tagged: North America

 

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. . . .

תְּפִילַּת ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Prayer for Tu BiShvat from the Seder Pri Ets Hadar, adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This prayer for Tu Bish’vat, derived from the prayer included with the seder for Tu Bish’vat, the Pri Etz Hadar, are based on the Kabbalah of the four worlds and the ancient idea that everything physical is an image of the spiritual. . . .

ברכות התורה | Blessing for Torah Study, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

This English translation of the blessing for Torah study by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification according to the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

תהלים ל׳ | Psalms 30 by David (interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

This is an English translation of Psalms 30 by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). The translation was set side-by-side with the original Hebrew by Aharon Varady. . . .

סידור זכרון יהודה לייב | Siddur Zichron Yehudah Leib, a Friday Night Siddur dedicated in honor of Leonard Nimoy, z”l (2017)

The goal of this project was to produce a complete prayerbooklet for the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv service that was as compact as possible yet user-friendly. This booklet is designed to be printed on 9 double-sided sheets of paper, folded and saddle stapled. It was commissioned for a minyan held annually at the Arisia science fiction convention in Boston, MA, and dedicated in honor of Leonard Nimoy, z”l (1931–2015). Since Arisia takes place in mid-January, we omitted all special insertions for holidays and other times of year. A companion booklet which includes insertions for year-round use is in the works. . . .

הסדור השלם (נוסח האר״י)‏ | HaSiddur HaShalem (Ḥassidic-Sefardic), a bilingual Hebrew-English prayerbook translated and annotated by Paltiel Birnbaum (1969)

The Ḥassidic-Sefardic edition of Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem, a bilingual Hebrew-English comprehensive prayerbook arranged and translated by Paltiel Birnbaum for the Hebrew Publishing Co. in 1969. . . .

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

A prayer book ( maḥzor ) for the Jewish penitential holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, translated and arranged by Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser (1907-1984). . . .

הַסִּדוּר (אשכנז)‏ | HaSiddur, a bilingual Hebrew-English prayerbook translated and arranged by Rabbi Ben-Zion Bokser (1957)

Ben Zion Bokser’s popular mid-20th century modern prayerbook for Conservative American Jewry. . . .

מחזור השלם לראש השנה ויום כפור (אשכנז)‏ | Maḥzor ha-Shalem l’Rosh ha-Shanah v’Yom Kippur, translated and arranged by Paltiel Birnbaum (1951)

A bilingual Hebrew-English maḥzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Ashkenaz). . . .

סידור תפארת דוד (נוסח האר״י)‏ | Siddur Tifereth David, a bilingual Hebrew-English prayerbook arranged by Ḥayyim Alter Segal (1951)

The first nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l (“Sefardic-Ḥassidic”) prayerbook with a relatively complete English translation, published in 1951 by the Hebrew Publishing Company. . . .

הסדור השלם (אשכנז)‏ | HaSiddur HaShalem, a bilingual Hebrew-English prayerbook translated and annotated by Paltiel Birnbaum (1949)

The first edition of the Daily Prayerbook, Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem, compiled and translated by Paltiel Birnbaum (Hebrew Publishing Co. 1949). . . .

ברוכה הבאה | Blessed be the newcomer!, a ceremony for the naming of a baby daughter by Joshua Gutoff (ca. 1989)

A ceremony for the naming of a baby daughter. . . .

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

The Rabbinical Assembly of America’s popular mid-20th century modern prayerbook for Conservative American Jewry based upon the work of Rabbi Morris Silverman. . . .

הגדה לסדר פסח | Haggadah of the Inner Seder, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The Haggadah of the Inner Seder focuses on revealing the inner structure of the seder. This haggadah gives signposts and cues as to where the important shifts in meaning are happening. It also makes clear the seder’s structure and adds in some commentaries that will make sense of not just what things mean but how they work. It also includes some of the customs I am fond of. It does not include a lot of material meant to update the seder or to bring in contemporary issues (though it does have a few commentaries related to peace between Israelis and Palestinians). The Haggadah is 18 pages long. . . .

Ceremony of Gender Affirmation and Name Change, by Lilah Rosenfield

A public ceremony for celebrating the Gender Affirmation and Name Change of a man, woman, or non-binary person. . . .

