Every service, Shabbat, the Blessing of the Table, the Wedding Ceremony, Baby Naming, Bar Mitzvah, Memorial Service, Stone Unveiling and Conversion is written in equivocal language. Out of respect for participants, Rabbi Jerry intends for you to realize the significance of the event and of the liturgy in a personal way. The language is inclusive, humanistic, universal and egalitarian. Usually, participants add personal touches to the text.
Excerpts for the Ceremonies written by Rabbi Jerry
- Bar or Bat Mitzvah
- Baby Naming
- Service of Unveiling
- Shabbat Celebration
- Sabbath Celebrations
May the covenant, which you are consummating, enrich and ennoble your lives. May you tap the inner wellspring of your being as you present each other with the gifts of self. Affection and companionship are freely given. Gladness and joy freely shared. Peace in your hearts and in your home freely sought. May this covenant sustain you in times of trial and comfort you when mystery seems to rule. May it unite and strengthen you in your search for faith and trust, for meaning and purpose. May your covenant join your lives and your histories together. And may your bond of marriage be sealed with everlasting love.
You have spoken the words and performed the rites that unite your lives. You are now husband and wife, husband and husband or wife and wife, and a family.
The life before you is committed to cheerfulness, to reverence for each other, to respect for each other and to fidelity to this family. These are the cornerstones that link you together. These are the touchstones that reflect your highest hopes.
Though you may yet know the cold, you will be warmth to each other. Though you may know the dark, you will be light to each other. May your years be long upon the earth and may all that is beautiful and true abide with you forever.
Baruchim Ha-Baim, welcome into the midst of a great adventure, mysterious and awesome in its unfolding.
A child has entered into your care. Fragile and helpless, dependent upon your wisdom, patience and devotion, this little person has begun a unique journey, a sacred pilgrimage towards independence and individuality. Be ready to guide. Be alert to encourage this child to use his/her inborn sense of wonder. Share with this child the joy of his/her discoveries and the excitement of his/her adventures in the world of drama and dimension. Instill in this child the tools for sensing the essential, the eternal and the sacred and the courage to face the Mysteries that remain so profound.
Precious child, you are a mystery to me. Love and design entwined together have created you. A spark has been kindled within you. Now, it is from your own fire that the glow of life will come.
Father or Grandfather
Precious child, you are a mystery to me. Little by little what is hidden in you becomes visible. The world is contained within you. And, you are contained by the world.
Within me is a world yet unexplored, a world yet to be, a world I shall effect. I add idea to idea, event to event, insight to insight. I emerge alone, yet not alone, sensing your warmth, your hand, and your encouragement. I have come upon a vast tradition enabling me to seek out responses that speak to me. I have entered into a process, a time for creative growth.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a bridge linking dependence to independence, learning to teaching, me to my community, me to my future.
Within me is potential and the responsibility to realize it. Within me is the identity of a JEW and the will to express and honor it. Within me is a long history of creating, the drama of Israel’s rebirth, the drive to endow life with Holiness and Mitzvot, the yearning for wisdom, truth and freedom, for a world at peace and for the courage to commit myself to life’s journey and to those I meet along the way.
Within me is the Torah and I am thankful to grow up beneath this tree of life.
Blessed is the Judge of Truth, the vital source and center of creation. And, blessed is that creation alive to all things, morning, noon and night. Blessed is time that marks our place in the lives of others. Blessed are the laws of the universe that explain the relationships, the harmonies and the discords present in the cosmos. Blessed are the laws of ethics and morality that guide our lives and set blessings and righteousness into motion. Blessed is our search for the Essential, for the Eternal and for the Sacred. Blessed are the experiences that mark our way forward back to the Great Shalom. Blessed is the beauty we let into the world when we open ourselves to goodness and grace. Blessed is our yearning to love with an open heart.
On this Day we face a difficult decree. One of us rides the whirlwind home taken up Divine embrace. The breath of life kissed from the lips.
This stone marks our place on the miraculous journey into being, into the world of experience, through the valley of the shadow. Here, at this crossroads of emotional and spiritual tumult and turbulence, this stone anchors us to the ancient and to the future constant we call life and death. Here at this memorial, we know how precious is time, how cherished is the vulnerability of intimacy, how significant the rules to keep and the rules to change, how extraordinary is love and affection, how vital is family, how fragile the Chupah, how powerful is memory, how pervasive is the Mystery Profound.
Here are the blessings that elevate our lives:
- Bless this home and the lives lived here. Bless this place of love and joy, of comfort and compassion. Bless this outpost in time where we are sure to speak our hearts.
- Bless all who gather here willing to share the beauty that sustains the world with awe and inspiration.
- Bless this mealtime journey from stepping stone to stepping stone, past the cornerstones that formed and fashioned us, past the touchstones that make us aware of our surroundings and sensitive to the presence of others.
- Bless the earth and its entire array. Bless this hour and the next and the many hours that make up our lives. Bless the turning of the seasons, the orbits of the planets, the phases of the moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the pulse of our hearts and the cycles of our body’s miraculous workings.
- Bless this moment of realized intent recorded forever in electric impulse, synapses firing, computations made at lightening speed, becoming experience, memory and future deeds of loving-kindness
The Prayer that is the Song of My Heart
My heart sings songs of gratitude for all that is sacred in my life. I sing of loved ones, of experiences gleaned from so many moments. I sing of the passion that led to purpose fulfilled. I sing of life’s journey, from home to home, from change to change, from hope to hope.
My heart has known sorrow, even unto breaking. And, my heart has known the sweetest joys when opened by love. This is my song. This is my prayer: Thank you for time, for the many gifts I have received and for my every opportunity to set goodness into motion.
My heart sings songs of life’s longing for life, for those who came before and for those yet to be. The universe can be heard in these songs. HaShem resides in the music of the heart. This is the sound of the sacred.
Bless the voice that spoke and the hand that wrote and the mind that searched for meaning and the heart that recognized wisdom. Bless the scrolls that followed Abraham, that sent Moses, that freed the Hebrews. Bless the parchments that gave Israel presence, that sanctified morality and justice and spiritual well being. Bless the pages that defined the way of the Mitzvot, the essence of life and the purpose of HaShem.
Bless the voice that spoke with love and the hand that reached out to embrace and the mind that learned of the power to love and the heart that rejoiced in it.
Bless the sacred that surrounds Israel with love.