I’ve started putting my seventeen years as a professional writer and editor to use as an editor of High Holiday sermons for a Rabbi that I know. She pays me in my favorite “currency” . . . BOOKS!!! 🤗 She’s collecting a stack for me at her house, and these four arrived from Amazon in the last two days.
I feel spoiled!!!! Not only am I learning more about the topics of her sermons, I’m also getting to study the source texts with her and learn more about the sermon-drafting process. I’m accustomed to writing for readers, so it’s interesting to see how writing for a listening audience is different.
It’s been a great learning experience AND I’m getting some reference books that I’ve been wanting for a while . . . definitely a Happy New Year!!
I led a 45-minute Rosh Hashanah service for children and their families at my synagogue yesterday morning. Approximately twenty adults and fifteen kids between ages one and nine attended. I feel really blessed to have been able to lead the service! I’ll paste my “sermon” below, for those who care to see what lesson I taught the kids in about 10 of the 45 minutes.
Shabbat shalom to all!!! May you be sealed in the Book of Life for a healthy and happy year, jen
Rosh Hashanah 5778 (2017)
Come on up, kids! Let’s have a story and discission!!
I’m so happy and excited that our calendar has brought us back to the first day of another new Year! And I thought it might be fun to talk a few minutes about some truly awesome things that we should look for in the New Year… does that sound like a good idea?
All right, well, let’s start at the beginning… the VERY beginning… five-thousand seven-hundred seventy-eight Jewish years ago. Can anyone tell me what happened on the VERY FIRST Rosh Hashanah?
On the day we consider the first day EVER?
Yes! Gd began creating the world!! Gd separated the Light from the dark and the water from the sky. Gd removed the water from dry land, put plants and creeping things on the land, put the sun and moon and stars in space, put fish in the water and birds in the sky, and finally created all the animals that live on dry land, including humans. On Rosh Hashanah 5778 Jewish years ago, Gd started the process that led to the creation of me and you and you and you and everyone who is here today. Isn’t that amazing?!?!?
And this ongoing process of creation contains some really awesome Wonders that I thought we could read about today.
[READ WONDERS OF NATURE]
Those are great examples!!!
If we are looking, we can find things in Nature every day that make us say “Wow!”, and each time we see one of these Wonders… our Jewish tradition tells us we should say a blessing.
Who remembers the special phrase that is at the beginning of all our blessings? We’ve already said it a few times here today, and we say it before we have juice or challah…
Right!! Our Blessings begin with “Baruch Atah Adonai” … and this book tells us the blessing for seeing Wonders in Creation is: “Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Mekech Haolam, oseh ma’aseh b’resheet” which means “Thank you, Gd, for making this process of creation!!”
So this year, when you see a pretty flower, I want you to say “Thank you, Gd, for making Creation.” And when you see a colorful sky, I want you to say “Thank you, Gd, for making Creation.” And when you see a rainbow or the Ocean, what will you say?
Good! What if you see a really ugly creepy bug that kinda scares you?
And when you see yourself in the mirror???
What about when you see someone in your family?
Do you think you can do that this year?
Great! Because the more blessings you say, the more blessings you’ll begin to see… and you’ll have a happier year…
Now, to help you remember to say thank yous every day, I have a little surprise for you. Who can tell me what this is?
Yes, its a Yarmukle or Kippah. And each of you can take one from the bowl. I want you to keep that kippah in a place where you’ll see it every day — like your bedside table, or your chair at the dinner table, or in your backpack — so it can remind you to say Thank You for all the awesome Wonders you find in Creation. Okay?
Now. One last note about your kippot… please bring them back on Yom Kippur, because we are going to learn together why they are so white in the middle! Can you do that for me? Great! Thank you! You can go back to your parents now.