Musical Liturgy and Traditions of Colonial American Jews

Early American Jewry’s liturgies and rituals were conducted in a western Sephardi tradition which had developed in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in Amsterdam. Although most of the members of the first American Jewish communities were of Spanish and Portuguese origins, their worship evolved in the style of the Dutch Sepharadim. These oral transmissions led to adaptations and variations but Sephardi ḥazzanim (cantors) succeeded in passing their repertoire down to succeeding generations. These tunes are still identified with the American Sephardi tradition. . . .

“People of the (Open Source) Book” by Dan Mendelsohn Aviv (Key Publishing, 2012)

All of the individuals mentioned in this chapter—designers, bloggers and innovators—are engaged in a transformative endeavour. The digitization of seminal Jewish texts with the ability to remix, share and annotate them has changed the way in which they are perceived as texts. In the eyes of the Next Jew, these documents are no longer static artifacts to be passively consumed. They are vibrant, dynamic entities that grow with each user’s engagement. This engagement is also continual, ever-evolving and, though personal, also connects the individual to the broader Jewish learning community. In other words, every text is accompanied by a threaded discussion and more Jews are taking part, be it through creating their own religious texts or adding their voice to the emerging “Spoken Torah” of the Jewish blogosphere. Though Jewish community was historically maintained by the work of elites, be they the priests, soferim, or rabbis, the Next Jew no longer relies on scholars sequestered in yeshivas to carry the weight of the tradition. All one needs today is commitment and a stable Wi-Fi connection. . . .

ספר תפילות לשבת | Sabbath Prayer Book, by the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation (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. . . .

הגדה שיר געולה | Haggadah Shir Ge’ulah (Song of Liberation) for Passover, by Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater

Haggadah Shir Ge’ulah, the Song of Liberation, is a new Haggadah for Passover. It is at once traditional and radical, featuring egalitarian Hebrew and English, full transliteration, progressive theology, and a focus on modern issues of oppression and liberation. It is my hope that this Haggadah will elicit questions from all participants, and that everyone will find something in it to challenge them: both people steeped in Jewish learning and used to traditional texts, and also people who are new to the Passover seder or are coming from different worldviews and ideologies. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

תפילה למדינת ישראל | Prayer for the State of Israel, by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (2002)

My heart, my heart goes out to you Zion Tears, jubilation, celebration, grieving Did we not dream a dream that came to be? And here it is—both song and lament. . . .

A Prayer for Israel, by Rabbi Nahum Waldman z”l (2004)

This prayer for Israel was written by Rabbi Naḥum Waldman (1931-2004) for T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. T’ruah works to ensure that Israel remains a safe and secure home for Jews and a place that lives up to the ideal stated in the State of Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence that Israel “will foster the development of the country for all of its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” . . .

A Prayer for Kavvanah, by Amanda Rush

Hashem, as I open my Siddur, let me pray with proper kavanah. Let me pray with sincerity, paying careful attention to every word I utter. Hashem, let me concentrate with my whole being on the meaning of each and every word, sentence and prayer. Keep my mind from wandering to other subjects, and keep me from neglecting to put my heart and soul in to each and every prayer, praise and blessing. May my prayer come before You, O Hashem, at a time of grace, and may it be accepted favorably by You. Amen. . . .

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 the Sudden Relief from Chronic Pain, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Rabbi Menachem Creditor first shared this prayer in the Open Siddur Project discussion group on Facebook, here. . . .

Oración por nuestra tierra | תְּפִילָת הָאָרֶץ | A Prayer for Our Earth, an ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis, translated and adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

An ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis from his encyclical, Laudato Si (praise be to you) from May 24th, 2015. Here’s my draft of a Hebrew translation of Pope Francis’ prayer for our earth. It turns out no one had translated it yet. The translation includes sparks from the High Holiday liturgy. I thought we should have it available for Rosh Hashanah, even though I’m sure the translation could use more work and more feedback. . . .

A Blessing for the Bugs on the Jewish New Year’s Day for Animals, Rosh Hashana La-Behemah, by Trisha Arlin

I have come to see That we are not the only creatures who are B’tzelem Elohim, We are all in God’s image. So today, on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, On the New Year of the Domesticated Beasts, Let’s give thanks to the bugs Like the four questioning children Wise and snarky and simple and oblivious, Like the four worlds of the kabbala The earth, the sky, the heart and the spirit We give thanks and acknowledge The bugs we have domesticated The bugs who serve us in their wild state The bugs that hurt us or gross us out And the bugs who live only for themselves, without any reference to us. . . .

