Aside

A secular blessing for children

One of the loveliest Shabbat rituals is the blessing of the children, at the beginning of the Friday night festive meal. In our house, we say both the Birkat ha’Banim, the traditional blessing found in the Siddur (Jewish prayer book), and a “humanistic re-envisioning” of it by Rabbi Binyamin Biber:

I (we) bless you and watch over you with love
and with the hope that your  learning and good deeds
bring you joy and long life.

May you help others and be an example to all,
just as others help you and show you the paths of goodness.

May the best within you shine forth with compassion,
and may you always lift up your face to meet others in peace.

This text came to us from the PJ Library, a wonderful program that sends quality, age appropriate Jewish books and CDs to our kids thanks to generous sponsors. You can learn more about the program and sign up here.

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