Tradition & Innovation

10 Things to Consider When Designing a Ritual

By Rabbi Roni Handler

1) What moment or experience are you marking?

2) What is the goal? (i.e., how do you measure whether it “works”)

3) Who is the ritual focus? (an individual(s) or the whole group)

4) Is this a new, adapted, or traditional ritual? (or aspects of more than one of these)

5) Who are the participants and what are their roles? (think about the roles of everyone present: community, officiant/facilitator)  

6) What preparation does each participant need to be ready for this moment?

7) What are the texts that are informing or incorporated into your ritual?

8) What are the objects/symbols that are a part of your ritual? (Jewish? Family heirlooms?)

9) What is the role of music (if any)?

10) What are the actions that make up your ritual? How does it begin? What is the emotional/spiritual high point? How does it end? (Think about the structure of ritual as having a narrative arc, just like a story)

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