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. . . .

סדר אושפיזין / אושפיזתא | Seder Ushpizin and Ushpizata: Inviting the Avot and Imahot into your Sukkah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The essential idea of the liturgy of Ushpizin is to invoke the energies of the seven lower Sefirot in the proper order, so that Shefa, blessing and sustenance, can be drawn down into the world. This is the essence of Kabbalistic liturgy, and a liturgy of the imahot would only make sense if it were to follow that pattern. That means we have the playfully serious task of finding a stable order for the imahot where no clear order exists. . . .

תפילת גשם בזכות האמהות | Prayer for Rain in the Merit of the Matriarchs by Rabbi Jill Hammer

The time of Sukkot is a time of fullness and generosity, but also a time to pray for the coming season. Shemini Atzeret, the festival when we pray for rain, is an expression of our need for water, which in the Jewish tradition symbolizes life, renewal, and deliverance. Tefillat Geshem, a graceful fixture of the Ashkenazic liturgy, invokes the patriarchs as exemplars of holiness and model recipients of God’s love. This prayer uses water as a metaphor for devotion and faith, asking that God grant us life-sustaining rain. While its authorship is unknown, it is sometimes attributed to Elazar Kallir, the great liturgist who lived sometime during the first millenium. Each year, we are reminded of our people’s connection to the patriarchs and to the rhythms of water, spiritual and physical sources of life, through this medieval piyyut. While we know that rain is a natural process, formal thanksgiving for water as a source of life, energy, and beauty reminds us that our Creator is the source of our physical world and its many wonders. . . .

תְּפִלָּה לַעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר עַל ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Prayer for the Trees of the Forest on Tu biShvat, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Ti Bishvat prayer for the trees of the land of Israel and the world over, that they not be victims of deforestation. . . .

עמידה | Weekday Affirmations Based on the Amidah, by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (2009)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included these Weekday Affirmations based on the Amidah, in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). . . .

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! . . .

תפילת העמידה ביום חול | My Weekday Amidah, by Effron Esseiva

This is Effron Esseiva’s morning Amidah (standing prayer) for weekdays. Effron writes, “It’s called Shmonei Esrei (18) because it used to have eighteen brakhot (blessings). However, it has an additional brakha to bring it to nineteen. This is my interpretation of the Teissa Esrei (19) with abridged kavvanot (intentions).” . . .

מי שענה… הוא יעננו | Mi She’anah… Hu Ya’anenu – A Seliḥah for Yom Kippur (egal adaptation by Lisa Exler and R’ Julia Andelman, 2004)

An egalitarian adaptation of the seliḥa for Yom Kippur. . . .

ימים נוראים | My Ten Days of Repentance Writing Exercise, by David Wolkin

David Wolkin writes, “I’ve been pushing this writing exercise for a while now, but I taught a class with it in my home on Sunday and it proved to be powerful and connecting for all of us in the room. If you’re reflecting/repenting this season, you might benefit from this.” . . .

ודוי חיובית | Positive Vidui, by Rabbi Avi Weiss

Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez writes, “Rav Avi spoke to us a few times as he was working through [composing] this [vidui] and I am truly moved by it. Let us not only remember and confess our wrong doings, but also what we did right this year.” . . .

A Jewish Prayer for Peace between England and her Colonies on a public day of fasting and prayer, 17 May 1776

Fred MacDowell: “Then, as now, war was looked upon by many as a great evil, especially between brothers, and many American Colonists only wanted the oppressive measures of King George III to be lifted, bloodshed ended, and peace restored. The nascent American Congress called for a day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” along these lines for May 17, 1776. It was for this occasion that this prayer was recited in Congregation Shearith Israel in New York. As you can see, a complete service was arranged for this occasion, meant to invoke the solemnity and seriousness of the occasion; after morning prayer, Taḥanun was to be sung to the tune of a Yom Kippur pizmon; a dozen Psalms recited, and then the Ḥazan would recite this prayer written for the occasion, and of course all were to be fasting. The prayer hopes for a change of heart for King George III and his advisors, that they would rescind their wrath and harsh decrees against “North America,” that the bloodshed should end, and peace and reconciliation should obtain between the Americans and Great Britain once more, in fulfillment of the Messianic verse that Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Of course this was not meant to be, and six weeks later the American Congress declared independence from Great Britain, and there was no walking back from the hostilities which had already occurred.” . . .

