, and especially for any campaign or action for justice and peace that a person or group might undertake. When applied to activism, the “enmity and ambush and theft and predation” we ask to be rescued from could also be interpreted as hatred, deceit, jealousy, and aggression, i.e., the kinds of feelings that cause people to work against each other, even within an organization, instead of working together. I first used this version of the prayer at the beginning of a tour of Israel and Palestine focused on the human rights and non-violent resistance, when the group passed through the first checkpoint of the trip. . . .

תפילת הדרך באניית הכוכבים | Prayer for Going on a Starship Voyage, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A prayer, inspired by Tefilat haDerekh and other traditional liturgical texts, for a Jew who, at some future point, would be about to go forth on a starship. Doesn’t include a chatimah so as not to be a brakhah levatalah, in the case that starships are (chas v’shalom) never invented. . . .

תפילה לפני שחיטה | Prayer before Kosher Slaughter, by Eliyah ben Shlomo Avraham haKohen (Sefer Shevet Musar, 1712)

This is a kavvanah for kosher slaughterers to say prior to the blessing over sheḥitah, first published in the early 18th century, and composed within the school of the ARI z”l. . . .

תפילה לעבודת האדמה | Prayer for Working the Soil, by Rabbi Shalom Ḥayyim Sharabi (ca. 1911)

Hebrew (source) English (translation) כזה הוא הסדר לומר בשעה שמחזיק במעדר לחפור חפירה לנטיעה: This prayer is to be said while holding the hoe that will be used for the planting:[1]The first line presenting instructional text on holding the hoe appears in versions circulated on the web in the context of Tu Bishvat tree . . .

Blessing over Separation, by Shelby Handler

The Blessing over Separations was first read by Shelby Handler on Rosh Ḥodesh Kislev at the 2017 ADVA Reunion, a reunion of the community of Adamah Farm fellows and Teva Learning Center educators at Isabella Freedman Retreat Center. . . .

ברכת יוצר יצירים | A Blessing for Creating, by Rabbi Adina Allen (Jewish Studio Project)

“A Blessing for Creating” comes by way of David A.M. Wilensky (with approval by the blessing’s author, Rabbi Adina Allen) who shared a photo on Facebook of a posterboard on which the blessing was written. The poster was made for the first ever Kabbalat Shabbat organized by the Jewish Studio Project, whose mission is “to activate creativity in individuals and communities to reclaim Jewish values, make meaning in our lives and restore hope to the world.” Vocalization added by Aharon Varady. . . .

תפילה לשוב לעבודה | A Prayer for – finally – getting back to WORK by Chaya Kaplan-Lester

Chaya Kaplan-Lester’s “Prayer for – Finally – Getting Back to WORK” was first published on her Facebook page, here. The Hebrew word Todah תודה, means grateful. The English word ‘ta-da!’ is an onomatopoetic form of a horn (Cf. 1913 Sphinx July 98/1): “Coming front in utter disgust, he [sc. a conjuror] tells them [sc. the orchestra] that that won’t do, that he wants something like ‘tadaa!’ from all of them. They seem to understand, so he goes off again. On his reappearance, however, he is met with a loud tumult, as all the orchestra shout out in unison the word ‘tadaa!’” (Oxford English Dictionary). . . .

מתי לא לבקש סליחה | When not to seek forgiveness by Josh Rosenberg

A thought about the need to seek forgiveness from those you’ve wronged during this week before Yom Kippur: . . .

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. . . .

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 . . .

God Our Light by Rosa Emma Salaman (1845)

The poem, “God Our Light” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident and American Jewish Advocate 3:8, Marḥeshvan 5606, November 1845, p.379-380. . . .

The Body Speaking to the Soul Which Just Left It by Rosa Emma Salaman (1842)

The poem, “The Body Speaking to the Soul Which Just Left It.” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was written in March 1842 and first published in the Occident and American Jewish Advocate 2:4, Tamuz 5604, July 1844, p. 200-202. . . .

Elijah by Rosa Emma Salaman (1849)

The poem, “Elijah” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident 6:7, Kislev 5610, December 1849, p. 455-457. . . .

Song of the Spirit by Rosa Emma Salaman (1848)

The poem, “Song of the Spirit” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident 6:7, Tishrei 5609, October 1848. . . .

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. . . .

על הכל יתגדל ויתקדש | A Kaddish 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. . . .

