בסיעתא דשמיא

אֶשָׂא עֵנַי | An adaptation of Esa Eynai (Psalms 121:1-2), by Ed Towbin-Issur haLevi

At B’nai Havurah, the Denver Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, located in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, we consider this psalm a local favorite. Psalm 121, described as a Song for the Ascents, traditionally looks to the heights, where godly powers were believed to reside, such as Mt. Sinai, or the Acropolis, to find divine help, in the person of God or The Unseen One. My proposal is a variation that adjusts our focus to this world, away from the supernatural, to acknowledge our responsibility for the well-being of ourselves and the environment. Whatever deeds and actions that may need to be taken for repair and preservation of our world, we are responsible for. To look for others to do the work for us, or to postpone acting until divine help comes, may turn out to be the height of recklessness for our own, as well as our children’s future. First we acknowledge what is here and real, then we commit to do what we can to solve problems and make things better. This variation is designed to allow it to be sung, with some adjustments, in community with others who are singing the traditional version in Hebrew and English. . . .

תפילה בין השריפות | Abridged Prayer Between the Fires (between the 32nd and 42nd days of the Omer, neohasid.org)

“Between the Fires” by Rabbi David Seidenberg, originally published at neohasid.org, is derived from the prayer of Rabbi Arthur Waskow (the Shalom Center), “Between the Fires: A Prayer for lighting Candles of Commitment” which draws on traditional midrash about the danger of a Flood of Fire, and the passage from Malachi. Another version of this prayer by Rabbi David Seidenberg, “A Prayer between the Fires (between the 32nd and 42nd days of the Omer)” is available, here. . . .

כוונה להדליק נרות | Between the Fires: A Kavvanah for Lighting Candles of Commitment, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (the Shalom Center)

“Between the Fires: A Prayer for lighting Candles of Commitment” was composed by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, drawing on traditional midrash about the danger of a Flood of Fire, and the passage from Malachi. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Barry Block on 31 January 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 31 January 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Sanford Akselrad on 28 March 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 28 March 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Richard Boruch Rabinowitz on 3 May 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 3 May 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim on 17 May 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 17 May 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Hershel Lutch on 21 June 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 21 June2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Gary Klein on 27 June 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 27 June2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff on 18 August 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 18 August 2017 . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff on 1 September 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 1 September 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner on 24 October 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 24 October 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Mara Nathan on 19 January 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 19 January 2018. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Seth H. Frisch on 27 February 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 27 February 2018. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Shlomo Segal on 25 April 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 25 April 2018. . . .

תפילה לנספים בשטפונות | Prayer for Flood Victims (Masorti Movement in Israel)

Flash floods are dangerous in every season, but are rare in the dry season, after most rain and snow are thought to have fallen. Changes in the global climate due to global warming caused by anthropogenic activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and the conversion of land for raising animals for their meat is a significant contributor to extreme weather experienced around the world. The Masorti Movement of Israel’s prayer for flood victims was first published on their website, here. . . .

Kavvanah between Lag BaOmer and Yom Keshet (the 42nd day of the Omer), by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This is a prayer to be read between the 18th and the 27th of Iyyar (בין י״ח ו-כ״ז באייר), between the 33rd (ל״ג) and 42nd (מ״ב) days of the Omer. . . .

תפילה בין השריפות | Prayer between the Fires (between the 32nd and 42nd days of the Omer, neohasid.org)

This is a prayer to be read between the 17th and the 27th of Iyyar (בין י״ז ו-כ״ז באייר), between the 32nd (ל״ב) and 42nd (מ״ב) days of the Omer. . . .

תפילת הנוטע | Prayer for a Tree Planting, by Zeev Kainan (2018)

This prayer for planting was composed by Zeev Kainan for Tu biShvat (2018) for the Masorti Movement for Conservative Judaism in Israel. . . .

תפילה לשלום המדינה | Prayer for the Peace of the State of Israel, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Proposed flag of the Judenstaat (Jewish State) by Theodor Herzl. As he wrote: "White field, seven golden stars."

