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I started giving blessings at High Holiday services at my shul. I sat in the lobby and put up a sign on an empty chair offering blessings. Since then I've created a simple format and trained people. The "Blessing Booth" has become part of High Holiday services and many Friday evening services.
Giving a holy blessing is a beautiful thing. Anyone can learn to do it. It is brief, under five minutes. It is not therapy, it is about blessing them with what they want and need now. I enjoy doing it and people love receiving blessings. Go forth and bless.
I sit in a chair facing an empty chair.
(Put them at ease.) Hello, welcome, what is your name, how are you, good Shabbos, good y ontiff, have you ever gotten a bracha (blessing)before? How was it?
Is there an area of your life in which you want extra divine attention?
Are there any other areas in which you want support?
What name of God are you most comfortable with?
Pause & Connect
Hold hands and breathe for a moment. Use this time to connect, feel this person.
Pray to God for clarity, support, that God help you deliver what this person needs.
Ask if you can put your hands on the person's head. Most people say yes however they might be more comfortable having you put your hands on their shoulders, hold hands, or just sit beside each other.
Speak in first person: I bless you, we bless you, God Bless you, this community blesses you, that..... Go big, speak what their heart really yearns for, give additional blessings for other parts of their lives, their families, friends, etc.
Pause and hold the space until they open their eyes and are ready to move on.
Pause to let go of this person. Put them in G-d's hands. Disconnect. Move to the next person. If you hold on to the people you bless, you will be depleted. We give them our best, and let them go. The rest is between them and the Creator.
The meal is coming to a close. But we’re not quite done yet. One of the most important parts of Rosh Hashanah is sounding the shofar. A ram’s horn makes a primal cry, and it speaks to something deep in our soul, waking up something inside us that was dormant, or asleep.
If you have a shofar, blow it now! If not, make some noise some other way. Belt out a song or try a primal scream. Do what you need to do to...
Nearly all Jewish holiday begin with lighting candles, and so this one will, too. After we light the candles we wave our hands in three big horizontal circles to symbolically bring the light closer to us, and then cover our eyes while we say the blessing. When the blessing is over take a moment of silent reflection with your eyes covered, and then open your eyes and enjoy the beauty of candlelight, bringing you into the...
Introduce yourself to the people sitting on either side of you. Share a blessing that you received over the past week with them (“I had really great luck with parking spots today” “I got a good grade on a big exam this week” “I made it to exercise class three times this week and it felt wonderful and empowering”). If you can’t think of anything, just say, “I made it through the week to Shabbat!” After...
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