Souvenirs_

Original Prayers & Poetry

Asher Yatzar 
Each day we rise and open our eyes

Sit up in bed and breath flows… in… and out… 

Feet planted firmly on the ground ready to support our bodies.

Souls filled with gratitude for the opportunity to live another day. 

 

.בָּרוּךְ אַתֳה יְיָ, רוֹפא כָל בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֹת

Baruch atah, Adonai, rofei chol basar umafli laasot. 

Blessed are You, Adonai, healer of all flesh who makes extraordinary acts possible.

Silent Meditation

As we enter into silent prayer, we take an extra moment to reflect on all of the lives affected by this pandemic. 

 

For those who are ill at home or in hospitals. 

For the families who are separated from loved ones as they fight off this virus. 

For those whose isolation has intensified their mental illness. 

For those who are subject to violence, trapped in homes with their abusers. 

For each one of us who has been affected by this shift in society.

 

Heal us Adonai and let us be healed, save us and let us be saved.

Shabbat Service - Reflecting on Domestic Violence
 

MiChamocha

What is freedom?

Freedom is being able to care for ourselves and our loved ones. 

Freedom is being able to pay the bills, to keep the water running, and the lights on.

Freedom is the ability to rest and know that those in our home will be safe as we sleep.

Freedom is being able to ask for help. 

Freedom is being allowed to say no.

Freedom is having control over our bodies.

Freedom is having support from our community. 

May there come a day when the whole world can experience true freedom.

Mourners Kaddish

For some, freedom never comes. 

Bruises are hidden behind makeup and scarves. 

Secrets are kept out of shame and humiliation. 

For some, violence and manipulation take hold and never let go. 

 

This Shabbat, along with the loved ones we hold in our hearts, 

We say Kaddish for those who could not escape the violence of their partners.

My Tallit

Wrapped around my shoulders hugging me tight

Like the jacket of my father when he called me “half-pint.”

Holding me close, it makes me feel safe

Reminding me, I’m not alone in this place. 

 

Ahavah Rabbah begins

and I wrap the fringe, 

around my finger

each corner spins.

 

And four become one

One God, our God, 

Adonai. 

 

Give yourself unto God

With all your heart, your soul, your might.

Living commandments are just that: alive

l'dor v'dor (from generation to generation) they change over time.

 

Wrapped around my shoulders hugging me tight

With all my heart, my soul, my might.

He is always with me 

Inside my heart, inside my mind.

His love lives on  

ldor v'dor

until the end of time.

Shabbat in Jerusalem 

The Shabbat siren sounds.

Within 18 minutes most homes shine bright from candlelight. 

The sun sets, silence sweeps across the city. 

The streets transform into sidewalks and fill with people,

Walking to shul or dinner.

 

Prayers are prayed.

Food is blessed, and food is eaten.

Birkat Hamazon and songs of Shabbat stream out open windows. 

Beautiful voices of prayerful men fill the empty silence of the city at rest. 

 

Saturday morning.

Men with long beards, black hats, and paot.

They pray and they study, and they study and they pray. 

Women with their children daven silently,

As to not disturb the day. 

 

As I approach them on the street I watch as they greet,

Each person they pass.

“Shabbat Shalom,” they say to one “Good Shabbos,” to the next. 

 

They notice me from afar,

Kippah atop my head, tallit in arm.

And suddenly.

I don’t exist.

 

I become invisible;

As if I blend into the limestone that coats the city high and low. 

But my kippah is so colorful,

It is just not possible.  

 

Our differences, that’s all they see. 

If only they stopped to get to know me. 

Our practice may be different,

But in the end we are the same. 

 

I look at them and I see Jews.

They see me and look right through.

Just like them.

I prayed and I studied, and I studied and I prayed.