The familiar prayer for the State of Israel, which is more literally titled “a Prayer for Peace for the State” tefilah lish’lom hamedinah, was written in 1948 by Rabbi Yitsḥak haLevi Hertzog (edited by S.Y. Agnon) in what had up until then been Palestine, in a time of war. The state was under direct attack by the Arab armies, and there was little distinction between peace, survival, and victory. As we approach Israel’s 70th birthday, it is time to make such distinctions. Israel and the Jewish people live in a much more complex reality today, where the triumph of one political party or set of goals can radically change the outlook for peace, and the possibility of justice. In our time, praying for peace for the state of Israel mist include praying for the rectification of its relationships with neighboring countries and with the Palestinian people, some of whom are Israeli citizens, and most of whom are in some way under Israel’s control. This prayer assumes that the best reality for the Jewish state is also the best reality for all of her citizens and for everyone who lives “in the land,” no matter where they are in relation to the Green Line or Areas A, B and C. . . .

סֵדֶר לְיוֹם הַשׁוֹאָה | Seder for Yom haSho’ah, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The most traumatic event in recent Jewish history is the Holocaust. At this time, the survivors of the camps are aging, and in the lifespan of people alive today it is likely that the last survivor will die. We say we must never forget what happened during the Holocaust, but if we think of it as a tragedy that happened to our ancestors we will forget. But it has been 3000 years since the Exodus from Egypt, and the Haggadah keeps its history vivid and alive. We are taught that in each and every generation we are to think of ourselves as having been slaves in Egypt. May it be that just as we never forgot the wonders of the Exodus, so too we never forget the horrors of the Holocaust, and continue to strive that such horrors may never happen again until all live in freedom and peace. . . .

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. . . .

תהלים | Reading of Psalms for the Weekly Portion, by Isaac Gantwerk-Mayer

This is a system that seeks to create a Haftarah-like system for the reading of Psalms, linking their meaning to the meaning of the reading or the Shabbat of that day. Like the Haftarah system, there are special psalms for the Shabbatot leading up to and following the Ninth of Av, as well as specific psalms for Rosh Chodesh and the special Shabbatot. Unlike the Haftarah system, if two portions are read together or a special Shabbat occurs on a day when another reading is done, both psalms are read (since psalms are generally shorter and easier to read than prophetic texts.) . . .

סידור עֹלת תמיד | Siddur Olas Tamid, by Aaron Wolf (2017)

Siddur Olas Tamid is a Hebrew-only, nusaḥ Ashkenaz siddur compiled by Aaron Wolf and shared under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Based upon the Siddur Tefilos Sefos Yisroel compiled by R’ Rallis Wiesenthal, Siddur Olas Tamid was laid out and formatted in open-source XeLaTeX code shared from Aaron Wolf’s github account. . . .

the past didn’t go anywhere: making resistance to antisemitism part of all of our movements, by April Rosenblum (2007)

It’s always a real struggle for the Left to successfully tackle oppression within its own ranks. But when we do it, our movements gain, every time, from the deeper understandings that emerge. To start the process this time, we need some basic information about what anti-Jewish oppression is and how to counter it. But it has to come from a perspective of justice for all people, not from opportunistic attempts to slander or censor social justice efforts that are gaining strength. . . .

Pray as if the Earth Matters: A Tu BiShvat Seder, by Sarah Barasch-Hagans, et al (The Shalom Center)

Created by students of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Written by Sarah Barasch-Hagans, Sarah Brammer-Shlay, Miriam Geronimus, Lonnie Kleinman, Chayva Lerman, Michael Perice, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, May Ye. Formatted and Edited by Sarah Barasch-Hagans.

Hebrew English

As We Begin…

…We Pause and Ground Ourselves.

✴✴✴✴✴

. . .

הגדה לסדר פסח | MLK +50 Labor-Justice Interfaith Freedom Seder, by R’ Arthur Waskow and The Shalom Center

The MLK+50 Interfaith Freedom Seder woven by the Shalom Center to reawaken and renew the prophetic wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during holy week and Passover in the 50th year since his death. . . .

The First Battlestar Galactica Seder Haggadah [for Passover] (2008)

With gratitude to the One True God, and to the original creators, this is a derivation of the “Battlestar Seder Haggadah” prepared by David “Razor” Lieberman, Alison “Fat Six” Ogden, and Mary “Actual” Bruch, for “A Seder on Battlestar Galactica,” an event held on Saturday, 26 April 2008, on Earth. The seder was first posted to galacticahaggadah.com and later to battlestarseder.org under a GNU Free Document License. Both of these domains having gone to ruin, the Haggadah was thankfully preserved on the Wayback Machine thanks to the Internet Archives. I resurrected the Haggadah, adding the following: 1) alternate blessings for crypto-Cylons, 2) संस्कृतम् sourcetext in Sanskrit script along with annotation indicating the source of the prayer/mantra included, 3) a short prayer that Priestess Elosha recites at the very beginning of the funeral scene near the end of the miniseries. –Aharon Varady . . .

