Opening song: And the Youth Shall See Visions
Lighting of Candles:
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam mishaneh itim.
Blessed are you Adonai, our God, Ruler of the Universe, Architect of time.
Barukh Attah Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, shehechiyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higianu, la-z'man ha-zeh.
Blessed are you Adonai, our God, the sovereign of all worlds, who gave us life, and kept us strong, and brought us to this time.
Torah Portion: Genesis 12:1- 12:3
God said to Abram, "Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you: I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you. And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.
Participation of Friends
Song: L'chi Lach
Szuszi May and Kenneth Topp:
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam borei p'ri ha-gafen.
Blessed are you Adonai, our God, Ruler of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Celebration and Thanksgiving
For the past year, the thought that I was going to be 50 lurked in the back of my mind. It started last year, as my friends from my B'nai Mitzvah class were turning 50 and we celebrated each one of them. I wondered how I was going to celebrate my 50th or was I going to ignore it all together? Then one day I received a letter from Ma'yan, the Jewish Women's Project, a program of the JCC. This letter stated that Ma'yan acts as a catalyst for change in the Jewish community in order to create an environment more inclusive of and responsive to women, their needs and their experiences. Mayan facilitates this transformation through advocacy and the development and dissemination of innovative rituals. Could it be possible to venture into this new decade with joy and enthusiasm?
One lazy August afternoon, as I was thinking of the coming year and preparing for my trip to Mexico, I remembered, yes, I better pay my dues to my synagogue so I can attend the High Holidays Services – start the Jewish year right; Sidney's yartzeit is September 10th, he has been dead 22 years. How time flies? So many things have happened in my life! His birthday is September 19th, he would of been 56 and my birthday is five days after his. How would we have celebrated my 50th birthday?
In my contemplation, it became suddenly crystal clear, that I wanted to celebrate my 50th Birthday. I wanted to observe the occasion with a befitting ritual. I wanted to give myself an opportunity at this natural pausing point to recognize the contour of my own life with its achievements, struggles and stepping stones. I want to celebrate my own acts, for I have given birth to dreams I have created and nurtured ideas that have become a reality.
Also in the midst of this celebration, I want to take the time to be thankful for the richness and abundance in my life. I am thankful for my good health and my resilient spirit. I am very thankful for having two wonderful children – they have kept me on my toes over the years. I am thankful for my father for immigrating the family to America so we can live in the land of freedom and opportunity. I am thankful to my parents for all the sacrifices they have made, and they have made many. I am very thankful that at this celebration I am surrounded by loving and dear friends who support me in this complex process we call living. I am very thankful.