הברכה שמח תשמח | Blessing for Joy: A Poetic Rendering of Sheva Brakhah no. 6 (Same’aḥ T’samaḥ), by Daniel Kieval

This is a poetic rendering of the sixth blessing (of the Sheva Brakhot/7 Blessings) for a wedding. It riffs off of themes and language in the Hebrew text of joy, love, and companionship, and invocations of the Garden of Eden, creation, and eternity. Written originally for the wedding of friends; I hope you’ll feel free to adapt and rework it however suits your needs! . . .

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) . . .

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 . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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). . . .

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. . . .

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.” . . .


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