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) . . .

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. . . .

A Blessing for Peace, Health, Joy, Prosperity, and Kindness by Reb Zalman

A blessing by Reb Zalman for Peace, Health, Joy, Prosperity, and Kindness which he wrote in spray paint on a municipal water tank behind his house in Colorado. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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

dedicated to Noam Ezra ben haRav Moshe z”l

Hebrew English יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלִּפְֿנֵי אָבִֽֿינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַֽיִם,‏ בּוֹרְאֵֽנוּ, יוֹצְרֵֽנוּ, יוֹצֵר בְּרֵאשִׁיתֿ, הָאֻמָּן הָעֶלְיוֹן,‏ כְּאָמְרָם ”אֵין צוּר כֵּאלֹהֵֽינוּ“ – ‏ ”אֵין צַיָּר כֵּאלֹהֵֽינוּ“,‏ שֶׁיְּחָנֵּ֫נוּ בְכָֿל הַחָכְֿמוֹתֿ —‏ חָכְֿמוֹתֿ הַלֵּבֿ, וְחָכְֿמוֹתֿ הַנֶּֽפֶֿשׁ,‏ וְחָכְֿמוֹתֿ הַיָּדַֿיִם;‏ וְיַנְחֵֽנוּ בִדְֿרָכָֿיו לַעֲשׂוֹתֿ אֶתֿ מְלַאכְֿתֵּנוּ בְּיֹֽשֶׁר, וּבְֿחֶֽסֶדֿ, וּבֶֿאֱמוּנָה;‏ וִיבָֿרֵךְֿ אֶתֿ מַעֲשֵֽׂינוּ וְאֶתֿ מַעֲשֵׂי מַעֲשֵֽׂינוּ,‏ לְקַדֵּשׁ . . .

Teshuvah on Ketubbah Where Woman Acquires Man

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

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. . . .

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. . . .

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 Parent 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. . . .

תחנה אמהות | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in 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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

תחנה שערי דמעות | Tkhine of the Gate of Tears

The “Tkhine of the Gate of Tears” by an unknown author presented here derives from the Vilna, 1848 edition. 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 scan an image of the page from the edition this was copied from, please share it with us. . . .

אײן אנשפראכע געגען עין הרע | An Incantation against the Ayin hoReh

This tkhine offers a formula for providing relief to a very ill person, and as such, should only be used as a supplement to recommendations provided by an expert physician or nurse. The source of the tkhine is Tkhine of a Highly Respected Woman, Budapest, 1896; and transcribed from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. . . .

תפילת הדרך לרוכבים | 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. . . .

תפילת הדרך | 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. . . .

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. . . .

בִּרְכָּת הָבָּיִת | Birkat Habayit: Blessing for the Home

The Birkat Habayit is perhaps the most popular blessing in the Jewish world, appearing as a hanging amulet inside the entrance of many houses of Jews of all streams. I have added niqud to the blessing and I am very grateful to Gabriel Wasserman for his corrections to my vocalization. . . .

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. . . .

יזכור | Yizkor: Instructions for Remembering by Rabbi Nina Mizrahi

Remember the blessings of those who no longer walk this earth. Remember each name, each life-story. Remember on behalf of those whose memory fails. Remember with love the sweet and the bittersweet. Remember with forgiveness the hurt and misunderstanding. Remember with insight so you might experience deeper meaning. Remember through the pain until you can touch the joy and find comfort. Remember through dreams left unfulfilled and choose one to fulfill. Remember through your heart. Remember through your actions. . . .

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

תהילים כג׳ | Psalms 23, translation by Shim’on Menachem, melody by Shir Yaakov

Listen to a recording of Psalm 23 chanted to an Indian-inspired melody. . . .

Siddur Nusaḥ Ereṣ Yisrael – Minḥa, Birkat HaMazon, Tefillat HaDerekh

This is a compact siddur for weekday Minḥa according to Nusaḥ Ereṣ Yisrael, as derived from rulings of the Jerusalem Talmud, fragments found in the Cairo Geniza and other historical documents. This siddur also includes Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) and Tefillat HaDerekh (Travelers’ Prayer). Modern additions to the ancient prayers include special verses for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Liberation Day) and Yom HaAṣmaut (Israeli Independence Day), additions which keep the nusaḥ at once uniquely ancient, yet thoroughly connected to our modern reality here in the Land Of Israel. . . .

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. . . .

Activist Prayer for a Trauma Center on Chicago’s South Side by R’ Aryeh Bernstein

A disproportionate amount of the alarming gun violence in Chicago takes place on the South Side, yet the South Side lacks even a single level one adult trauma center. Consequently, gunshot victims sometimes minutes from death must be transported miles away to Downtown or North Side hospitals. In 2010, after Damien Turner, an 18-year-old resident of the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood, died waiting for an ambulance to drive him ten miles to a downtown hospital instead of two blocks to the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC), a grassroots collaboration of community organizations, faith leaders, and University of Chicago student groups began organizing the Trauma Center Coalition, dedicated to reopening a Level 1 adult trauma center at UCMC, the most well-resourced hospital on the South Side. So far, the university has refused. As part of the coalition’s ongoing campaign, last week [April 23, 2015], dozens of activists gathered on the university’s historic Midway field, for a vigil of prayer and song from different faith traditions. At dusk, participants lit candles to spell out “Trauma Center Now”, right across from the home of U. Chicago President Robert Zimmer, and then camped out for the night. As a representative of coalition partner Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, I was invited to offer a Jewish prayer, which is reproduced here; I read it in both the English and Hebrew. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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 . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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? . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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

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? . . .

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. . . .

Zekher Milah, a different tack on Brit milah & Brit banot by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

For a number of reasons, some medical, some psychological, some spiritual, some communal-traditional, I support and urge male circumcision. When couples have come to me and despite my advice are adamant in refusing to do it with a boy-child, AND/OR if they ask my advice about a brit/ covenant ceremony for a girl — I urge them to follow what I’ve proposed below. . . .

Gender Neutralizing Ketubbah with Instructions by Jonah Rank and 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. . . .

Prayer for the Interment of Shemot in a Geniza by Morah Yehudis Fishman

My bones whisper that your pages and your inks will return to the trees and the plants from where they once came. They say that someday they will even come back to life with words never yet heard. . . .

סתיו הנחל יסודי | Fall Creek Elementary: a Kavvanah for Teaching Children

I wrote this kavvanah a few years ago. At that time I lived in Ithaca, NY. I was a substitute teacher in the Ithaca Central School District. There was a community event at Fall Creek Elementary school, and the way families, faculty, students, and people from the area came together inspired the poem. . . .

סליחות | Sliḥot Prayers to the Inner Child within us by Miriam Rubin

For all the times that I’ve judged you, and you shut down.
For the times when I’ve cast eyes of displeasure on your creative and luminous works,
For the times when I secretly whisper nasty things about you, that I would never say out loud,
For the times when I’ve asphyxiated you, and you felt cut off from your sacred life force… . . .

The Mapmaker

Cold facts.
Colder realities.
The preacher who lost his way
The librarian who empties the shelves
The cook without a spoon
The child masking as a king
The king masking as a child.
The mapmaker studies them all
Furrowing his brow tightly
Crafting lines delicately.
Charges
Nothing
And
Changes
Everything . . .

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

Fully Egalitarian Ketubah from Naomi & Beverly Socher-Lerner’s Wedding

This completely egalitarian ketubah uses nedarim, vows before God which bear the full weight of Jewish law, as the central act of marriage, and uses the rings as symbols of those vows. It also details the steps which would be necessary to dissolve those nedarim, an important and integral part of the ketubah. The Hebrew is written in the feminine plural and should be adjusted if the text is used for different gender combinations. . . .

תשעה באב | Prayer for Tisha b’Av by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l (translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

During the time before there was a State of Israel, those ideals in our hearts which we tried to practice and which we wanted others to practice, seemed not achievable where we were because, we felt we had no influence over our world where we were. And so, the longing for our homeland was tied into the longing for our dreams and our vision. Now that the state of Israel is with us, our dreams and our visions still remain distant from our lives and therefore when we say the Tisha B’av prayers we need to remind ourselves of the distance between that which we would have in this world and that which we do have. . . .

Ritual for Judging Bad Dreams for Good

If one has a dream which makes him sad he should go and have it interpreted in the presence of three. He should have it interpreted! Has not Rav Ḥisda said: A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read? — Say rather then, he should have a good turn given to it in the presence of three. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Blessing for students leaving school or returning from their summer break by Rabbi Esteban Gottfried (trans. Miri Landau)

Prayers for students leaving school or returning from their summer break. . . .