A blessing for you if you need one, from Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

On May 15th, 2018, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg tweeted this blessing. . . .

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. . . .

מי שברך למיני פשעי שנאה | Mi sheBerakh for Hate Crimes and Bigotry, by Isaac Gantwerk-Mayer

From resurgent neo-fascist movements to religious extremist attacks, hate crimes are on the rise all over the world right now. At times like this many people live in fear – fear of being attacked or maligned, physical, mental or emotional. Hatred is not new to the Jewish people, but traditionally it was considered “just the way it is.” As Americans, we should believe better. The midrash (Devarim Rabbah 5:10) says that hateful speech kills three – the speaker, the listener, and the subject. This Mi Sheberakh was written as a prayer for all those of every people and nation that are affected by hatred and bigotry. . . .

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. . . .

קדיש יתום | Mourner’s Ḳaddish for a Minyan of Ten People (including Jews and non-Jews), by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

A “secular” kaddish after my mother died so that I could say kaddish under circumstances where I could gather ten people but not ten Jews. . . .

ברכות על קריאת התורה | Blessing over the Torah Reading, at Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Reb Arthur Waskow, and others helped to formulate this grammatically feminine Hebrew blessing for an oleh in their blessing over the Torah reading, in the early years of Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia (1988-1983). . . .

Kavvanot when Washing One’s Body Before Shabbes, by Eyal Raviv

This is pre-Shabbos reflection that can be done in a shower or bath. Shabbat is a time when I am less focused on my selfish desires and instead my thoughts drift to my place in the larger community and world. I find myself doing some version of this before Shabbos most weeks and am welcome for the time to reflect on truly what it is to cease from lay work and consider the work that needs to be done to make the world a better place. . . .

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. . . .

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) . . .

ברכות ותפילות לרגל עדות העטרה של החמה | Blessings and a Prayer for Witnessing a Solar Eclipse by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Blessings and prayers for the eclipse, at: neohasid.org/eclipse including texts and links to other Internet resources. May we all find blessing in the wonder. . . .

תפילה לעולם החי | Prayer for the Living Earth by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

I offer here a prayer for the Earth, which you may wish to use in your personal prayer practice or as part of a community to which you belong. It could be included as one of the prayers after reading the Torah. . . .

מי ששכנה… היא תשכן עמנו | Mē She’shakhna… Hē Tishkon Imanu – a Seliḥot Plea for Biblical Women by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

There is a famous Seliḥot prayer where each of its lines has this structure: “May He who answered ___________, may he answer us.” The blank refers to assorted Biblical figures who faced great challenges, ranging from Avraham the Patriarch to Ezra the Scribe. The traditional list is also VERY male-focused, with the standard text only listing Esther from all the great Biblical women. This is a shame, and many have tried to remedy this. I have found myself under the opinion that all these remedies have a fault – they attempt to combine the original text with the new text. This means either the original text is shortened, or the full text is far too long. As well, the structure is very male-oriented as well, appealing to God’s male side and only using grammatically male language. . . .

Prayer after a Mass Shooting at a Public School, by Rabbi David Dine Wirtschafter (2018)

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.” . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening: A Tu biShvat Seder Haggadah Celebrating our Kinship with the Trees and the Earth, by Barak Gale & Ami Goodman (1991, unabridged)

Loading

THE . . .

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 לישראל ופלסטין | Prayer for Israel and Palestine by IfNotNow-Chicago (5778)

On 29 September 2017 IfNotNow Chicago writes, “Tonight begins Yom Kippur. We are asking our community, when you say the prayer for Israel this Kol Nidre, will you say it for all the people that live in Israel and Palestine? Will you stand for freedom and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis? Our members have re-imagined the Prayer for the State of Israel. We hope you use this New Prayer for Israel and Palestine, and share it with your own community.” . . .

