Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

Double Celebration Calls for Blessings

In 1988, just a few weeks after the passing of his wife of sixty years, the Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated a new “birthday” campaign. In commemoration of her birthday, the Rebbe called on Jews around the world to start celebrating their Hebrew birthdays in the Jewish spirit and encouraged such practices as making a gathering at which to speak words of Torah, giving charity, and making positive resolutions. And in keeping with the sentiment that the birthday is considered a most propitious time, for on one’s birthday his ‘Mazel’ – his ‘fortune,’ radiates with extra strength, an additional practice was suggested of offering blessings to others, thereby bringing good fortune to others as well.

Likewise, during this week, Jews commemorate the festival of Succoth, which is associated with the time of joy and happiness. Jews gather in the Sukkah to celebrate and exchange greetings and blessings and even invite the patriarchs into the sukkot to “celebrate the festival,” a practice known as Ushpizin.

Given the emphasis on commemorations of joyful occasions, be it a Hebrew birthday or a Jewish holiday, imagine how “blessed I feel” to have been born during the most joy filled Hebrew month in the entire Jewish calendar, the month of Tishri,  and on the most auspicious day associated with “chai” and “life” , which is the number 18.

And given the tradition of giving blessings to others on a Hebrew birthday, these are my blessings to Am Yisrael in this new Hebrew year of 5780, which are taken from the additional prayer insert to the Amidah prayer (Silent Devotion) for the holidays:

The Blessing for:

  • deliverance,
  • well –being,
  • grace,
  • kindness,
  • mercy,
  • good life and
  • Shalom/peace

My additional birthday blessing and prayer is that all of  your New Year prayers be answered in a revealed way.

Wishing you Chag Sameah and “Be Happy and Celebrate YOUR LIFE!”

About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum. On November 8, 2017, Together in Happiness co-hosted with MK Yehudah Glick a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education