Blessing the Children

Learn How

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How and Why Jewish Parents Bless Their Children on Shabbat

How and Why Jewish Parents Bless Their Children on Shabbat

This sweet animated video includes a brief explanation about why Jewish parents traditionally bless their children on Shabbat, as well as various customs that different families may practice, and the Hebrew, English and transliterated text of the blessing. Ideal for those who want to know both the

Reform: How to Recite the Blessing Over Children (Audio & Text)

Reform: How to Recite the Blessing Over Children (Audio & Text)

This instructional post provides the Hebrew audio and the Hebrew, English and transliterated text of the blessing over the children according to the Reform tradition, which makes a slight modification to the traditional Hebrew text of the blessing over the daughter. According to Reform custom, the word

Blessing the Children on Friday Night: Origins and How-To

Blessing the Children on Friday Night: Origins and How-To

This thorough introductory article by Tamar Fox outlines the origins and various family customs for the ritual blessing over the children, as well as the Hebrew and English text. The author also offers different explanations for why Ephraim and Menashe are chosen as the biblical role

Parent Blessings Handbook: How to Select, Personalize or Write Your Own

Parent Blessings Handbook: How to Select, Personalize or Write Your Own

This post contains a 7 page Parent Blessings Handbook designed to help the parents of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah select, personalize or write a meaningful blessing to be recited during the Shabbat morning service. It contains general information about blessings, a variety of traditional and alternative

How to Perform the Blessings Over the Children

How to Perform the Blessings Over the Children

This minute long video demonstrates how to recite the blessing over the children for both sons and daughters in Hebrew and English, including onscreen transliteration for the Hebrew blessing.   

Rabbi Teaches Congregants the Blessing Over the Children

Rabbi Teaches Congregants the Blessing Over the Children

In these two short videos, one for sons and one for daughters, Rabbi Marc Kline teachers parents at the Reform Temple Adath Israel Congregation in Lexington, KY how to bless their children on Friday night, as well as some additional meaningful intentions they can have

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Customs

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Traditional Text for the Blessing Over the Children

Traditional Text for the Blessing Over the Children

This post provides the traditional Hebrew, transliterated and English text for the blessings over sons and daughters traditionally recited on Friday night. This resource is perfect for someone who simply wants to know what words to recite, without additional information.  Blessing a Daughter Hebrew ישְִמׂךְֵ אלֱֹ-היִם

Be Who You Are: An Alternative Blessing Over the Children

Be Who You Are: An Alternative Blessing Over the Children

This excerpt from Marcia Falk‘s “The Book of Blessings” offers a contemporary, open-ended text for blessing one’s children on Friday night in a way that empowers them with a sense of possibility, is free of gender roles, and does not limit them to the qualities of

Blessing Oneself on Erev Shabbat

Blessing Oneself on Erev Shabbat

Based on the traditional blessing over the children, this alternative blessing by Rabbi Kami Knapp encourages people to bless themselves to emulate a positive trait of a chosen role model on Friday night. Although this blessing was written with an acknowledgement of those who may be  –

An Original Blessing of the Children and the Parents

An Original Blessing of the Children and the Parents

This video show the recitation of an original blessing for the protection and joy of families during a unique Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony at the port in Tel Aviv, when the Beit Tefilah Israeli Congregation invited local Israeli families to celebrate Shabbat together with foreign workers

Alternative Blessing for Children with Masculine and Feminine God Language

Alternative Blessing for Children with Masculine and Feminine God Language

This post presents the blessing for the children using both traditional male God-language as well as feminine God-language, reflecting a blend of Jewish tradition with modern feminist approaches. The two versions of the traditional blessing are followed by Marcia Falk’s contemporary, open-ended text for blessing one’s children on Friday night

A Rabbi Blesses the Children of his Congregation

A Rabbi Blesses the Children of his Congregation

In this short recording, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of Park Avenue (Conservative) Synagogue in New York City blesses the children in his congregation with the blessing traditionally said by parents on Friday night. Rabbi Cosgrove recites the blessings in Hebrew and English, including the one for sons, the

