Ritual and Liturgy | Reconstructing Judaism
Ritual and Liturgy

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Rabbi Toba Spitzer explores the obstacles to prayer posed by stale language about God, and suggests new language that may ease our way in finding connection.

Sheet music for a new setting of the traditional Friday night Lecha Dodi prayer.

Music, Shabbat, Ritual and Liturgy

Prayers written for insertion into Aids Awareness Shabbat services

Prayer For The State Of Israel from Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim, the Shabbat and Festival siddur of the Reconstructionist Movement

Israel, Ritual and Liturgy

Rabbi Alan LaPayover (RRC '02), recorded the prayers of the Reconstructionist liturgy for the High Holiday services. The sound files are available for listening and download from links on this page.

Wine is the traditional vehicle for prominent Jewish ritual moments. At the same, Jewish communities contain people who struggle with alcohol.  Rabbi Richard Hirsh outlines simple steps to recognize and support all in a community who wish to participate. 

This lesson, for use with Siddur Kol Ha'Noar, helps acquaint children and adults with the idea and practice of Shabbat.

Reconstructionist prayerbooks use an altered version of the blessing before reading Torah. We affirm Torah as our unique and precious Jewish vehicle for connection with the divine, while avoiding implications of superiority over other peoples and religions. 

A child of Holocaust survivors, Rani Jaegar composed a yizkor prayer for Righteous Gentiles that is unique and breaks new ground. It tells the story of those who saw suffering and knew how to find their humanity. It remembers that “righteousness is an everlasting foundation” that breaks boundaries.

Rabbis’ manuals and traditional liturgy will only take us so far in meeting the needs of contemporary Jews and Jewish communities. This network will be an opportunity to pool our collective knowledge and expertise to create and discuss meaningful and innovative Jewish rituals.

Ritual and Liturgy

Using examples from Reconstructionist composers, we will explore how the music of Shabbat is related to the spirit and energy of each time of day.

Shabbat, Ritual and Liturgy

The Jewish tradition has a beautiful bedtime ritual that helps people of all ages to pause nightly, take account, practice forgiving and feel secure. We will explore methods of teaching these prayers to enable parents and others to design the Jewish bedtime ritual that best suits their families.

Ritual and Liturgy

Prayers and resources for discussion following the November 2016 Presidential election in the United States.

This is a short Passover reading that expresses appreciation for people of backgrounds and identities other than Judaism. It would work well in a community seder, as well as home seders. 

Yigdal, one of the most beloved of the medieval piyyutim (liturgical poems) summarizes the thirteen principles of the Jewish faith as formulated by Moses Maimonides (RaMBaM; late 12th century C.E.). Reconstructionists often proudly assert that when we pray with a Reconstructionist siddur, we feel that we can 'say what we mean and mean what we say,' because our liturgical language reflects Reconstructionist theology. How might a Reconstructionist interpret the words of Yigdal in this way?

This distance learning conference call explores the dynamics of worship and the human impulse to pray, some of the deep structures of Jewish prayer services, and specifically Reconstructionist liturgy.

The phrase "Next year in Jerusalem" occurs at the end of every Passover seder. This piece suggests ways to use that phrase as an entry point to a deep educational experience. 

Pesakh, Israel, Ritual and Liturgy

Together we will explore how life cycle rituals can provide opportunities to honor and express a wide range of Jewish identities and experiences.

Inclusion, Ritual and Liturgy

Today's global context is increasingly calling people to meet their religiously-diverse neighbors, break down stereotypes and explore challenging issues together. This series brings interfaith dialogue from the ivory tower into the pews.

Networks and COPs are fast becoming a strategy employed across the Jewish community to connect and engage people in meaningful ways. Leaders overseeing these strategies are generally guided by best practice, yet still have questions. 

A recording of  the Reconstructionist text of the Kiddush prayer for the Passover seder.

Pesakh, Music, Ritual and Liturgy

This audio program, recorded in 1998, offers an overview of the structure, development and religious meanings of the haggadah and the Passover seder.

Fuller Aleynu prayer for Siddur Kol Hano'ar

Hebrew text of the services found in the Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Veḥagim prayer book.
This lesson helps children and adults delve into the meaning and feeling of the Hashkiveinu prayer.

The tone of Tisha B’Av shifts in the afternoon, allowing for the mourning to begin abating. The afternoon service includes words of consolation. Rabbinic tradition teaches that the Messiah will be born on this saddest of days, a message that we can interpret as a vision of hope and peace arising from the ashes. The survival of the Jewish people despite these tragedies permits us to end our fast and return to everyday life. When the personal or communal observance of Tisha B’Av is compressed into a shorter period than a full day, it is worthwhile to consider how to bring this hopeful vision into that observance. —B.P.This excerpt from The Guide to Jewish Practice explains the practices associated with Tisha B'Av.

Rabbi Brant Rosen's poem responds to Psalm 79, challenging us to welcome the stranger even, and especially, in uncomfortable ways.

This alternative Amidah was used during mincha prayers by members of the Reconstructionist Rabbinic Association outside of an Immigration Processing Center in order to call attention to the plight of immigrants and underscore the importance of the Jewish obligation to welcome the stranger. 

This ritual invokes the blast of the shofar to articulate the plight of refugees. It was created for use at High Holidays in response to the presidential travel ban.

D'VAR TORAH
Genesis 21:1 – 22:24

Kavvanah for shofar blowing on the High Holidays

D'VAR TORAH
Leviticus 16:1-34; 18: 1-30

Kavvanah written for Yom Kippur services at the Lincoln Memorial, 2015. 

Yom Kippur, Ritual and Liturgy

Meditative interpretation of Psalm 27.

Rabbi Shelly Barnathan, the 2017 Launch Grant recipient, is busy creating a co-constructed network of baby boomers and empty nesters, a commonly-overlooked generation within the Jewish community. Her project, Or Zarua, features "holy conversations" over coffee and musical Shabbat dinners.

The story of Temple Emmanuel's ongoing exploration of Reconstructionist liturgy, and the rich conversations the process has opened up.

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