A Service of Healing

Illness, trauma, abuse, separation, divorce, death . . . suffering is part of our lives. To cope, we turn to professionals, to friends, to community, to God. Moses was the first personage in our tradition to offer a prayer to Heaven for healing. Our sages used his simple five word long supplication as the foundation for the healing petition in our daily liturgy. In the medieval period, public prayers for named individuals came to be recited at the communal reading of the Torah. Composer Debbie Friedman took this individual mishabayrak and adapted it as a collective prayer, which has become part of our congregation’s weekly practice.

Recognizing the power of the collective to address the mending of the Spirit if not of the Body, Jewish healing services were inaugurated in the 1980’s. We hosted a few services here at RSNS in the ‘90’s. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, and with the growing insecurity many of us feel with the growth of antisemitism in our country and in the world, we will acknowledge both personal and collective pain at a “Service for Healing” on Thursday, February 28 beginning at 8:00 P.M. We invite people in the RSNS community circle to join together for an hour of chanting, readings, and silence, to create an island of contemplation and serenity. We will come together understanding that “ours are the arms, the fingers, the voices; / ours are the hands, the eyes, the smiles,” as Rabbi Rami Shapiro has written and as we will sing.