חֶסֶד־וּמִשְׁפָּט אָשִׁירָה לְךָ | Ḥesed uMishpat Ashirah Lekha, a bentsher celebrating the wedding of Isaac Brooks and Eliana Fishman (2018)

An Ashkenazi Queer-Friendly bentsher. . . .

סִימָן לְבָנִים | Siman L’vanim: a birkon celebrating the wedding of Honi Sanders and Simona Dalin

The birkon/bentsher (blessing-book) prepared for the wedding of Honi Sanders and Simona Dalin on July 7th, 2019. . . .

בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן בִּקְצָרָה | Birkat HaMazon Biqtsarah :: Abbreviated Blessing after the Meal

The formula for the abbreviated Birkat Hamazon, in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

כׇּל יֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל | Kol Yoshvei Tevel: the L&L Wedding Bentsher, by Lara Chausow and Lauren Weiss

This is a bentsher that my wife and I made for our same-sex wedding, designed by Hillel Smith, based on a base text by José and Josh Portuondo-Dember. It is: fully egalitarian, has full transliteration, has non-gendered language for G-d, and has full option of wife/husband/spouse pairings for sheva brachot. The PDF attached is for anyone to use (it has a couple of errors, sorry about that), and if you want, you can download the Adobe InDesign file to edit and create your own bentsher! . . .

ברכת המזון | Ḥaveri Nevarekh: Blessing the Spirit of All-which-Lives after Eating and Feeling Satiated, a Birkon by Aharon Varady (v.1.01)

Unlike most plant and bacterial life, we human beings cannot process our own food from the sun, soil, water, and air. And so, as with the other kingdoms of life on Earth, we are dependent on vegetation to live, either directly by consuming plants, or indirectly by predating on other creatures that consume vegetation. Being nourished and seeking nourishment is so basic to us, that our practical desperation for survival undergirds most of our ethics relating to non-human life. But Judaism demands that our human propensity towards predation be circumscribed. Indeed, it is my understanding that the ultimate goal of Torah is to circumscribe and temper our our predatory appetites, and to limit and discipline our predatory behavior. In this way, our predatory instinct may be redeemed as a force for goodness in the world, and we might become a living example to others in how to live in peace and with kindness towards the other lifeforms we share this planet with. In 2010, while working with Nili Simhai and the other Jewish environmental educators at the Teva Learning Center, I began working on a Birkon containing a translation of the birkat hamazon that emphasized the deep ecological wisdom contained within the Rabbinic Jewish tradition. I continued working on it over the next several years adding two additional sections of source texts to illuminate the concept of ḥesronan (lit. absence or lacking) and the mitzvah of lo tashḥit (bal tashḥit). I invite you to include these works into your birkon along with other work that I’ve helped to share through the Open Siddur — especially Perek Shirah and other prayers that express delight in the created world and our role in it, l’ovdah u’lshomrah — to cultivate and preserve this living and magnificent Earth. . . .

How to craft a small siddur or bentsher by Aharon Varady

Beginning late last year, I began a project to translate the Birkat Hamazon using Rabbi Simeon Singer’s English translation and the Nusaḥ ha-Ari as the basis for publishing birkonim (or in Yiddish, benchers). The original work was sponsored by the Teva Learning Center and its executive director, Nili Simhai, to be used in birkhonim specifically designed for use during weekdays during Teva’s Fall season. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא