Shinui Ma’aseh Commitment Ritual

Below is a ritual I’ve created to go along with the Shinui Ma’aseh challenge that I posted over at  It’s to kick off month long exploration of a new spiritual or physical practice, especially during the month of Cheshvan when we have no holidays.  To learn more, head over to PunkTorah and read about the challenge!


Ritual to Affirm Commitment to Shinui Ma’aseh
Find a quiet place and give yourself about half an hour, at least.  Add any additional elements that you feel will enhance the experience for you, whether that is wearing a tallit or other ritual clothing, using incense, drumming, etc.  Think about what symbols will enhance the experience for you.
Kavanah Opening Meditation (Psalm 118:19):

The kavanah, is the intention of the ritual.  Repeat this phrase four times.  Four (4) is a number of gateways and doors, so we say this four times to open a doorway “between the worlds.” You also might want to sing the Hebrew using one of the many chants created for this verse.  Here’s a link to one well known one from Reb Shlomo Carlebach.  If you use a chant, don’t just listen — it’s important that the words come out of your mouth.

Open to me the gates of Tzedek; I will enter into them, I will give thanks unto the LORD.

פִּתְחוּ-לִי שַׁעֲרֵי-צֶדֶק;    אָבֹא-בָם, אוֹדֶה יָהּ

Pitchu pitchu lishaíarei tzedek avo avo vam odeh ya

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Ask: Response to an Orthodox Woman

I got an email from a woman who identified herself as Orthodox.  When I sent a response, the email bounced back as invalid.  As she use the contact form on my website, it means she most likely typed her address in wrong.  I wouldn’t normally post this response publicly, but as there is nothing to identify her I don’t feel like I’m violating her privacy.  Plus, this is the only way I can respond to her now.

I come here wondering if Jewitchery would be a means to adding to my spirituality as Orthodox Judaism seems to have killed it somehow. I was always drawn to certain things like crystals, spells, incense–things that people in the OJ community would find ‘strange.’ My basic question is if Jewitchery clashes with traditional Judaism? Do Jewiches fast all the fasts, keep kosher, keep the sabbath as orthodoxy prescribes or how does it differ?


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Juicy Delicious Judaism – A Rosh Hashanah Drash

I was honored to be asked to speak at the Rosh Hashanah services of Olney Kehila this year.  Below is the text of the “drash” I gave.

L’Shanah Tova

I am really honored to be here with you all today.  My family seems to have a growing and wonderful connection with Olney Kehila.  Not only is Holly, a friend, teacher, and mentor, but my husband crafted the wonderful ark that houses your community’s Torah.  I’ve enjoyed services here in the past and just love what a friendly and welcoming congregation this is.  One thing, in particular, that’s struck me in the past is the amazing kids you have here. I watch them get so engaged with the songs and chants,and I remember meeting one Bat Mitzvah student a couple of years ago who was working on some project that I can’t even fathom having the maturity to have done when I was twelve.

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Chant: Ululate in Praise

I’ve been on a burst of creativity the past 10 days  or so!  Another chant.  This time based on a bracha from the Kohenet Siddur.  The beat, I’m pretty sure was inspired by hearing Samba Elegua play at my Kohenet sister, Annie Matan Gilbert, wedding!


Hebrew: Brucha At Shekhinah, Malka, M’Hulelet B’Tishbachot
English Translation: Blessed are you, Shekhinah, Queen, to whom we ululate in praise.


What do you think?  I need to get with some percussionists and really see how this works!

Psalm 27 Chant

You are my light and my refuge,
Who should I fear?

One thing (One thing)
One thing (One thing)
One thing I ask of you.

To behold your Sweetness
And gaze on your Palace

Shelter me
Raise me up!

You are my light and my refuge,
Who should I fear?

One thing (One thing)
One thing (One thing)
One thing I ask of you.

To dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life.

Creative Commons License
Psalm 27 Chant by Carly Lesser (Ketzirah)
is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


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