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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, and the one that’s coming up.
We raise a glass and pronounce a toast to the Shabbat day, declaring it to be a celebration in remembrance of God’s resting from the work of Creation and our Exodus from Egypt.
Kiddush is made up of three parts — an opening paragraph drawn from the Book of Genesis, which recalls God’s resting on the seventh day, a blessing over the wine ( borei pri ha-gafen ), and a blessing for the Shabbat day (...
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...
Food that is eaten daily can be taken for granted. One of the ways Judaism helps us to keep our sense of appreciation alive is by instituting blessings to be said before and after eating.
Wonder or radical amazement is the chief characteristic of the religious man’s attitude toward history and nature. One attitude is alien to his spirit: taking things for granted, regarding events as a natural course of...
Named for the 15th day of the month of Shevat, this festival is known as the New Year of the Trees or the Tree's Birthday. Although it's hard to believe when you live in New England. this time of year is beginning of spring in the Middle East. The first almond blossoms have opened and the sap in the trees is beginning to rise. Therefore, it's traditional to eat fruits from Israel on Tu B'Shevat: figs, dates, grapes,...
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...
The Yamim Noraim (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) are here. We’re tasked with reflecting on our lives and practicing teshuvah (returning). Through teshuvah we examine our actions over the past year, seek forgiveness from ourselves, others, and the Divine and dedicate ourselves to do better next year. These sacred days provide an opportunity to ask ourselves the hardest questions and explore all the...
Salutation to the Dawn
Look to this day, for it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of achievement,
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a...
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...