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Reconstructionist Blessing before Torah Reading

The traditional blessing before reading from the Torah contains the phrase אֲשֶׁר בָּֽחַר בָּֽנוּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים (asher bakhar banu mikol ha’amim) — “Praised are you Lord our God, ruler of the Universe, who has chosen us from among all peoples by giving us the Torah.”  The Reconstructionist version of that phrase is rewritten as אֲשֶׁר קֵרְבָנוּ לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ (asher kervanu la’avodato), “who has drawn us to your service by giving us the Torah.” This change preserves the notion of Torah as our unique and precious Jewish vehicle for connection with the divine, while avoiding implications of superiority over other peoples and religions. 

A PDF of the Reconstructionist blessings before and after Torah reading may be found here (reproduced from Siddur Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat ve-Hagim, p. 399.)

 

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