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Music

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Michael Ben Naim’s Original Blessing Over the Children

Michael Ben Naim’s Original Blessing Over the Children

This music video features Israeli artist, Michael Ben Naim, and a woman (presumably his wife) singing his original, emotive melody for the Hebrew blessing over their children. Whereas the blessing traditionally begins with a blessing for the son or daughter followed by the priestly blessing for both,

An Emotive Rendition of the Priestly Blessing

An Emotive Rendition of the Priestly Blessing

This video presents a musical version of the Priestly Blessing, part of the blessing over the children traditionally recited on Friday nights. Sung in both Hebrew and English, the video also provides the English and transliterated words of the blessing.   

Avraham Fried: The Traditional Jewish Blessing for Sons

Avraham Fried: The Traditional Jewish Blessing for Sons

This video features Avraham Fried singing the blessing for sons in a large open-air amphitheater in Jerusalem, accompanied by a large male choir. In order to show respect for the sanctity of God’s name, the word “Hashem” (literally, “the name”) is substituted. Popular in American, Orthodox circles,

Debbie Friedman: The World of Your Dreams (Andy’s Bar Mitzvah Song)

Debbie Friedman: The World of Your Dreams (Andy’s Bar Mitzvah Song)

This post presents the lyrics to “The World of Your Dreams (Andy’s Bar Mitzvah Song),” composed by beloved Jewish American singer-songwriter, Debbie Friedman. Based on Talmud, B’rachot 17a, this song is written as a blessing to a Bar Mitzvah boy for a life of Torah, happiness

A Father’s Original Melody for the Blessing Over the Children

A Father’s Original Melody for the Blessing Over the Children

This video features Yerachmiel ben Yoseph singing his original, solemn melody for the blessing over the children. Although this English song is based on the traditional Hebrew text of the blessing, there are some alterations, including invoking the names of the biblical Patriarchs instead of Ephraim and

Yehuda Katz Sings the Traditional Blessing for Daughters

Yehuda Katz Sings the Traditional Blessing for Daughters

In this video, American-Israeli singer Yehuda Katz performs the traditional Friday night blessing for daughters in Hebrew. In order to show respect for the sanctity of God’s name, the word “Hashem” (literally, ‘the name’) is substituted. Yehuda Katz, a close friend and student of the late Reb Shlomo Carlebach, is the

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Informative Articles & Videos

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Friday Night & Beyond: Insights on the Blessing Over the Children (Plus Text & Audio)

Friday Night & Beyond: Insights on the Blessing Over the Children (Plus Text & Audio)

This thorough excerpt from “Friday Night and Beyond” by Lori Palatnik explains the biblical origins of the ritual blessing over the children on Friday night, as well as a practical how-to guide for parents, complete with the Hebrew, English and transliterated texts and audio recordings of the

Chief Rabbi of the UK on Blessing the Children on Shabbat

Chief Rabbi of the UK on Blessing the Children on Shabbat

In this short video, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the United Kingdom, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, explains why children are blessed on Shabbat and why the blessings differ for sons and daughters. The rabbi shares the English translation of the blessing as well as why sons

The Origins and Meaning Behind the Blessing Over the Children

The Origins and Meaning Behind the Blessing Over the Children

In this 3:17 long video, Rabbi Spike Anderson from the Reform Temple Emanu-El of Atlanta explains the origins and meaning behind the custom of blessing the children on Friday night. He recites the blessing in Hebrew and English and explains how the custom empowers parents

Rabbi Yitz Wyne Explains the Blessing Over the Children

Rabbi Yitz Wyne Explains the Blessing Over the Children

In this 2:43 long video, Rabbi Yitz Wyne, the founder and spiritual leader of Young Israel Aish of Las Vegas, explains the biblical origins and deep parenting lessons that can be found within the traditional blessing over the children.   

