תפילה לשלום מדינת ישראל | Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel by Rabbi Yitsḥak haLevi Hertzog (1948)

The Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel was composed by Rabbi Yitsḥak haLevi Hertzog, edited by S.Y. Agnon, and first published in the newspaper Ha-Tsofeh on 20 September 1948. . . .

ספר תפילות לשבת | Sabbath Prayer Book, by Rabbi Dr. Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

Arranged and translated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the Sabbath Prayer Book is the first Reconstructionist prayerbook we know of to have entered the Public Domain. (The prayerbook entered the Public Domain due to lack of copyright renewal by the copyright owner listed in the copyright notice, the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, as evidenced in the Stanford Copyright Renewal database.) . . .

המחזור לראש השנה ויום כּיפּור | Ha-Maḥzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Rabbi Ben-Zion Bokser (1959)

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Arranged and translated by Rabbi Ben-Zion Bokser, Ha-Maḥzor (1959) and Ha-Siddur (1957), are the most recent modern prayerbooks to have entered the Public Domain. (Both Ha-Siddur and Ha-Maḥzor entered the Public Domain due to lack of copyright renewal by the copyright owner listed in the copyright notice, the Hebrew Publishing Company.) Making digital images of . . .

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 ד׳ בלשון ײִדיש | Psalms 4 in Yiddish (translated by Yehoyesh Shloyme Blumgarten ca. 1920s)

This is a faithful transcription by the Yehoyesh Project of the Yiddish translation of Psalms 4 made by Yehoyesh Shloyme (Yehoash Solomon) Blumgarten (1870-1927) published in Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim vol. 2 (New York: Yehoʼash Farlag Gezelshaft, 1941). The complete transcription of Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim by the Yehoyesh Project in copy/pasteable and searchable plaintext may be found here. . . .

תהלים ג׳ בלשון ײִדיש | Psalms 3 in Yiddish (translated by Yehoyesh Shloyme Blumgarten ca. 1920s)

Loading Source (Hebrew) Translation (Yiddish) א לָמָּה רָגְשׁוּ גוֹיִם וּלְאֻמִּים יֶהְגּוּ־רִיק׃ ב יִתְיַצְּבוּ מַלְכֵי־אֶרֶץ וְרוֹזְנִים נוֹסְדוּ־יָחַד עַל־יְהוָה וְעַל־מְשִׁיחוֹ׃ ג נְנַתְּקָה אֶת־מוֹסְרוֹתֵימוֹ וְנַשְׁלִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ עֲבֹתֵימוֹ׃ ד יוֹשֵׁב בַּשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׂחָק אֲדֹנָי יִלְעַג־לָמוֹ׃ ה אָז יְדַבֵּר אֵלֵימוֹ בְאַפּוֹ וּבַחֲרוֹנוֹ יְבַהֲלֵמוֹ׃ ו וַאֲנִי נָסַכְתִּי מַלְכִּי עַל־צִיּוֹן הַר־קָדְשִׁי׃ ז אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ׃ ח שְׁאַל מִמֶּנִּי וְאֶתְּנָה גוֹיִם נַחֲלָתֶךָ וַאֲחֻזָּתְךָ אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ׃ . . .

תהלים ב׳ בלשון ײִדיש | Psalms 2 in Yiddish (translated by Yehoyesh Shloyme Blumgarten ca. 1920s)

This is a faithful transcription by the Yehoyesh Project of the Yiddish translation of Psalms 2 made by Yehoyesh Shloyme (Yehoash Solomon) Blumgarten (1870-1927) published in Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim vol. 2 (New York: Yehoʼash Farlag Gezelshaft, 1941). The complete transcription of Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim by the Yehoyesh Project in copy/pasteable and searchable plaintext may be found here. . . .

תהלים א׳ בלשון ײִדיש | Psalms 1 in Yiddish (translated by Yehoyesh Shloyme Blumgarten ca. 1920s)

This is a faithful transcription by the Yehoyesh Project of the Yiddish translation of Psalms 1 made by Yehoyesh Shloyme (Yehoash Solomon) Blumgarten (1870-1927) published in Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim vol. 2 (New York: Yehoʼash Farlag Gezelshaft, 1941). The complete transcription of Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim by the Yehoyesh Project in copy/pasteable and searchable plaintext may be found here. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (Arabic translation by Hillel Farḥi, ca. 1913)

Yedid Nefesh is a piyyut composed by Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600) commonly found in the morning baqashot of Sepharadi siddurim and as a petiḥah for Kabbalat Shabbat in many siddurim. This is a faithful transcription of Yedid Nefesh translated into Arabic from סדור פרחי سدور فرحي Siddur Farḥi (nusaḥ Sefaradi, minhag Egypt 1913, 1917) by Hillel Farḥi (1868-1940). (A copy of Siddur Farhi can be ordered from the Farḥi Foundation here.) Transcription of the Arabic was made by Wikisource contributor Avigdor24, here. Please help to proofread and improve this transcription. Join us in the digital transcription of Siddur Farḥi on Hebrew Wikisource. . . .

