Lighting Shabbat and Festival Candles: Humanist Liturgy

Humanistic Judaism was founded as a congregational movement in 1963 by the late Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, and has emerged as a stream of Judaism that enables people of any ethnic or religious background to cherish Jewish history, culture, and ethics without worshipping or praying to a supernatural being. 

Leader Says:


נְבָרֵךְ אֶת הָאוֹר

כַּאֲשֶׁר נִקָבֵץ בְּצַותָא

(לְהַדְלִיק נֵרוֹת שֶׁל שַׁבָּת (וְיוֹם טוֹב

בְּאוֹר נְבָרֵךְ אֶת הַחַיִּים

N’varekh et ha-or 

ka-asher nikavets b’tzavta
l’hadlik nerot shel Shabbat (v’yom tov).
B’or n’varekh et ha-hayyim.
All read aloud together:
Let us bless the light as we gather together to kindle Sabbath (and festival) candles. With light let us bless life.
(Congregant lights the candles.)
As we rest from our work taking care of our narrower mundane concerns, let us move toward those more expansive and transcendent. Let us deepen our selves and renew our world by engaging in labors of love: fostering and transforming family and friendships, community and humanity. As we journey together through life, may such flames as these light our ways and ever remind us to share the warmth of our hearts and the hearths of our homes, the rainbow of our wisdoms and the radiance of our inspirations.

As an affiliate of the Society for Humanistic Judaism (SHJ), Machar is part of the national and international Humanistic Judaism movement. The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ) is the educational arm of our movement, training rabbis and other leaders. 


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