תפילה לפני קידושין | Prayer before Kiddushin for Couples by Sarah Groner

This prayer is based on the personal prayer said on holidays before Torah reading. The grammar has been adapted as plural rather than singular, so that the couple says the prayer together before their ritual of Kiddushin (betrothal). . . .

קדיש יתום | Mourner’s Kaddish, an interpretive translation by Alan Wagman

This is an English language interpretation of Kaddish, intended to capture the spirit of translations/interpretations that I have seen in various sources and also to capture the sound and rhythm of the Aramaic text, including syllables which, when read simultaneously with the Aramaic, rhyme with the Aramaic. . . .

פיוט למוזיקאי קודם שיופיע | A Performing Musician’s Piyut by Alan Jay Sufrin

This piyut (liturgical poem) arose after a very meaningful performance of mine in the summer of 2000. It was such a powerful experience that I was moved to say a prayer of thanks to G-d for the opportunity to perform my songs for audiences – but found no such prayer in existence. So I wrote this one. It took about a year to complete and I’ve been saying it backstage right before my performances, and sometimes before recording sessions, since then. . . .

Transition Ritual Poems, by Joy Ladin

The transition ritual poems below are an effort to hear in the Torah the voices of the various parts of the trans self calling one another toward wholeness. . . .

A Prayer for Health in Work, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

A holistic prayer for health in work. . . .

A Prayer for Travel by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha – May it be Your will, Eternal One, God of our ancestors, that we journey toward peace, that our footsteps be guided towards peace, and that we reach our desired destinations for life, gladness, and peace. May we be protected from every obstacle along the way, and from all manner of challenge the world endures. May there be blessing in the works of our hands, and may we be granted peace, kindness, and mercy in the eyes of all who see us. May our prayer be heard, for You are the One who hears and holds all prayer. Baruch Atah Adonai, Shomei’ah Tefilah. Blessed are You, Eternal One, who hears prayer. . . .

After Shaḥarit: Abiding Advice for Daily Living by Eliyahu Carmi (1767) translated by Abe Katz

In Avignon, France, in 1767, Eliyahu Karmi (Elijah Crémieux) compiled a siddur preserving the nusaḥ of the Comtat Venaissin titled the סדר התמיד (Seder HaTamid). Just after the section for תפלת שחרית (the morning prayers), Karmi provides the following advice for how to organize one’s workday: . . .

על חטא | For the Sin of Torture: A Communal Confession by Rabbi Ed Feld

For the sin which we have committed before You through diminishing the image of God. . . .

התרת נדרים | Hatarat Nedarim: The Release of Vows by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Almost everyone who is Jewish knows that Kol Nidre is about releasing vows and has participated in the ceremony. Few know the parallel ritual done in small groups before Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, right before Rosh Hashanah one performs this simple ritual with three friends, each in turn becoming the petitioner, while the other three act as the beit din, the judges in a court. The ritual is a wonderful way to enter the holidays as well as to prepare oneself for what will happen on Yom Kippur. . . .

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. . . .

שבע ברכות | The Seven Blessings over a Wedding (interpretive translation by Aharon Varady)

A translation of the Seven Blessings shared just in time for Shavuot, and in honor of several of my friend’s weddings. . . .

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 . . .

Memorial Prayer for Abraham Lincoln by Isaac Goldstein the Levite (1865)

Exalted are you Lincoln. Who is like you! You were highly respected among Kings and Princes. All that you accomplished you did with a humble spirit. You are singular and cannot be compared to anyone else. Who among the great are like Lincoln? Who can be praised like you? . . .

In Search of Seraḥ: A Prayer to Seraḥ by Chaya Kaplan-Lester

[In Parshat Vayigash] we read of the members of Jacob’s family who went down to Egypt. There were 53 grandsons listed, but only a single granddaughter – Seraḥ, the daughter of Asher. The commentators wonder, what was so exceptional about this girl that her name was recorded? The Midrash spills forth with stories portraying an image of a unique and endearing Biblical heroine. Seraḥ stands as a trusted, beloved sage of the people. She possessed an uncommon gift of healing through poetry and music. Somewhat as Orpheus is to Greek myth, so is Seraḥ to the Biblical myth – the archetypal poet and bard. . . .

