Here are some of the liturgies and prayers I’ve written. If you read any of the lifecycle event scripts, bear in mind that the script (however hard I may have worked to stitch it together) is only a script. My teacher Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z”l / may his memory be a blessing) has compared Jewish liturgy to freeze-dried food; in order for our prayers to be nourishing and sustaining, we have to add heart and emotion in realtime. A ritual performed with kavanah (intention) and skill is powerful in a way that words on a page can’t quite capture.
Liturgies / haggadot / books
Newest materials are at the top.
Revised Digital Haggadah for Tu BiShvat 2018 – A new digital haggadah – intended to be projected on a screen, to save trees – for Tu BiShvat. Features song, poetry, prayer, and more. Released in conjunction with Bayit: Building Jewish.
Seven poems for ma’ariv 2018 – A set of seven poems that follow the matbeah tefilah (structure of prayer) for ma’ariv, the evening service.
Open My Lips – a collection of prayer-poems for all occasions (weekday, Shabbat, Pesach and the Omer, Elul and Days of Awe, times of grief, times of gratitude) published by Ben Yehuda Press in 2015.
Selichot 5776 – Poems and prayers for Selichot, designed to open the heart to teshuvah (repentance / return) before the Days of Awe. 2015.
Shiva liturgy – A printable liturgy for an evening shiva minyan in a house of mourning. 2014. (2020 update: please instead click through to the Beside Still Waters page on the Bayit website, where there is a free download of the volume for shiva that I edited — it is much better than the 2014 download shared here! Of course I hope you’ll purchase copies or donate to Bayit in support of this work, but if you need a shiva liturgy right now, download the PDF, which we made available for free download at the start of the pandemic.)
Days of Awe: The Velveteen Rabbi’s Machzor for the Yamim Nora’im – Featuring liturgy both classical and innovative; translations both faithful and creative; original artwork and photographs intended to stir the soul; teachings from Rabbis Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Burt Jacobson, Rami Shapiro, Hanna Tiferet Siegel, and many others; and powerful poetry by poets ranging from Yehuda Amichai to Marie Howe, David Lehman to Alicia Ostriker. With Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser. Pilot edition, Velveteen Rabbi Press, 2014; latest revision, 2017.
The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Pesach – This haggadah blends traditional texts with contemporary poetry, liberation theology, and an eye toward social justice. Click over to the haggadah page to read all about it, to see what others have said about it, and to download the latest version. 2015.
A Haggadah for Tu BiShvat, 2012 – A seder celebrating the New Year of the Trees with a mystical journey through the “four worlds,” each symbolized by fruits and juices. New for 2012: check out the three versions (one for adults, one for kids one for little kids) on the VR blog.
Short Tu BiSeder 2011 [pdf] – A kitzur (short) haggadah for celebrating the New Year of the Trees: 3 pages, blessings for fruits interspersed with teachings from Jewish tradition and elsewhere, and a closing blessing thanking God for the delicious snacks! Designed for use with adolescents but suitable for all ages.
Blessings / prayers
Newest materials are at the top.
K’Gavna / Just As… A re-visioning of the passage from Zohar sometimes used as a prelude to the Bar’chu / the Call to Prayer, designed for Zoom-based prayer experiences. 2020
Equinox Solstice. A liturgy for Selichot, themed around going through the open door of the solar seasonal transition and the psycho-spiritual seasonal transition. 2019.
Lamentations (Then and Now). A prayer curated out of the words of refugees, interwoven with Eicha. 2019.
Fruits. A poem on the theme of first fruits, for Shavuot. 2018.
Good (Yotzer Or). Arising out of the Yotzer Or daily blessing for God, creator of light and renewal. June 2017.
So much (Ahavah Rabbah). Arising out of the Ahavah Rabbah daily blessing for God, creator of love and Torah. 2017.
Hoshana for Right Relationship. An alphabetical acrostic of prayer, for Hoshana Rabbah. 2017.
A Woman of Valor. A variation on Eshet chayil, “A woman of valor,” for a single mother (me) to read to herself on Shabbat. 2017.
Listen Up, Y’all. A poem that renders the second paragraph of the shema (v’haya im shamoa…) in contemporary language and imagery. 2016.
Vidui. A prayer before death. 2015.
A Sukkot Prayer for the Bedouin. A prayer for Sukkot which touches on the situation of the Israeli Bedouin. Written for Rabbis for Human Rights, North America, 2012. Now published in Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2016).
Prayer for the Children of Abraham / Ibrahim. A prayer for the people of Israel and Palestine. Written in response to the events surrounding Operation Pillar of Cloud. 2012. Now published in Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2016).
A prayer for Tashlich. A short prayer / responsive reading for Tashlich, the Rosh Hashanah ritual of casting bread upon the waters. 2012.
Six poems of praise (Hallel). A series of six poems which render the psalms of Hallel (recited on festivals) in a creative, contemporary, and personal way. 2011. Now published in Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2016).
Hineni: Here I Stand. A prayer/poem which presents the themes and ideas of the “Hineni” prayer, traditionally chanted by the prayer-leader on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in my own words and metaphors. 2008. Now published in Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2016).
Hashkivenu. A variation on the hashkivenu blessing that’s part of the evening liturgy; written for erev Shabbat. 2001.
Kol Nidre. A poem inspired by the “Kol Nidre” prayer, meant to be read and/or prayed, alone and/or in community. 1998.
Newest materials at the top.
Ritual for ending a marriage. 2016. The ritual I crafted for receiving my get, my religious document of divorce.
Blessings for a B’nai Mitzvah. Written for Ritualwell’s #ReimagineBnaiMitzvah project, 2015. Two prayers for tying tzitzit before the celebration, and a trio of prayers (one for parent or caregiver, one for the student who is coming of age, and one for the rabbi or spiritual leader) to be used at the celebration itself.
Mincha Maariv Havdalah [pdf]. A siddur for Shabbat afternoon and evening worship, with havdalah; designed for use at a b’nei mitzvah celebration, but could also be used on an ordinary Shabbat afternoon and evening. Latest revision 2015.
Nondenominational funeral. The blog post about these two services features pdf files of both the memorial service and the graveside service. 2012.
The Naming of Andrew Wynn [pdf]. The babynaming/welcoming ceremony that Ethan and I wrote for our son. 2009.