תפילה לשלום ופיוס לישראלים ולפלסטינים ולכל העם | A Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation for Israelis, Palestinians, and all People by Rabbi Samuel Feinsmith

Master of compassion and forgiveness, Cosmic Majesty Who is peace— Teach us Your ways, Show us the path that preserves life. Take note, Lord, for we are suffering deeply. Our guts are wrenched, Our hearts are turning within us. Violence has devoured outside, and inside it feels deathly. When enemies rose up against us to kill our babes, Courageous, precious boys, full of the light of life, shining like the radiance of the sky, Our hearts became angry, our vision lost its strength, and our spirits sunk. And still we turn to you— . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

קִדּוּשׁ שֶׁל שִׁחְרוּר עַל שַׁבָּת ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Shabbat Kiddush of Liberation for Shabbat Tu biShvat, by Mark X. Jacobs (1993)

We call to sukkat shalom, the shelter of peace, all of our various selves To rest from the contortion of social life and the demands of others. We liberate ourselves and each other from roles and titles labels and closets positions and pretendings internalized oppressions and oppressive projections hierarchies and competition. . . .

“On Prayer,” by Abraham Joshua Heschel (1969)

Rabbi Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel’s speech, “On Prayer,” delivered at an inter-religious convocation held under the auspices of the U.S. Liturgical Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 28, 1969. His talk was printed in the journal Conservative Judaism v.25:1 Fall 1970, p.1-12. . . .

תפילה לעגונות | Prayer for the Liberation of Agunot, by Shelley Frier List (2005)

Creator of heaven and earth, may it be Your will to free the captive wives of Israel when love and sanctity have fled the home, but their husbands bind them in the tatters of their ketubot. Remove the bitter burden from these agunot and soften the hearts of their misguided captors. Liberate Your faithful daughters from their anguish. Enable them to establish new homes and raise up children in peace. Grant wisdom to the judges of Israel; teach them to recognize oppression and rule against it. Infuse our rabbis with the courage to use their power for good alone. Blessed are you, Creator of heaven and earth, who frees the captives. . . .

A Cantillation System For Ezra/Neḥemiah, Chronicles, and Daniel, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

There are 24 books in the Tanakh. Of these, 21 (all but Psalms, Proverbs, and Job) share a grammatical system of cantillation marks, or te’amim. Of these 21, Ashkenazim have melodic traditions for reading eighteen of them. The Torah has its system, the prophets have the Haftarah system, the three festival scrolls have their shared system, and Esther and Lamentations have their own unique systems. But what of the three remaining books? . . .

“The Spirit of Jewish Prayer,” by Abraham Joshua Heschel (1953)

“The Spirit of Jewish Prayer,” by Abraham Joshua Heschel was a speech given at the Fifty-Third Annual Convention of the Rabbinical Assembly of America which took place at the Breakers Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey from Tammuz 9 to Tammuz 14, 5713 (June 22 To June 27, 1953). The speech was subsequently published in the Proceedings of the Rabbinical Assembly of America v.17. . . .

“Prayer,” by Abraham Joshua Heschel (1945)

The essay, “Prayer,” by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel, then Associate Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew Union College, published in Review of Religion vol. 9 no. 2, January 1945. . . .

קדיש | A Ḳaddish by Rabbi Daniel Brenner

Make the God-name big. Big and holy. Do it in this world, This creation sprung from consciousness, And bring some order to this. Do it fast, soon, in our lives, in the days ahead, in the life of the people we call home. Everybody join with me: May the name be blessed forever and ever! . . .

תְּפִלָה לְחַג הָעֲבוֹדָה | Prayer for Labor Day, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

This is a petition for the worker in the style of “Av Haraḥamim” and similar texts, using Biblical and Mishnaic language and co-opting it into a new meaning. It could be read after the Torah service (like many other petitionary texts) or focused on in private. The Biblical relationship between God, humanity, and labor is fascinating. Often it is treated as a curse placed upon us, and just as often as the purpose of humanity. In Genesis 3:19 it is the curse placed upon a disobedient First Adam, but less than a chapter earlier in Genesis 2:15 it is the reason for First Adam’s creation in the first place! In the past century or so, traditional Judaism has somewhat tilted away from the ideas of worker’s rights so clearly stated in the Tanakh and in rabbinic texts. Partially this was to disassociate from the Bundists, partially out of fear of “looking too Communist” in a xenophobic American society, and partially because the Jewish working class is nowhere near as substantial a part of the community as it once was. If this text is meant to do anything, it’s to show that love of God and love of the worker aren’t opposed to each other – in fact, they go hand in hand! . . .

