Secular Humanist Shma
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Secular Humanist Shma
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 night.
Teach them to revere all life.
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 (...
[Pour a nearly full glass of red wine again and add just a few drops of white. Drink all.]
We now come to our final cup; the drops of white in the red remind us of the first cup of this seder and of the cyclical nature of the seasons. This final section represents what is invisible to the eye. Instead of eating fruit, we may enjoy sweet smells like cinnamon and rosemary. Beyond the cycle of eating is...
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....
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,...
Candlelight is very different than the harsh lights of our homes and offices. We begin Shabbat bathed in their sweet, gentle glow.
Candles are lit a minimum of 18 minutes before sundown on Friday evening.
Light at least two candles (some add an additional candle for each child.)
Draw in the light by waving your hands toward your eyes three times.
Recite the blessing, while covering your eyes...
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...
Right before we begin Shabbat dinner, two uncut loaves of challah are uncovered. As they are raised, the following blessing is recited. After the blessing, the challahs are cut or torn into pieces which are distributed to everyone present. Some people lightly salt their piece of Challah before eating it,
comparing it to a divine offering from temple times.
Baruch ata Adonai,...
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.
Jewish meditation can refer to several traditional practices, ranging from visualization and intuitive methods, forms of emotional insight in communitive prayer, esoteric combinations of Divine names, to intellectual analysis of philosophical, ethical or mystical concepts. It often accompanies unstructured, personal Jewish prayer that can allow isolated contemplation, or sometimes the instituted Jewish services. Its...
Happy New Year! Traditionally, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is a time of introspection and reflection. How did we do in the past year? What are we hoping to change in the coming year? During this meal we will rejoice in being together, and think backwards on the year that was, and forward to the year that will be. Plus delicious food, puns, and casting off some bad karma. To a sweet new year!