Prayers & Blessings

Learn the most common Jewish prayers and blessings.

Structure of a Jewish Prayer Service

Are you attending a Jewish service for the first time or just need a refresher? While prayer services vary widely from temple to temple, there are some standard prayers and rituals that most temples practice. From the warm up prayer (pesukai d’zimra) to the sermon (d’var Torah), this video guides you through all the different sections of a typical Jewish service.

This video was created by Rabbi Wendi Geffen and animated by Stu Hershey Sufrin at the Chicago Rabbinic Writers Lab, a program where 10 rabbis wrote Introduction to Tefillah videos in chevruta as a group. This series breaks down and explains major Jewish prayers so you can feel more knowledgeable and comfortable while attending a Jewish service. This is the first in that series, rolling out over spring of 2018.

“Never having written for YouTube before, the process of creating this video was challenging and engaging. It was a thrill to consider relating a message and a lesson not just through spoken word but also through visual messaging as well. The ability to collaborate with colleagues in message and design was a real highlight.” – Rabbi Wendi Geffen

 

Pesukei D’Zimra: Jewish Warm Up Prayer

Every morning Jews warm up with a series of blessings known as the Pesukei D’Zimra. Learn more about this special warm up prayer with Rabbi David Russo of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago.

This warm up prayer reminds us of the importance of prayer and that we should first become present before we pour ourselves over in the presence of G-d. Without the warm up, we might not take this whole prayer things as seriously.

This video was created at the Chicago Rabbinic Writers Lab, a program where 10 rabbis wrote Introduction to Tefillah videos in chevruta as a group.This series breaks down and explains major Jewish prayers so you can feel more knowledgeable and comfortable while attending a Jewish service. This is the second in that series, rolling out over spring of 2018.

Shehecheyanu

There’s a lot of emphasis in Judaism on stopping to recognize special moments. Some do this in the form of a prayer or a blessing for the first time they are doing something new. Take a moment to learn this prayer, so the next time you find yourself in a first, you’ll know what to say.

Mi Shebeirach: The Jewish Prayer of Healing

The Mi Shebeirach is the Jewish prayer for healing. In this video, learn the meaning and rituals around this prayer with Rabbi Reni Dickman, the Director of InterfaithFamily in Chicago.

While the Mi Shebeirach is most often recited during a Jewish service, you can say (or sing) this prayer anywhere you’d like. It could be at the bedside of a loved one or outside in nature. You also can recite the prayer to anyone you’d like. They don’t have to be Jewish to receive your love and support.

This video was created at the Chicago Rabbinic Writers Lab, a program where 10 rabbis wrote Introduction to Tefillah videos in chevruta as a group.This series breaks down and explains major Jewish prayers so you can feel more knowledgeable and comfortable while attending a Jewish service.

How to Say the Jewish Blessing over Children

A blessing is a short moment out of time to express your appreciation for something or someone. Judaism encourages blessings for food, drink, study, washing your hands, using the bathroom – it goes on and on. But so many parents connect very deeply with the custom of blessing their children on Friday nights. It’s ancient and beautiful and easy to learn how to do. Whether you bless your child the traditional way, or add your own twist, it will be a highlight of the week for both of you.

Birkat HaGomel

Judaism teaches that sometimes, people who need to give public thanks for the kindness God has shown them – you can do it by “benching Gomel” or saying the Blessing of Thanksgiving, also known as Birkat HaGomel. You can say it after making it through a trip across a desert or ocean (that long flight counts!), after surviving a serious illness or surgery or childbirth, and after being released from prison.

Learn all about Gomel, and how to say it, in this video complete with Hebrew and transliterated karaoke and English translation.

Thank you to Liora Brosbe and the Sprout Initiative of the East Bay for her narration on this video.

Kaddish: The Jewish Mourner’s Prayer

Learn to say the Mourner’s Kaddish – Jewish Prayer of Mourning – with this simple karaoke style video that combines the original Aramaic, a simple transliteration and the English translation. The Kaddish is in Aramaic, not Hebrew, except for the last sentence.

This project was made possible with generous support from The Koret Foundation, as part of its Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood.

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