הגדה לסדר פסח | The Wandering is Over Haggadah: Including Women’s Voices, by Jewish Boston and the Jewish Women’s Archive (2011)

Hebrew English

Happy Passover!

Tonight we gather together to celebrate Passover, our holiday of freedom. We will eat a great meal together, enjoy four glasses (at least!) of wine, and tell the story of our ancestors’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. We welcome our friends and family members from other . . .

A Modern Esther Tribute for Purim and Women’s History Month, by Rabbi David Evan Markus

Purim affirms Esther’s stand against official silencing, abuse of power, misogyny and anti-Semitism. At first an outsider, Queen Esther used her insider power to reveal and thwart official hatred that threatened Jewish life and safety. We celebrate one woman’s courageous cunning to right grievous wrongs within corrupt systems. The archetype of heroic woman standing against hatred continues to call out every society still wrestling with official misogyny, power abuses and silencing. For every official silencing and every threat to equality and freedom, may we all live the lesson of Esther and all who stand in her shoes: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” . . .

The Megillah of Esther: An Original English Rendition Set to Trōp, by Ḥazzan Jack Kessler

The Megillah of Esther: An Original English Rendition (set to trop) by Ḥazzan Jack Kessler was first published in 1990. This second “version 2.0” edition was published in 2016. . . .

Prayer after a Mass Shooting at a Public School, by Rabbi David Dine Wirtschafter

Rabbi David Dine Wirtschafter writes, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Marshall County, Kentucky who, now have joined an ever growing list of places to experience a mass shooting at a public school. We grieve for the families of the two teenagers who were killed. May the 18 others who were injured speedily recover from their wounds. These incidents are terrible no matter where they happen but there is something all the more unsettling when they occur so close to home.” . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in presentation format, by rabbis Rachel Barenblat and David Evan Markus (Bayit: Your Jewish Home 5778)

The Bayit’s Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in PowerPoint presentation format was designed to be projected on a screen to save paper; accompanied by instructions for how to celebrate Tu BiShvat. . . .

A Haftara for Martin Luther King Shabbat, by Rabbi Marcia Prager and Ḥazzan Jack Kessler

These quotations from Dr. King’s speeches were edited by Rabbi Marcia Prager and set to Haftarah Trop by Hazzan Jack Kessler. This adaptation was first published in Kerem (Fall 2014), in Jack Kessler’s article, “English Leyning: Bringing New Meaning to the Torah Service.” . . .

“I have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.: a Haftara reading for MLK Shabbat with cantillation added by Rabbi David Evan Markus

In 2017, Rabbi David Evan Markus prepared the end of Dr. King’s famous speech read at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963) with trope (t’amim, cantillation). The following year on Facebook he shared a recording of the reading hosted on Soundcloud. Rabbi Markus writes, “This weekend at Temple Beth El of City Island, I offered the end of Dr. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, which I set to haftarah trope because I hold Dr. King to be a prophet. When my community applauded, I offered President Obama’s response, ‘Don’t clap: vote.’ And do more than vote: organize, donate, volunteer, help, heal, advocate. Only then, in Dr. King’s words quoting Isaiah 40:5, will ‘all flesh see it together.'” . . .

תפילה לעצי היער על ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Prayer for the Trees of the Forest on Tu biShvat, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Hebrew English אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ (וְאִמוֹתֵינוּ), חַדֵּשׁ אֶת הַיְּעָרוֹת בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבְכָל הָעוֹלָם. וּשְׁמֹר אֶת הַעֵצִים בַּהֶם, מְחַדְּשֵׁי הָאֲוִיר, וְשׁוֹמְרֵי הַחַיִּים. וְהָאֵר אֶת לֵב הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר חוֹתֵךְ אוֹתָם בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וּבְכָל אָרְצוֹת בָּעוֹלָם, כַּכָּתּוּב: ”לֹא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן“ (דברים כ:יט), וְגַם בְּדִּבְרֵי שְׁלֹמֹה הַמֶּלֶךְ כָּתּוּב: ”עֵץ־חַיִּ֣ים הִ֭יא לַמַּֽחֲזִיקִ֣ים בָּ֑הּ וְֽתֹמְכֶ֥יהָ מְאֻשָּֽׁר“ (משלי ג:יח). . . .


בסיעתא דארעא