Birkot Hashakhar

By Aliza Abusch-Magder
woman sitting on boat in the water with sun shining

I am thankful for this beautiful light which illuminated my soul!
I am thankful for the divinity which makes up my very being. There is God within me, do not forget to treat that with respect.
I am thankful for being connected to my history, my community and my home. I am a grounded being.
I am thankful for all my freedom. I still have a duty to social action.
I am thankful for awareness and the beauty of the material world.
I am thankful for a beautiful, functional body! I am able to express myself.
I am thankful for inner calm. Identify what is giving you tension, breathe deep to let it go.
I am thankful for faith that I carry in my heart. I will rise from within.
I am thankful for my connection to the physical world and my connection to the powerful unknown.
I am thankful for privilege. In this life I have the tools to accomplish anything.
I am thankful for the ability to be intentional.
I am thankful for history which lives inside me and for such a rich education.
I am thankful for feeling the presence of energy. Bring energy, be energy. I am thankful for this time I have had to be more aware, mindful and happy.


Artist’s Statement: I took the Birkot Hashakhar, morning prayers, and tried to create direct connection to my life. I have been working to answer the the question: how can I put divine intention into religion, rather than blindly following a script that has been given to me. The traditional prayer still holds value to me—the depth and dedication behind our tradition creates a means of connection, though it is my role to put meaning behind it. I translated the sometimes obscure meaning of each line and connected it to an issue that is relevant in my life—what is my role as an activist, how do I love my body, how can I be a good peer and student, what resources do I have to manage stress. The Birkot Hashakhar are traditionally said while getting ready in the morning, each prayer in accordance with an action. I, too, connected actions to the prayers, with the hope that thoughtful use of our senses can further create connection to prayer.

Republished with permission from JGirls Magazine.

Prayer

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