An Ashkenazi-style Cantillation System for Proverbs, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

An Ashkenazi-style cantillation system for the Book of Proverbs. . . .

An Ashkenazi-style Cantillation System for Job, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

An Ashkenazi-style cantillation system for the Book of Job. . . .

An Intention for the New Year (5779), by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

“An Intention for the New Year (5779)” was first published by Rabbi Menachem Creditor online at his blog and shared with the Open Siddur Project through our Facebook discussion group. . . .

אל רם חסין יה | El Ram Ḥasin Yah, a piyyut for Sukkot by Shlomo haPaytan (egal adaptation by Noam Sienna, 2012)

This is one of my favourite Sukkot piyyutim, not least because of the wonderful and easily singable call-and-response melody! The seven verses each highlight one of the seven traditional ushpizin [mythic guests], and a few years ago I wrote an additional seven verses for the seven female ushpizata according to the order of Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org). . . .

שבע ברכות לנפשות קשורות | Seven Blessings For Interlinking Souls, by Rabbi 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. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרָךְ לִמְקַבְּלֵי שֵׁם אֱמֶת אַחַר אִשּׁוּר מְגַדְּרִי | Mi sheBerakh for those receiving a true name after gender confirmation, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Mi sheBerakh prayer, in the manner of those used during the Torah service, to honor those receiving a true Hebrew name reflecting their gender after undergoing gender confirmation. . . .

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. . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening, a Tu Bishvat Seder Haggadah by Barak Gale and Ami Goodman with excerpts from the P’ri Ets Hadar (1991 abridged)

Tu biShvat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, was designated by the Talmud as the New Year for the Trees. It was tax time for HaShem, a time of tithing for the poor. This tithing has its origin in the following Torah verse: “Every year, you shall set aside a tenth part of the yield, so that you may learn to revere your God forever.” The Kabbalists of 17th century Safed developed the model of tikkun olam that we embrace today — healing the world by gathering the scattered holy sparks. To encourage the Divine flow — shefa — and to effect Tikkun Olam, the Kabbalists of Safed (16th century) created a Tu biShvat seder loosely modeled after the Passover seder. In recent decades we have learned how the well being of trees is intimately connected to the well being of all creation. This relationship is clearly stated in the following Midrash: “If not for the trees, human life could not exist.” (Midrsh Sifre to Deut. 20:19) Today the stakes of environmental stewardship have become very high. Tu biShvat calls upon us to cry out against the enormity of destruction and degradation being inflicted upon God’s world. This degradation includes global warming, massive deforestation, the extinction of species, poisonous deposits of toxic chemicals and nuclear wastes, and exponential population growth. We are also deeply concerned that the poor suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation. Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote: “[Human beings have] indeed become primarily tool-making animal[s], and the world is now a gigantic tool box for the satisfaction of [their] needs…” . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu BiShvat Seder to Heal the Wounded Earth, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (The Shalom Center)

This Tu BiShvat haggadah focuses on healing the wounded Earth today, with passages on major policy questions facing the human race in the midst of a great climate crisis and massive extinctions of species. In each of the Four Worlds in this Haggadah (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) there are traditional, mystical, and poetical passages, and in each there are also contemporary passages on aspects of public policy (Earth: food and forest; Water: fracking; Air: climate; Fire: alternative and renewable energy sources.) These policy-oriented passages help make this a distinctive Haggadah. After these passages, this Haggadah encourages Seder participants to take time for discussion. They may also decide to omit some passages and/or add others. The desire for such a Haggadah grew from discussions of the Green Hevra, a network of Jewish environmental organizations. Thanks to Judith Belasco, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Sybil Sanchez, Rabbi David Seidenberg, Richard Schwartz, Rabbi David Shneyer, and Yoni Stadlin for comments on an earlier draft of this Haggadah. . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | On Sweet Fruit and Deep Mysteries: Kabbalistic and Midrashic Texts to Sweeten your Tu Bishvat Seder, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

From [the Holy One’s] form/to’ar the constellations are shimmering, and God’s form projects the exalted ones. And Her crown blazes [with] the mighty, and His garment flows with the precious. And all the trees will rejoice in the word, and the plants will exult in His rejoicing, and His words shall drop as perfumes, flowing forth flames of fire, giving joy to those who search them, and quiet to those who fulfill them. . . .

