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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.
by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman,
Temple Sinai, Brookline, MA
Holy One of Blessing!
Grant us strength to be part of a holy uprising
A resistance against the forces of destruction
For we stand in witness of the unity of Creation.
Grant us patience to work well with others
In groups of fellow uprisers
To honor and uplift Your sacred name.
Grant us wisdom to...
We all have thoughts and feelings from the past year that we’d like to get rid of or forget. During tashlich, we take some breadcrumbs and sprinkle them into a body of water, symbolically ridding ourselves of the sins and bad feelings that have been weighing us down. Now we can go into the new year with a clean slate.
This is adapted from an original post that I wrote in 2010.
The 10 Days of Repentance represent the window of time in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, during which time we are meant to repent on the sins of the past year. I’ve always found it tough to focus on this and properly bring it down to earth, so I developed this writing exercise to help me through it. It can work for anyone, irrespective of faith....
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