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. . . .

סדר לקריאת מגילת העצמאות | Reading of the Israeli Declaration of Independence for Yom Ha’atsma’ut

Jews have read sacred texts to commemorate miracles of redemption for a long time. Purim has Megilat Esther. Many communities read Megilat Antiochus or Megilat Yehudit for Chanukah. But to many modern Jews, the most miraculous redemption in recent history was the founding of the state of Israel, as we commemorate on Yom haAtzmaut. Like Purim, the story of the founding of Israel was entirely secular on a surface level, with no big showy miracles like a sea splitting or a mountain aflame. Like Chanukah, a Jewish state in the land of Israel won its independence against mighty forces allied in opposition. But we don’t have a megillah to read for Yom haAtzmaut. Or do we? Just as Megillat Esther is said to be a letter written by Mordekhai to raise awareness of the events of Shushan, so too does the Israeli Scroll of Independence, Megilat haAtzmaut, raise awareness of the events of the founding of the State of Israel. In this vein, I decided to create a cantillation system for Megilat haAtzmaut. Ta’amei miqra were chosen attempting to follow Masoretic grammatical rules – since modern Hebrew has a different grammatical structure, the form is somewhat loose. Because of the thematic similarities to Purim, I chose Esther cantillation for the majority of the text. Just as some tragic lines in Esther are read in Eikhah cantillation, some lines regarding the Shoah or bearing grim portents for the wars to follow are to be sung in Eikhah cantillation. And the final phrases of chapters II and III are to be sung in the melody for the end of a book of the Chumash, or the Song of the Sea melody. They can be done in a call-and-response form, with the community reading and the reader repeating. . . .

שיר של מרים הנביאה | The Song of Miriam, a petiḥah by Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn (1981)

“The Song of Miriam” by Rabbi Ruth Sohn was first published as “I Shall Sing to the Lord a New Song,” in Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim, Reconstructionist Prayerbook, 1989, 1995 Second Edition. Reconstructionist Press, pp. 768-769. (This poem was also published in several haggadot and other books and set to music by several composers in the U.S. and Israel.) Rabbi Sohn wrote the poem in 1981 as a rabbinical student after immersing herself in the Torah verses and the traditional midrashim about Miriam, and after writing a longer modern midrash about Miriam. Part of this modern midrash was published as “Journeys,” in All the Women Followed Her, ed. Rebecca Schwartz (Rikudei Miriam Press, 2001). . . .

הסדור | Ha-Siddur by Rabbi Ben-Zion Bokser (1957)

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Arranged and translated by Rabbi Ben-Zion Bokser, Ha-Maḥzor (1959) and Ha-Siddur (1957), are the most recent modern prayerbooks to have entered the Public Domain. (Both Ha-Siddur and Ha-Maḥzor entered the Public Domain due to lack of copyright renewal by the copyright owner listed in the copyright notice, the Hebrew Publishing Company.) Making digital images of . . .

סדר תפילות ישראל | Seder Tefilot Yisrael: Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book (Joint Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of America, 1946)

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Siddur Tefilot Yisrael (Sabbath & Festival Prayer Book), based upon a manuscript of Rabbi Morris Silverman, was widely used in Conservative synagogues until the late 1980s and remains a favorite prayerbook for many who grew up using it. First published by the Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of America under their copyright, this siddur is . . .

המדריך | Ha-Madrikh: The Rabbi’s Guide by R’ Hyman E. Goldin (1939, rev. 1956)

This manual has been devised for the express purpose of giving the Rabbi, or anyone officiating at a Jewish ceremonial or ritual, a concise and practical aid that will facilitate the task of officiating , and will obviate the necessity of resorting to the voluminous literature pertaining thereto. . . .

שבת המלכה | The Shabbat Queen, by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1903)

This translation of Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik’s Shabbat Ha-Malkah by Israel Meir Lask can be found on pages 280-281 in the Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) where it appears as “Greeting to Queen Sabbath.” The poem is based on the shabbat song, Shalom Aleikhem and first published in the poetry collection, Hazamir, in 1903. [I have made a faithful transcription of the Hebrew and its English translation as it appears in this siddur. –Aharon N. Varady] . . .

שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים | The Song of Songs, English translation by Paltiel Birnbaum (1949)

Paltiel (Philip) Birnbaum’s translation of The Song of Songs (Shir haShirim) in Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem (The [Complete] Daily Prayer Book), Hebrew Publishing Company, 1949. . . .

Prayer at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, by Rabbi Uri Miller (28 August 1963)

Prayer delivered by Rabbi Uri Miller, President of the Synagogue Council of America, at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963 . . .

הסדור השלם | Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem, The Daily Prayerbook by Paltiel Birnbaum (Hebrew Publishing Company, 1949)

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Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem (The [Complete] Daily Prayer Book), translated and arranged by Paltiel Birnbaum, was widely used in Orthodox and Conservative synagogues until the late 1980s and remains a favorite prayerbook for many who grew up using it. First published by the Hebrew Publishing Company in 1949 under their copyright, this siddur is in the Public . . .

MLK Day | Readings from the Speeches and Letters of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Selections from speeches and letters by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. read in ecumenical services for Martin Luther King Day in the United States. . . .

תְּחִנָה קַבָּלַת עוֺל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם | Tkhine [for Women] Receiving the Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven (1916)

The author of this tkhine intended for women to begin their morning devotional reading of prayers by first accepting patriarchal dominion. Women compensate for their inherent weakness and gain their honor only through the established gender roles assigned to them. The placement of this tkhine at the beginning of the Shas Tkhine Rav Peninim, a popular collection of women’s tkhines published in 1916 (during the ascent of women’s suffrage in the U.S.), suggests that it was written as a prescriptive polemic to influence pious Jewish women to reject advancing feminist ideas. . . .

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. . . .

תחנה אײדער אפרויא גײט אין טבילת מצוה | Tkhine for when a Woman Goes to Immerse in the Mikve (1910)

“Tkhine for when a Woman Goes to Immerse in the Mikve” 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. If you can translate Yiddish, please help to translate it and share your translation with an Open Content license through this project. . . .

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. . . .

סדור תפילות הקראים | Weekday and Sabbath Prayers based upon the Karaite Prayerbook of Abraham Firkovich (2002)

An index to the Karaite prayer services for weekday and sabbath mornings and evenings, as derived from the prayerbook of Abraham Firkovich (1871) by Nehemia Gordon, . . .

על הניסים ליום העצמאות | Al Hanissim for Yom Ha’atsma’ut, by Amos Ḥakham z”l

Loading Hebrew Contribute a translation על הניסים ועל הפורקן ועל הגבורות ועל המלחמות ועל התשועות ועל הנפלאות שעשית לעמך בימים ההם בזמן הזה. בימים אשר שארית פליטת ישראל עם שרידי חרב הצר והאויב מצא מנוח בארץ אשר נשבעת לאבותינו לתת לנו ונוספו על בני ישראל היושבים שם מלפנים, יחד כולם ביקשו לפרוק מעליהם עול מלכות . . .

סידור פרחי | Siddur Farḥi, by Dr. Hillel Farḥi (ca. 1913)

Join us in creating a faithful digital transcription of the Siddur Farḥi (Hillel Farḥi, 1917), a nusaḥ sepharadi, minhag Egypt siddur. After transcription and proofreading, this new digital edition will be shared under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) Public Domain dedication. The edition will then be encoded in TEI XML and archived in the Open Siddur database, a libre Open Access liturgy database. We are grateful to Alain Farḥi for imaging this Public Domain work and providing a digital copy for this effort. . . .

בּרידער | “Brothers” – Y.L. Peretz’s Contrarian Rejoinder to Friedrich Schiller’s Paean to Universal Enlightenment, An die Freude (Ode to Joy)

Y.L. Peretz rejected cultural universalism, seeing the world as composed of different nations, each with its own character. Liptzin comments that “Every people is seen by him as a chosen people…”; he saw his role as a Jewish writer to express “Jewish ideals…grounded in Jewish tradition and Jewish history.” This is Peretz lampoon of the popularity of Friedrich Schiller’s idealistic paean made famous as the lyrics to the climax of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. . . .

On Belief Held in the Act of Prayer by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman

The one who prays to Hashem Yitbarakh should hold the belief that, from the start, there was a cause brought about by the everlasting One, and that S/He is the source of all completions, and S/He created all the worlds at the time when it arose in Hir will. . . .

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. . . .

אַ ייִדיש ליד, צער בעלי־חיים | Tsaar Baalei Ḥayyim [It is forbidden to cause] suffering to a living creature, a song in Yiddish

“Tsaar Balei Ḥayyim” ([It is forbidden to cause] suffering to a living creature), source unknown. Many thanks to Tiferet Zimmern-Kahan for recording the niggun for the song and to Naftali Ejdelman and The Jewish Daily Forward for providing the lyrics. . . .

