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Shabbat begins with the lighting of two candles. As you prepare to light the candles think of the light that you found in the world over the last week. Think of the light that you hope to find in the week to come.
We wash our hands in the same way that the ancient priests would purify themselves before engaging in the Temple service. Since we no longer have a Temple, today our tables are our altars.
Wash your hands with water, pouring three times onto each hand, and recite the blessing.
Maintain silence until everyone has finished washing, and are ready to break bread together. In place of speech, however, one is...
Fasting on Yom Kippur is not as obvious as one might think. Nowhere does the Torah explicitly command it. Instead, the verses teach us to “afflict ourselves” without defining the nature of this “affliction.”
We do know that Yom Kippur is about atonement and forgiveness. So how does “afflicting” ourselves through fasting relate to teshuva ? Many assume that fasting is a form of...
The quintessential Rosh Hashanah treat is apples and honey. Take a sweet, crisp, apple and dip it in some honey. Before eating we say a mini-blessing, hoping that the year to come will be tova umetukah, good and sweet!
Pick up a slice of apple, dip it in honey, and say:
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam borei pri ha-eitz.
We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the...
Af-Bri (Anger-Health) is the name of the angel of rain; he thickens and forms clouds, he empties them and to cause rain. Water to crown the valley’s vegetation, may it not be withheld because of our debt. In the merit of the faithful ancestors protect the ones who pray for rain. Blessed are you, Hashem, shield of Abraham. You are eternally mighty, my Lord, the resuscitator of the dead; abundantly able to save. May the...
It’s time to say thank you. To your host or to your guests. To the people who have supported you through the last year, and the people who inspire you going forward. Say a real thank you--be as specific as you can, because thank yous are like fuel--they power us for the year to come. And don’t forget to thank God (or the creator/the Universe/the mystical source of connection) one more time for the year you just had,...
Wine or grape juice are also standards of nearly every Jewish holiday. Before we eat we take a moment to say a blessing over a glass of wine. In this special version Rosh Hashanah is called Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembering, and Yom Truah, the Day of Calling Out. Tonight during our meal we will do some remembering, and some calling out. We will also focus on the gratitude we feel for the past year, and all of the...
The traditional confessional prayer, the Vidui, is composed of two parts, the Ashamnu and the Al Chet, that we read aloud on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The Ashamnu (translated as “we have trespassed” or “we are guilty”) is an abbreviated confession, an alphabetic acrostic, and written in first person plural. We recite this confessional in the plural to...
A beautiful ceremony marks the end of Shabbat on Saturday evening. This ending ritual is called Havdalah, which means separationor distinction in Hebrew. The Torah teaches that God created the world by making distinctions, first between light anddarkness, next between water and empty space, then between earth and water. The final distinction made in that week of creation was between regular time and holy time. Just as...
Hear, Oh Israel,
The universe is one.
All humanity is one.
And you shall love your fellow humans
With all your heart
And all your soul,
And all your might!
These words inscribe on your heart
And on your doorposts.
Repeat them and teach them to your children
By day and by...