The Blessing Over the Children as an Expression of Love

The Blessing Over the Children as an Expression of Love

In this 3.5 minute video, Rabbi Janet Ross Marder demonstrates how the blessing over the children allows family members to express their love for one another on Shabbat. Acknowledging that it may feel awkward for some, Rabbi Marder explains how the ritual combines physical touch, the powerful words of

Seeing Parenthood’s Trajectory in the Priestly Blessing

Seeing Parenthood’s Trajectory in the Priestly Blessing

This thoughtful article by Rabbi Noah Arnow provides an interesting Hassidic interpretation of the priestly blessing, which is part of the traditional blessing over the children recited on Friday nights. Rabbi Arnow not only sees in these words all of the stages of parenting –

Introduction to the Blessing Over the Children

Introduction to the Blessing Over the Children

This short article offers a brief introduction to the structure and customs of the blessing over the children, traditionally recited on Friday night. The author, Rabbi Howard Markose, is a Jerusalem-based educator and former community rabbi who received rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.  The

Personalizing the Blessing of the Children on Shabbat

Personalizing the Blessing of the Children on Shabbat

This article shows how the ritual blessing over the children on Shabbat can be used as an opportunity to infuse spirituality and intention into the sometimes challenging and mundane experience of parenting. After an anecdotal introduction about her own transition into motherhood, Dasee Berkowitz outlines the reasons behind the traditional

Blessing the Children and the Importance of Family

Blessing the Children and the Importance of Family

In this article, Ariela Pelaia presents how the blessing over the children on Shabbat is traditionally practiced, as well as ways in which modern families have adapted the ritual to reflect their values. She explains how this custom exemplifies the importance of family in Judaism and offers

The Secret Shabbat Blessing: A Blessing from the Heart

The Secret Shabbat Blessing: A Blessing from the Heart

In this essay, Rabbi Leah Doberne-Schor shares why it is important for parents to go beyond the traditional text to bless their children with their own “secret Shabbat blessing,” based on the essence of who they are. She sees this as an opportunity for parents to

Turn Your Home into a Temple with the Blessing Over the Children

Turn Your Home into a Temple with the Blessing Over the Children

This short article demonstrates how to say the Friday night blessing over the children in English, explaining that because this ritual includes the ancient priestly blessing once recited in the holy Temple in Jerusalem, uttering it helps to symbolically render the Shabbat table a small temple in

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What else?

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A Multi-Generational Blessing Over the Children

A Multi-Generational Blessing Over the Children

This post describes the way in which one family includes all four generations present at their Shabbat table when performing the blessing over the children. Dale Schatz writes how each generation blesses the next, starting with the Great Grandmother. Although the author writes that they

The Priestly Blessing

The Priestly Blessing

This informative article by the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs explains the origins, meaning, and practice of the Priestly Blessing in the synagogue service, which also is part of the blessing over the children on Friday nights. The author describes when, where and how the ritual

General Blessing for Loved Ones

General Blessing for Loved Ones

This general blessing can be said for any friend or loved one at the Shabbat table or, in fact, at any time. All or parts of it may be used instead of our in conjunction with the traditional blessing for children. Ellen Dannin, an active member of

Blessing One’s Parents on Friday Night

Blessing One’s Parents on Friday Night

This ritual is for children of all ages who wish to “turn the tables” and bless their parents on Shabbat. It includes relevant meditations and biblical verses to ponder, a blessing text in transliterated Hebrew and English, as well as varied ideas about carrying out

A Rabbi Blesses the Children of his Congregation

A Rabbi Blesses the Children of his Congregation

In this short recording, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of Park Avenue (Conservative) Synagogue in New York City blesses the children in his congregation with the blessing traditionally said by parents on Friday night. Rabbi Cosgrove recites the blessings in Hebrew and English, including the one for sons, the

Shabbat Blessings for Pets

Shabbat Blessings for Pets

This post presents blessings that animal-lovers can use for their pet dogs and cats on Shabbat in English and transliterated Hebrew. The blessings draw upon Jewish concepts associated with these animals. For example, the blessing for dogs is a play on words, taking the name “Caleb,”

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