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Back to (Secular) School Wishes and Prayers

09/07/2017 01:57:19 PM


Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann

Shalom SAJ Parents,


Yesterday and today, our children began a new school year. Many will hold signs in their hands and smile at the camera. A few will argue that they are too old for that! Many enter into new middle schools and high schools, filled with excitement and trepidation. Many, as NYC kids do, begin to walk on their own, scoot on their own, or travel on the bus or subway to school on their own. Many of us will wait frantically for the texts saying they made it OK!


The beginning of the school year is a beautiful opportunity to reflect on the growth your children have experienced over the summer, to look forward to their intellectual and personal development over a new school year, and to marvel at how the time has flown. I know that I am in disbelief that I am the mother of a 1st and 5th grader! Where has the time gone? This is an opportunity to remember the teaching from the Psalms, "Teach us to count each day/make each day count." (Psalm 90:12)
Judaism is so much about blessing the passing of time and making what might otherwise by "ordinary" moments holy through the act of blessing.
I want to share two blessings for you-- perhaps you will say them with your kids at the end of the first day or first week of school or perhaps you will say to yourself as a private prayer. Either way or no way at all, this is an invitation to take a few moments and relish the new school year and all the hope and possibility it provides for us and our children.
1. Reciting the Sheheyanu: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, Sheheyanu, V'kiyamanu, V'higiyanu, lazman hazeh. Blessed are you source of life, who has given us life, sustained us and brought us to this moment. Learn more about the Sheheyanu blessing and how to say it here.


2. A Blessing for the New School Year by Rabbi Michael Adam Latz:


Source of Wonder in the Universe~

As our children begin school
Open their minds and their hearts
to learning and books
and the exhilaration of discovering something ancient
or something new,
something ridiculous and
something utterly sublime.

Give them verses of poetry to stir their curiosity
and teachers intoxicated with creativity and wonder.

Make their fingers sticky with the glue of integrity and
their toes limber to climb their way through complicated theories and artistic endeavors and mountainous reams of wisdom.

Let them fail regularly
and learn the power of compassion and struggling to pick themselves and one another up again.

May they eat fresh vegetables
and drink a feast of books
and color the color of their souls.

Please: Help them be safe enough to take enough risk to learn and stretch their minds and grow their hearts--
and wise enough not to harm themselves or their classmates or teachers.

Most of all, Source of Discovery,
endow these children with the deepest love for each others beauty-
and their own remarkable creation.


Wishing you a wonderful time of transition and a meaningful opportunity to take nachas (pride) in your children as they face new challenges, filled with all the love, confidence and good values you have instilled in them.


Blessings on this very auspicious day,


Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann 
Thu, January 17 2019 11 Sh'vat 5779