Judaism has a beautiful tradition of blessing the children on Friday night before making The prayer recited over wine on Shabbat, holidays, and other joyous occasions.. Parent(s) traditionally place their hands on the head(s) of their children as they bless them. The traditional blessing is gendered with a version for daughters and one for sons, as they are blessed to be like the matriarchs or Ephraim and Manasseh. In some families, the mother blesses the daughter(s), and the father blesses the son(s).
But not all families fit this model; not all children fit the gender binary, and not all families consist of parents and children.
This resource is intended to make this ritual inclusive for all kinds of families—those who want a gender-neutral traditional version, and those who are not the traditional family structure, such as queer chosen families. We hope that it makes people appreciate loved ones in their lives and reflect on the meaning of family.
All of the blessings below have been made gender neutral. Since Hebrew is a gendered language, we have followed the policy of Camp Habonim Dror that modifies plural words by combining the masculine and plural endings, im and ot, to become “imot,” and by using “ol” endings for singular gendered words, taken from “kol”—a word meaning “all.” For example, “you,” traditionally translated as the masculine “atah” or feminine “at,” becomes “atol”.
We invite you to say any and all of these blessings that resonate with you and your family.
Gender-neutral traditional blessing:
This is a gender-neutral version of the traditional Blessing for the Children, using both the male and female ancestors.
May God make you like The first matriarch, wife of Abraham, and mother of Isaac, whom she birthed at the age of 90. Sarah, in Rabbinic tradition, is considered holy, beautiful, and hospitable. Many prayers, particularly the Amidah (the central silent prayer), refer to God as Magen Avraham – protector of Abraham. Many Jews now add: pokehd or ezrat Sarah – guardian or helper of Sarah., The second Jewish matriarch, Isaac's wife, and mother to Jacob and Esau. Rebecca is an active parent, talking to God when she is pregnant and learning the fate of her children, then ultimately manipulating Isaac and the children to ensure Jacob's ascendancy. Her Hebrew name is Rivka., Lavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem., The third of the Jewish matriarchs, Lead is the eldest of Lavan's daughters and one of the wives of Jacob. She is the daughter whom Lavan tricks Jacob into marrying instead of his younger daughter Rachel, whom Jacob has requested to marry. Leah is mother to six of the the twelve tribes and to one daughter, Dinah., Ephraim and Menashe.
May the Holy One bless you and keep you.
May the Holy One shine light upon you and be gracious to you.
May the Holy One turn towards you and give you peace.
יְשִימְכֹל יְיָ’ כְּשָׂרָה, רִבְקָה, רָחֵל, לֵאָה, אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה
יְבָרְכֹל יְיָ’ וְיִשַׁמֶּרְכֹל
יָאֵר יְיָ’ פָּנָיו אֵלֵכֹל וִיְחֻנֶּכֹל
יִשָּׂא יְיָ’ פָּנָיו אֵלֵכֹל וַיָּשֶׂם לְכֹל שָׁלוֹם
Y’simkhol Elohim k’sarah, The second Jewish matriarch, Isaac's wife, and mother to Jacob and Esau. Rebecca is an active parent, talking to God when she is pregnant and learning the fate of her children, then ultimately manipulating Isaac and the children to ensure Jacob's ascendancy. Her Hebrew name is Rivka., rakhel leah ephraim u’menashe.
Yivarekhekhol Adonay v’yishmarekhol.
Ya’er Adonay panav elekhol v’yihunekhol
Yisa Adonay panav elekhol vayasem lekhol shalom
Blessing for chosen family
We honor and celebrate the queer community’s history of making their own chosen families. For this ritual, a mentor or elder may bless their mentee, or two people may stand opposite each other, hands on each other’s heads, and bless each other individually or in unison.