על חטא | For the Sin of Destroying God’s Creation by Rabbi Danny Nevins, adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (2007)

Eternal God, You created earth and heavens with mercy, and blew the breath of life into animals and human beings. We were created amidst a world of wholeness, a world called “very good,” pure and beautiful, but now your many works are being erased by us from the book of life. . . .

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 D’var Tefillah on Zombies, Elul, and Psalms 27 by Rabbi Jessica Minnen

As the month of Elul wanes, we are preparing. We prepare for the new moon, we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, and we prepare for the zombie invasion. I have it on good authority, as do you, that the onslaught is imminent. The alarm blares every morning — a shofar blast and a warning… . . .

A Ten-Step, Four-Worlds, One-Earth Tashlikh by Avi Dolgin

Avi Dolgin shares his mindful practice for maintaining “tashlikh consciousness” in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah. . . .

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. . . .

אל מלא רחמים | El Maleh 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 maleh rachamim 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. . . .

קדיש יתום בזמן מלחמה | Mourner’s Kaddish in Time of War and Violence by Arthur Waskow

Jews use the Kaddish to mourn the dead, though it has in it only one word — “nechamata,” consolations – which hints at mourning. And this word itself is used in a puzzling way, once we look at it with care. As we will see below, it may be especially appropriate in time of war. The interpretive English translation below may also be appropriate for prayers of mourning and hope in wartime by other spiritual and religious communities. In this version, changes in the traditional last line of the Hebrew text specifically include not only peace for the people Israel (as in the traditional version) but also for the children of Abraham and Hagar through Ishmael (Arabs and Muslims) and for all the life-forms who dwell upon this planet. . . .

תפילת דרך משולשת | A Kavvanah for Crossroads: Triple Prayer for the Road, by Yakov Green

Yakov Green shares a short kavvanah (intention, meditation) which he wrote in Hebrew one morning at Beit Midrash Elul in Jerusalem. He later translated it into English. תפילת דרך משולשת | Triple Prayer for the Road . . .

תפילה של עובד קמעונאי | Prayer of a Retail Worker

May it be Your will, O Lord my God and God of my ancestors, to deliver me this day, and every day, from cranky customers and from cowardly managers; and if I must deal with them, grant me the patience and the wits to make things work. Grant me also an easy temper with my daughter, and let me not lose sight of her preciousness for one instant. And let me devote myself to my duties to my (wife/husband, and always keep her happiness in mind, and show her often that I love her. For all this, I ask You to help me, because I cannot do it alone. . . .

התיקון הכללי של רבי נחמן | The Tikkun Haklali according to Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav

Before our hands can fix, we need to care. Before we can care, we need our eyes open. But how can we remind ourselves to see, and sustain our sensitivity and capability for compassion? We can shy from the pain that comes with empathy, and we can shy from the pain that comes with taking responsibility for the suffering we cause. But there are consequences to shying away, to disaffection and callous disassociation. If there is any hope, it is as Rebbe Naḥman explained so succinctly: “If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix.” In 1806, Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav taught that the recitation of ten psalms could act as a powerful Tikkun (remedy) in a process of t’shuva leading to an awareness of the divine presence that permeates and enlivens this world but is alas, hidden though an accretion of transgressive thoughts and actions. Five years later, Rebbe Naḥman revealed the specific ten psalms of this Tikkun to two of his closest disciples, Rabbi Aharon of Bratslav and Rabbi Naftali of Nemirov. . . .

אַ פּאָלףּ קדיש | A Kaddish by Reb Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, 1994)

Tired of people who can’t tell their kiddish (blessings for the Sabbath) from their kaddish (prayer for the dead)? Well, it sets Samuel L. Jackson off too! But he found a way of making a bracha (blessing) and mourning the dead at the same time. Now I can’t vouch for the origins of his nusaḥ (custom) but it sounds very effective! Most people haven’t noticed, the only real part from the Bible is that last section, the first part is actually his own spiel: . . .

הַמַּפִּיל | A Parent’s Prayer for the Safe Sleep of their Newborn Child by Aurora Mendelsohn

This is a prayer for parents to say for safe sleep for their newborn children. It is based almost entirely on the longer form of the traditional prayers before sleep. Because of gender there are two forms, for a boy and for a girl. I wrote this as part of my daughter’s naming ceremony in January 2001. I used it again in 2006 when my second daughter was born. . . .

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. . . .

שמחת בת | Simḥat Bat 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.” . . .


בסיעתא דארעא