by Rabbi Nathan Martin
My colleague Matt and I had the opportunity several years ago to participate in a families’ retreat taking place with our synagogue over Mother’s Day weekend. As an American Jew who lives in multiple civilizations, I was excited about finding a way to infuse Mother’s Day at the retreat with a sense of the sacred and to also create a ritual that would involve the whole family. We thus envisioned a way in which mothers could meet and first nourish each other with appreciation while fathers and children would work on an activity to create a physical blessing that they could then share later. While we were pleased with this ritual we did realize that it also could be worth offering multiple possibilities for various family constellations. For example, for families with two mothers who are parents, an ally could stay with the children to create the blessing project. So, we encourage people to consider this as a malleable template!
A Mother’s Day Blessing
By Rabbi Nathan Martin & Matt Utterback (originally appeared at Ritualwell)
Setting: a group of families at a home or on retreat
1. Create a space for mothers to meet as a group and share with each other what they appreciate about being a mother and what energizes them in this role
2. While mothers are meeting, have children share or create a collage of thoughts about what they most like and appreciate about their mothers
3. Have the groups re-congregate together and create a circle
4. Have a father or other adult present share/present the children’s thoughts
5. Have another father or adult offer a misheberakh. Here is one example:
Misheberakh imoteinu Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, Ve-Zilpah. May the one who blessed our ancestors bless all the mothers who are with us today. As you care for and nourish your children, may you too feel nourished by the Source of Life. May you not be alone in this important work of mothering, but may you always feel connected to broader networks of support. And, even amidst the challenges you face, may you be pleased with ma’aseh yadeykhen, the work of your hands and minds, knowing that you are helping to build a more whole world through your efforts. And let us say Amen!
(Close with a song relating to women or gratitude.)
Rabbi Nathan Martin serves Congregation Beth Israel of Media.