As Jacob's eldest son by his beloved wife, Rachel. Joseph, the dreamer, was his father's favorite and nearly murdered by his brothers. Sold into slavery, he became viceroy of Egypt where he ultimately saves the Egyptians and also his own family from starvation. His Hebrew name is Yosef/ said to Lit. heel Jacob is the third patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca, and father to the twelve tribes of Israel. More than any of the other patriarchs, Jacob wrestles with God and evolves from a deceitful, deal-making young man to a mature, faithful partner to God. His Hebrew name is Yaakov., “Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine like Reuben and Simeon” (Genesis: 48:5), blessing his grandchildren like they were his own, I will love and bless you like you were my own children. Though we are not flesh and blood, we are heart and soul. I do not walk alone. I am bonded to you like An important female biblical character with her own book. The Book of Ruth, read on Shavuot, tells the story of Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and their return to Israel. Ruth’s story is often read as the first story of conversion. Ruth is the grandmother of King David. and Naomi—“where you go I will go, where you lodge I will lodge; your people is my people” (Ruth: 1:16).
כְּמוֹ שֶׁיּוֹסֵף אָמַר לְיַעֲקֹב ״וְעַתָּה שְׁנֵי בָנֶיךָ הַנּוֹלָדִים לְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ מִצְרַיְמָה לִי הֵם אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה כִּרְאוּבֵן
וְשִׁמְעוֹן יִהְיוּ לִי״ (בראשית, מח, ה). אוֹהַב אֶתְכֹל וְאַבַרֶךְ אֶתְכֹל כִּיְלַדַי. אַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁאֲנַחְנוּ לֹא בָּשָׂר וָדָם, אֲנַחְנוּ לֵב וְנֶפֶשׁ.
אֲנִי לֹא הולֶךְ לְבַד. אֲנַחְנוּ קִשּׁוּרִימוֹת זֶה בְּזֶה, כְּמוֹ רוּת וְנָעֳמִי, “אֶל אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ, וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין, עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי”
(רוּת, א, טז).
K’mo Yoseyf amar l’yakov, “Ephrayim uMenashe kiruvein v’shimon yi’yu-li,” l’vareikh nekhdein k’ yal’deiv, ohav etkhol v’avareich etkhol k’yal’dei. Af-al-pi sh’anakhnu lo basar v’dam, anakhnu leiv v’nefesh. Ani lo holekhol l’bad. Anakhnu kosh’rimot zeh bazeh k’mo Rut v’Na’a’mi, “El-asher teilkhi eileikh uva’asher talini alin ameikh ami.”
Blessing for queer youth
This blessing was created for all queer folks, especially queer youth, who do not have anyone to bless them. We remember that over 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ, and keep them in our hearts this Shabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends..
And we bless everyone in the LGBTQ community: those who are not with us, those who do not have homes, those who are closeted, and all those who are only on the beginning of their journey. May they find acceptance and home. May they find a chosen family that loves and supports them. Our community’s arms are wide open to welcome them.
אֲנַחְנוּ מְבַרְכִימוֹת אֶת כֹּל קְהִלַּת הַלַהַטְבַ’ק: אֵלוֹ שֶׁכְּבָר אֵינָם אִתָּנו, אֵלוֹ לְלֹא קוֹרַת גַּג, הַסְּגוּרִימוֹת בָּאָרוֹן, וְכֹל אֵלּוּ שֶׁרַק
בִּתְחִלַּת מַסָּעָם. יִמְצָאֶנָּה קַבָּלָה וּבָיִת. יִמְצָאֶנָּה מִשְׁפָּחָה אוֹהֶבֶת וְתוֹמֶכֶת. זְרוֹעוֹת קְהִלָּתֵנוּ פְּרוּשׂוֹת לִרְוָחָה לְקַבְּלָם
V’anakhnu m’var’khimot et kol k’hilat halahatbak: eilu shekvar einamn itanu, eilu l’lo korat gag, hasogrimot ba’aron, v’kol ailu sh’rak b’t’khilat masa’amn. Yim’tze’na et The tradition of Jewish mystical interpretation of sacred texts. The foundational kabbalistic text is the Zohar. v’bayit. Yimtze’na mishpakhah ohevet v’tomekhet. Z’ro’ot k’hilatnu por’sot lirvakhah l’kablam.
This ritual was originally published on Keshet’s website.