סדר לפסח: אליהו הנביא | A reflection on despair and suicide awareness to be read upon opening the door for Elijah at the Passover seder

Although God often speaks to humanity in the rumble of earthquakes, the roaring of wind and the thunder of storms, God spoke to Elijah, instead, in a still small voice. And, it was the nurturing power of the still small voice that slowly gave Elijah the courage and strength to be able to peek out of his deep abyss. On this night when we welcome Elijah to join our celebration, we acknowledge those who are so pained that they cannot fully celebrate, for joy eludes them. Although we may witness their physical wound with our eyes, we must also find ways to become attuned to their spiritual hurt and their emotional despair. The blood from the wound in their heart may not be visible and the cry in the depth of their throat may not be audible unless we train ourselves to attend to them. But, they are there. Our challenge is see and hear the pain of those whose depression affects their lives. Our response does not have to be bold in order to make a difference. A still small voice can transform a frown into a smile. A caring whisper that says, “I care” can raise a stooped head. A tender embrace can provide salve to a soul racked with pain. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

סדר לפסח: כוונה לסדר | A Kavvanah for Human Rights for the Passover Seder, from T’ruah

We are hereby ready to fulfill our obligation of K’vod Habriot, respect for the dignity of every human being. We pray that our fellow citizens shall not be the source of suffering in others. We commit ourselves to raise our voices in support of universal human rights, to know the heart of the stranger, and to feel compassion for those whose humanity is denied. May our compassion lead us to fight for justice. Blessed is the Source of Life, who redeemed our ancestors from Egypt and brought us together this night of Passover to tell the story of freedom. May God bring us security and peace, enabling us to celebrate together year after year. Praised are you, Source of Righteousness, who redeems the world and loves justice and freedom. . . .

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. . . .

תפילת טל | A Prayer for Dew, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Geshem and tal: rain and dew. We pray for each in its season, geshem all winter and tal as summer approaches…not everywhere, necessarily, but in the land of Israel where our prayers have their roots. In a desert climate, water is clearly a gift from God. It’s easy for us to forget that, here with all of this rain and snow. But our liturgy reminds us. Through the winter months, during our daily amidah we’ve prayed “mashiv ha-ruach u-morid ha-gashem” — You cause the winds to blow and the rains to fall! We only pray for rain during the rainy season, because it is frustrating both to us and to God when we pray for impossibilities. . . .

The Last Tisha b’Av: A Tale of New Temples, by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman (2006)

Long ago there came a Ḥassid, visiting from Vitebsk to see his Rebbe. Struggling up hills, over cobblestones, through narrow alleyways, the Ḥassid came panting, shaking, to the door of a pale and quiet synagogue. So pale, so quiet was this shul that the pastel paintings on the wall and ceiling stood out as though they were in vivid primary colors. As the Ḥassid came into the shul, he saw his Rebbe high on a make-shift ladder, painting a picture on the ceiling above the bimah. . . .

עלת תמיד | Olath Tamid: Book of Prayers for Israelitish Congregations, by David Einhorn (1st English ed. 1872)

Rabbi David Einhorn’s (1809-1878) prayer book `Olat Tamid (lit. the perpetual sacrifice)…first penned in Germany, served as the model for the Union Prayer Book,….the prayer book of the American Reform movement for almost eight decades. It reflected what is now called “classical Reform,” eliminating prayers for the restoration of Zion, mentions of the messiah, and bodily resurrection of the dead, while diminishing mentions of Jewish chosenness and the like. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | A Hadran Mi sheBerakh Upon Completing the Writing of a Sefer Torah, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Misheberach Avoteinu Avraham Yiztchak veYa’akov, ve’Imoteinu Sarah Rivkah, Rachel, veLeah – May the One who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless this scribe who has, through the commitment of her heart, devotion of her soul, and skill of her hands, invited us to return to Torah, turn with Torah, and turn Torah over and over again. Please, God, sweeten the words of Torah in our mouths and in the mouths of all people. May we all, old and young, touch the Sacred and be preserved and strengthened. We thank You, Adonai, for the privilege of experiencing the overflowing well of Torah, and for the sweetness of those who give it life. May this Soferet, our friend and teacher, be blessed to do her work in this world experiencing abundant safety, security, and love. May she only know the grace she bestows on her People Israel, her community who needs her gift so very deeply. May we all learn and love Torah, even more than we already did. Amen. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Rebirthing the Tree(s) of Life: Four Teachings for the Four Worlds of Tu BiShvat/Yah BiShvat by Arthur Waskow

