On April 8, 2009, Jewish communities around the world will participate in a unique ritual that occurs only once every 28 years. Together, we will celebrate the return of the sun to its original place in the heavens at the precise time and day of creation by reciting Birkat HaHammah, a blessing on the sun. This event celebrates our natural world and all its blessings, recognizing the cycles of life that sustain us all. This year, Birkat HaHammah coincides with both the beginning of Passover and a critical window for advocacy on environment and energy issues. Be a voice for the environment as you celebrate Birkat HaHammah and Passover this year.
Here are some tools and resources to help you plan your celebration:
COEJL's Bless the Sun Website Find an overview of Birkat HaHammah, advocacy resources, news articles and links to local events happening throughout the Jewish community.
Canfei Nesharim's Birkat HaHammah Resources Canfei Nesharim is the leader of Torah-based environmental movement and has provided resources on how to observe Birkat HaHammah including FREE wallet cards with prayers and teachings related to this special day.
Massekhet HaHammah The Conservative Movement put together a collection of texts as a way to help individuals prepare for Birkat HaHammah.The materials are divided into nine themed chapters that can stand alone as individual lessons or flow together as desired.
Congregations are taking part in Birkat HaHammah celebrations, services and programs. Here are a few events happening throughout our Movement:
Congregation Beth Israel, Walla Walla, WA Congregation Beth Israel will hold a short sunrise service to celebrate this incredibly rare and special moment. Given the attention paid by the congregation and the Whitman College Hillel-Shalom student group to issues of sustainability and resource awareness, this service will be a great way to connect our work to our tradition. READ MORE from the Washington Post.
Temple Beth Or, Montgomery, AL In coordination with a local Conservative congregation, a community-wide interfaith celebration will be held. A 30 minute ceremony will convene at 7am at the band shelter at River Walk Park. The service will consist of multi-denominational prayers and songs celebrating Creation - and will include a focus on ecology and the environment by a guest speaker. The Montgomery Chorale will be offering selectiosn from Haydn's oratorio, "The Creation," accompanied by members of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. For a copy of the ceremony and more information, email Rabbi Elliot Stevens at email@example.com.
Congregation Beth HaTephila, Asheville, NC A sunrise service will be held on a nearby mountaintop. Sunday school families are encouraged to create family time capsules to be opened at the next celebration of Birkat HaHammah. These capsules can include: letters to one another, photos, a newspaper, maybe a video of the family Seder that night or stuffed animals. Stations will be set up in the synagogue hall prior to the service to help children and parents start their time capsule.
Temple Solel, Hollywood, FL Temple Solel is partnering with a local congregation to host a beach sunrise program that combines traditional liturgy with additional poetry.
Temple Beth Israel, York, PA The ceremony will begin at 6:15am on the lawn of the synagogue to sing morning prayers and songs related to God's creative will. The program will conclude precisely at 6:40am - the official time of sunrise in York, PA.
If your congregation is planning an event, we want to hear about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.