This blessing was written for the installation of a ramp in the Minnie Petrie Synagogue at the HUC-JIR NY Campus.
Etz hayyim hi lamakhazikim bah,
It is a tree of life to those who hold fast to it,
and all who cling to it find happiness.
We honor our TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. through study, through relationships,
Through touch, through curiosity and wonder.
For too long, the sefer Torah in our sanctuary
Has been out of reach for many.
Today we honor our community’s progress
Toward its mission of bringing us close to Torah
And Torah close to us
With the addition of this ramp to our bimahThe stage or platform on which the person leading prayers stands.
Derakheha darkhei noam
Vekhol netivoteha shalom
Its ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all its paths are peace.
May this ramp serve as a conduit of Torah
Honoring the dignity of each member of our community
Granting access, safety, and leadership to all
Hashiveinu Adonai eilekha v’nashuvah
Hadeish yameinu ke’kedem
Return us to you, God, so that we shall return
Renew our days as of old.
Let this one point of access be just the beginning
So that all who wish to cling to Torah
May freely enter our building and sacred spaces
And may find themselves represented in our sacred texts and traditions.
Return us, we who are created in Your image,
To the holy task that lies ahead
To each other
Ken yehi ratzonLit. "May it be Your Will ..." The opening of many petitionary prayers..