הושׁענות | Hoshanot by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, translation by Gabbai Seth Fishman

A supplemental Hoshanot liturgy for Sukkot confessing a selection of humanity’s crimes against creation. . . .

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. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin (1969)

This prayer by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1969. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Lyndon B. Johnson by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel (1965)

This prayer by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel, Congregation Beth Israel (Houston, Texas), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1965. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Ronald Reagan by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk (1985)

This prayer by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk at the second inauguration of President Ronald Reagan was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 21, 1985. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Seymour Siegel (1973)

This prayer by Rabbi Seymour Siegel at the second inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1973. . . .

Inauguration Day Benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck (1961)

This benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1961. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein (1957)

This prayer at the second inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein, chancellor, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1957. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver (1953)

This prayer by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, of Cleveland, Ohio, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1953. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Harry S. Truman by Rabbi Samuel Thurman (1949)

This prayer by Rabbi Samuel Thurman, of the United Hebrew Temple (St. Louis, Missouri), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1949. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

You who love my soul Compassion’s gentle source, Take my disposition and shape it to Your will. Like a darting deer I will flee to You. Before Your glorious Presence Humbly I do bow. Let Your sweet love Delight me with its thrill Because no other dainty Will my hunger still. . . .

The Rainbow Haftarah by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (1993)

A declaration in 1993 by Rabbi Arthur Waskow in response to the impending danger of global warming and other ecotastrophes brought about by the callous harm of human industry and land use decisions. Translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. . . .

סדר לפסח: הארבה כוסות ואת הארבה חופשות | The Four Cups of Wine and the Four Freedoms, by Aurora Mendelsohn

Traditionally each cup in the Passover Seder is liked to a promise made by God in these verses, Exodus 6:6-7. The four cups can also be associated with the Four Freedoms first articulated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, which were an inspiration for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and were explicitly incorporated into its preamble. . . .

בלוס פון חלה | How the Grateful Dead, Jewish Text, and Worship Explain One Another and Raise Interesting Questions, by Virginia Spatz

I believe that even those who actively dislike the Grateful Dead, or always happily ignored them, will find ideas worth considering in this comparison. “I guess they can’t revoke your soul for trying.” – Robert Hunter Some years ago, my husband and I dragged our kids (then 11 and 13) to see the Dead. The kids asked why the folks in the parking lot were staying outside, even though the concert was scheduled to start: “How do they know when to go inside? Or, is the band waiting for them?” My husband, a non-Jew, noted that he was often similarly mystified by worship services: “How do they know when to it’s time for….?” Not long after that I was part of a small havurah gathering waiting for a minyan, and we got to talking about when we might expect various regulars. This started me thinking about when, how and why Jews show up to services. I realized my husband’s sentiment about worship services – like my kids befuddlement about Dead concerts – is shared by many Jews, even regular service-goers…. Over the years, I’ve been thinking about ways that Jewish text and worship and the Grateful Dead parallel one another. The result is this chart. . . .

על הניסים | Tanksgiv All the Boona, an al hanissim prayer of thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

With this in mind, I want to invite all Jews in North America that celebrate the secular/national holiday of Thanksgiving to consider what might be a thoughtful prayer on this day. For the few hundred years that our people have been here, as refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and as immigrants simply seeking better fortunes in a safer land, this Land has been a sanctuary. At the same time, even through the storied travails of our immediate ancestors, we cannot ignore the suffering endured by the indigenous peoples of this land who, first by devastating plague, and later through intentional acts of dispossession were murdered, massacred, forcibly displaced, and assimilated (forbidden to speak their language, separated from their families, made ignorant of their traditions) — experiences that must resonate with our own historical experience in the Diaspora. It seems immoral and obscene to me to be thankful without also being mindful of this complexity — how the fruits we enjoy in this Land have a rotten and dramatic history that we, now as residents of this continent, must at least consider in our prayers of thanksgiving. . . .

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. . . .

Haftarah Reading for Yom Kippur morning (Isaiah 57:14-58:14), a slightly midrashic translation by Arthur O. Waskow

As we move not just toward a new “year” (shanah) but toward a moment when repetition (sheni) becomes transformation (shinui), I hope we will remember the roots of Jewish renewal in the upheavals of the 1960s as well as the upheavals of the 1760s, the roots of Judaism in the great “political” speeches of the Prophets, and the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said that in a great civil rights march his legs were praying, and who argued again and again that “spirituality” and “politics” cannot be severed. As Heschel also said, “Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive.” . . .


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