Blessing in Honor of Ritualwell’s 20th Anniversary

This blessing was written in honor of Ritualwell’s 20th anniversary celebration on December 20, 2021.

My blessing tonight draws heavily on Marcia Falk’s reimagining of Jewish prayer. She sought to harness the power of our millennia-old blessing formula in a manner that stays in deep relationship with our past, that reflects our current values, that points us toward the future and, like all ritual should, helps us to get there. Marcia’s solution was to shift from male God language that presumes a supernatural God in a manner that reinforces existing hierarchies into a formula that centers on the community we create together and that empowers us to co-create with the divine and with each other a present and a future filled with wisdom and justice. This formula is extremely apt for a blessing celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ritualwell. Ritualwell is a premier example of Reconstructionist methodology brought to life for the benefit of the entire Jewish community and other seekers. Ritualwell harnesses the power and the wisdom embedded in our Jewish tradition in a manner that is accessible to and reflective of the experiences of all Jews. Ritualwell aims to honor and also to destabilize the elite hierarchical vision of our past and to offer a more inclusive and democratic pathway that trusts in and reflects and celebrates the wisdom, cherishes the experiences, and consoles the pain of the full breadth of the Jewish community, on our own and in abiding relationship with the wider world.

נברך את עין החיים – Nevarekh et ayn ha’hayyim… let us bless the source of life for our very being, and for the gift of life. Out of awareness of our precious existence, may we act with intentionality to shape our lives.

נקשר ונתקשר – Nekasher ve’nitkasher… let us connect and communicate powerfully with one another, to cultivate empathy and compassion, to build sacred communities that will sustain us and our descendants.

נחדש ונתחדש – Nehadesh ve’nithadesh… let us renew our legacy and through it renew ourselves. Let us cherish the rich Jewish traditions we have received and draw deeply on their wisdom, and let us be empowered to expand that heritage to enlarge our own vision and that of the whole community.

נקדש – Nekadesh… let us recognize the holiness of each individual’s life, to act in ways that magnify each person’s holiness and to sanctify their sorrows and joys through ritual.

נודה ונהלל – Nodeh u’ne’hallel… let us acknowledge with gratitude the grace we have received just by being alive and the agency we have to act in the world to expand justice and compassion. Let us express this gratitude through action and poetry and praise. Bekhol yom nehallel le’olam va’ed, every day and evermore, may we sing praises.

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