On the Rejoicing of the Law Festival, several outstanding community members are honored with being called up to the Torah at the festive reading of the end and the beginning of the holy scroll – if they are men. They are read long blessings for the new year and beyond.
Now, the Chief Rabbi of the UK has written a counter-blessing for women a Jewish community would like to honor likewise. It reportedly speaks of “outstanding contribution” and “may You bless her and all her family, and may she continue to perform outstanding deeds before You with virtue and grace. May You send blessing and success for all her future endeavors.”
This is not a change that should be dismissed as unimportant. It comes from a religious community where the rabbis almost unanimously fainted and then erupted in public violent outbursts of profanities when recently, a leading rabbi dared to say that heterosexual men could learn a whole lot from homosexual men in terms of being warm with each other.
And still, I think the text is disappointing. It could equally be said for men one wants to honor and bless. So, let me try my hand at something more supportive. It should say things especially nourishing to women.
The One Who blesses Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, the One Who spoke through Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Channah, Abigail, Chuldah, and Esther, please maintain and bless … daughter of …, (together with her life partner …,) and with everyone she teaches and raises up, to a successful and fulfilling, long and healthy, and powerful life with closeness to her heart’s desire to the different degrees appropriate with each person including all other women; a life in which her unique voice is always heard and heeded, just like she is always welcoming what others think and say; in which she will model for all girls, women, herself, all Jews, and all people, how to lead as a woman; in which, while generously giving support to everyone and everything as she chooses, she never forgets to put her own needs and priorities first; a life in which she may implement role models from all women and men; a life in which she will find support flocking to her and all women, for their will and for protection against all evil; in which she elegantly will strike a balance between all aspects of a full Jewish life; in which she will do all women, people, and Jews honor and in which she’ll co-create and find love and peace.
Further improvements are welcome.