Prayers, Online Learning & Resources
(During the COVID-19 Closure)
This page will be updated weekly. Please check back soon!
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
Adapted from Mahzor Lev Shalem
May the One who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah,
bless and protect the doctors and nurses,
and all who engage in acts of healing.
May the Holy One watch over them,
shielding them from illness and despair,
granting them strength and endurance, wisdom and understanding,
as they faithfully put their lives on the line for the benefit of humanity.
May all their works be blessed and successful,
along with those of all the people Israel and all who dwell on earth,
and let us say: Amen.
In Jewish tradition, every action is an opportunity for mindfulness and gratitude. One spiritual practice is to aim to recite 100 blessings a day, a way of creating a through-line of mindfulness and gratitude as the day unfolds. Among the moments for blessing in this tradition is upon washing hands. Some recite this blessing every morning as part of their morning washing up routine; others when they wash hands before or after meals.
As we place renewed focus on this simple act, the following kavanah – intention – can become a moment of mindfulness and gratitude.
Before washing hands or sanitizing, take a moment to pause and recognize what you’re doing: you’re about to clean your hands. Whisper to yourself:
Thank you for water and soap and sanitizer.
Thank you for hands.
Thank you for everyone who made it possible for me to be clean right now – the people who made soap and sanitizer and sinks and towels and plumbing and this space and facilities and for the human project of medicine and health and hygiene.
Thank you for my health and the ability to care for others in this moment.
As you clean your hands, look at them. Feel your hands, see your skin, your nails. Take this moment to pause and breathe. Feel what cleansing feels like right now.
Smile. If there is a mirror, look into your own eyes and smile to yourself.
Recite the traditional blessing for washing hands, or one of your own creation. The traditional blessing is:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הָ׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם
Barukh atah Adonai, eloheynu melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat yadaim.
Blessed are you, Source of Life, who makes us holy through these actions including this washing of the hands.
We are frightened, God,
Worried for our loved ones,
Worried for our world.
Helpless and confused,
We turn to You
Seeking comfort, faith and hope.
Teach us God, to turn our panic into patience,
And our fear into acts of kindness and support.
Our strong must watch out for our weak,
Our young must take care of our old.
Help each one of us to do our part to halt the spread of this virus
Send strength and courage to the doctors and nurses
In the frontlines of this battle,
Fortify them with the full force of their healing powers.
Send wisdom and insight to the scientists
Working day and night across the world to discover healing treatments.
Bless their efforts, God.
Fill our leaders with the wisdom and the courage
To choose wisely and act quickly.
Help us, God, to see that we are one world,
Who will rise above this pandemic together.
Send us health God,
Watch over us,
Grace us with Your love,
Bless us with Your healing light.
Hear us God,
Heal us God,