The four teachings above are connected with the Four Worlds that the kabbalists saw as the architecture of the universe. When the Kabbalistic community of Tz’fat created the Seder for Tu BiShvat/ Yah BiShvat, they unfolded these Four Worlds in four cups of wine and four sorts of fruit and nuts (one sort so ethereal it was invisible and untouchable). This year, the full moon of Shvat will fall on Shabbat Shira itself, January 24-25. . . .

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

A worker’s prayer by Rabbi Stephen Belsky, dedicated to Noam Ezra ben haRav Moshe z”l. . . .

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. . . .

עלינו | Aleinu, interpretive translation by Joshua Gutoff

Ours is to praise the Master of all; to recognize the greatness of the One who fashioned our beginning. Not as a nation-state, nor as a tribe; but by giving us a particular task, a particular fate: to bow, to bend, to acknowledge the Authority over all authority, the Blessed Holy One, who stretched out the expanse and gathered the substance, filling the farthest emptiness and humbling the heights. This alone is our God, the one true ruler. . . .

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… . . .

מי שברך לאסונות טבע | Mi sheBerakh for Natural Disasters, by Isaac Gantwerk-Mayer

A Mi Sheberakh prayer for those affected by natural disasters. This prayer uses many standard liturgical phrases in a new context to stress that God, while full of great power, is not a God of destruction but one of peace and life. Quoting the famous vision of Elijah at Ḥorev, this prayer is for those who seek comfort and tranquility from their God. . . .

תפילת יחיד | Tefillat yaḥid: a prayer for when praying by oneself, by David Zvi Kalman

God and God of my forefathers and foremothers, as I stand here in an innermost room and pray, so too should you in an innermost room heed my questions, my praises and my requests, both from the utterances of my mouth and the utterances of my heart. Even if I am silent, you will know that my tefilla is directed towards you, who is One and whose name is One, alone in all the worlds. My heart is awake and my voice knocks. Open for me, my Lord, my Perfect One, the gates of Tefilla. . . .

Meditation on the World of Yetsirah for the Tu biShvat Seder, by Ben Murane

The Tu Bishvat seder is a metaphor. But usually we use metaphor in our daily lives to accomplish, persuade, inspire or explain. There is something we’re bending metaphor to accomplish. This meditation is an exercise in free-thinking. Here, just play with metaphor for the sake of expressing and exploring your emotional state, history, anticipations and apprehensions. Each of the quotations from the Torah or rabbinical writings below represents an emotion. After we say the blessing over the olives, read the quotations, pick one (or more) that resonate, and play with the metaphor to reach a deeper understanding of yourself and others. . . .

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! . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Mi sheBerakh for Victims of Slavery, by Rabbi Joshua Boettiger (2009)

We are grateful to Rabbi Joshua Boettinger and Rabbis for Human Rights–North America (RHR-NA) for sharing the following petitionary prayer, A Misheberakh for Victims of Slavery. Originally published by RHR-NA on their website in 2009, the prayer attends to the desperate need to eradicate all forms of slavery that persist today, especially in advance of the holiday celebrating our Z’man Cheruteinu, the season of our freedom, every Spring, every Pesaḥ. . . .

תפילה בין השריפות | Abridged Prayer Between the Fires for Lag Ba’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. . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Seder Rosh Hashanah La’Ilan: A four worlds seder for Tu Bishvat, by Rabbi R. Karpov

A four worlds, neo-ḥasidic haggadah for the Seder Tu BiShvat . . .

ברכה לסבוב הסביבון | A Blessing for Dreidel Spinning, by Lieba B. Deutsch

Every Jewish holy day, even Shabbat and the highest ones, we call forth all the 22 Hebrew Letters to join us in celebration. For those of us who study Kabbalah from within the realm of the Alef-Bet, Ḥanukkah is unique in that we are given a magical tool with which to activate these signs and wonders. . . .

Kavvanah between Lag BaOmer and Yom Qeshet (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. . . .

A Prayer for Health in Work, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

A holistic prayer for health in work. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא