Liturgical Arts for Our Times

In summer 2020, Bayit convened a pluralistic group of rabbis, liturgists, and artists to collaboratively create liturgy for our times. Together Bayit’s liturgical arts working group co-creates new prayers, poems, and artwork: tools for “building Jewish” that speak to the spiritual needs of this moment and beyond. Here are our emerging offerings. The most recent materials are at the top.

 


Gates, Open and Closing

These offerings are bookends for the Days of Awe. Here are poems, prayers, and artworks for Selichot and for Ne’ilah, the near and far thresholds of this holy season. May they help these holidays lift our spirits and open our hearts. And may the new year bring blessing not only to us but to the whole aching world. Available both as a downloadable PDF and as google slides suitable for screenshare.   Featuring work by Trisha Arlin, R. Rachel Barenblat, Joanne Fink, R. David Evan Markus, R. Sonja K. Pilz PhD, and Steve Silbert. 

Read excerpts and download here: Gates, Open and Closing (Selichot and Ne’ilah 5782)

 


Rosh Hodesh Elul / New Year of the Animals

Judaism’s ancient New Year for the Animals can remind us that we’re all stewards of the Earth and all her life.  It can remind us that we too are animals, part of the web of life.  It can remind us of the special love we feel for companion animals – a heart-opening love we need as we prepare for the heart journey of Rosh Hashanah. Here are poems, prayers, and artwork for Rosh Hodesh Elul / the New Year of the Animals. May these offerings help us to draw near to our animals, our traditions, ourselves, each other, and our Source. Available both as a downloadable PDF and as google slides suitable for screenshare. Co-created by Trisha Arlin, R. Rachel Barenblat, Joanne Fink, R. Dara Lithwick, R. David Markus, and R. Sonja Keren Pilz.

Read excerpts and download here: Rosh Hodesh Elul / New Year of the Animals 5781.


Tisha b’Av 5781: Our Mourning Year

Here are poems, prayers, artwork, and readings for Tisha b’Av 2021, looking back on the last pandemic year as we sit with what’s broken and nurture the seeds of hope for repair. This offering is organized through the frame of four stages of mourning, evoking both our own personal losses and our communal journey of global grief. Available both as a downloadable PDF and as google slides suitable for streaming. Co-created by Trisha Arlin, R. Rachel Barenblat, Joanne Fink, R. Dara Lithwick, R. David Markus, R. Sonja Keren Pilz, and Steve Silbert.

Read excerpts and download here: Our Mourning Year: Tisha b’Av 5781.


Together, Becoming: Shavuot 5781 / 2021

New from Bayit’s Liturgical Arts Working Group comes this collaborative compilation of liturgy, poetry and art for this second pandemic Shavuot.

Exploring themes of standing together at Sinai (even when we’re apart), the harvest of first fruits, the mountain where we journey and the mountain over our heads, being “ownerless” in the wilderness, and more, these poems and prayers and illustrations are meant for personal and communal use. We hope they speak to you and open you more wholly to this year’s revelation.

Read excerpts and download here: Together, Becoming: Shavuot 2021.


Yearning For Our Plague to End: Lag Ba’Omer 5781 / 2021

New from Bayit’s Liturgical Arts Working Group comes this collaborative compilation of poetry and art for Lag Ba’Omer.

The 33rd day of the Omer is understood in Jewish tradition as the final day of a plague afflicting Rabbi Akiva’s students. What meaning can we find in that teaching this year, as COVID-19 continues to rage worldwide even as vaccinations in some of our nations crest toward safety?  Here are poems, reading, and artwork offering some answers to that question.

Read excerpts and download here: Yearning For Our Plague to End: Lag Ba’Omer 2021.


Approaching Our Second COVID Seder

Poetry, liturgy, and artwork for this second pandemic Pesach. This collaborative collection is available in two formats: as a downloadable PDF (suitable for printing to accompany a printed haggadah), and as a set of google slides (suitable for screenshare for Zoom or other online / streamed sedarim.) Here too are a handful of pieces to mark the seventh day of the festival, when tradition says we took the plunge and crossed the sea.

What does it mean to approach the season of our liberation when so many of us feel we are still in Mitzrayim / in the Narrow Place of pandemic, economic uncertainty, and global grieving? What do we carry with us on the journey? How will this seder be different from all other seders, even the first pandemic seder we celebrated a year ago? What words, images, practices, and prayers can help us connect with liberation in this season?

Read excerpts and download here: Approaching Our Second Covid Seder


The Lot of One Year – Liturgy, Poetry, and Art for Purim 2021

New from Bayit’s Liturgical Arts Working Group comes a collection of poems, prayers, and artwork for this pandemic Purim. Here are meditations on (the) last Purim, and on our many-layered losses; poems on our world turning upside-down, on what our masks reveal, on grief and playfulness, on Esther and on Zeresh, on vengeance and its limitations; another new Al Hanisim looking back on Purim miracles that haven’t yet arrived; illustrations (including a printable coloring page that can be turned into a gragger); and more.

Read excerpts and download here: The Lot of One Year.


Connections – Liturgy, Poetry, and Art for Tu BiShvat

An interdisciplinary and pluralist collection of new work for Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees: “TU biShvat is an invitation to focus on the natural world surrounding us–and at the same time, it makes us aware of our connectedness to each other, to the flow of time and stories, to the flow of cyclical renewal, to the spiritual worlds…This year, connection also is digital–we use a digital ecosystem to supplement a natural one…”

Here are prayers and practices for solitary pandemic celebration, meditations on trees in urban settings, coloring pages for contemplative creativity, prayers looking ahead to the year 2030, and more.

This collection was co-created by Trisha Arlin, R. Rachel Barenblat, R. Allie Fischman, R. Dara Lithwick, R. David Evan Markus, R. Sonja Keren Pilz, and Steve Silbert, and is intended for use by individuals and communities across and beyond the denominational spectrum. Read excerpts and download here: Connections.


Great Miracles Happen Here

This new collaborative offering from Bayit’s liturgical arts working group comes to bring light in dark times. Here you’ll find new liturgy (including an “Al HaNisim” looking back on the miracles we haven’t yet lived into being, and a “Hanerot Hallalu” for this pandemic year), evocative poetry (on finding light without a chanukiyah, on kindling lights alone, on the windows where we light our lights and the Zoom windows where the pandemic allows us to gather, and much more), and meditations on Chanukah through all five senses, all accompanied by heart-opening artwork.

This collection was co-created by Trisha Arlin, R. Rachel Barenblat, R. Dara Lithwick, R. David Evan Markus, R. Sonja Keren Pilz, R. Jennifer Singer, Steve Silbert, and Devon Spier, and is intended for use by individuals and communities across and beyond the denominational spectrum. Read excerpts and download here: Great Miracles Happen Here.  And here’s a lovely review by Mark Frydenberg in eJP: Who Can Retell?


Ushpizin: Liturgy for Sukkot in Time of Covid

Sukkot this year will be unlike any other. Some of us won’t be able to safely build a sukkah; others will find in the sukkah the outdoor safety that indoor ventilation doesn’t provide. What does it mean to invite ancestors when we can’t invite guests in person? With what, or whom, (or Whom!) are we sitting when we dwell in our sukkot this year — whether our sukkot be literal or metaphorical? What structures can we build liturgically and spiritually to protect us in these vulnerable times? Four liturgists from within and beyond the denominations collaborated on this set of offerings from Bayit to accompany us through this year’s festival.

This collection is a collaboration between Trisha Arlin, R. Rachel Barenblat, R. David Evan Markus, and R. Sonja Keren Pilz, with sketchnotes by Steve Silbert.


Megillat Covid

Five offerings for Tisha b’Av 2020, each available as its own downloadable PDF. They are intended for both personal and communal use, and can be used singly or all together. Any of them could be read on their own, or as a prelude to Eicha / Lamentations.

The final poem has been set to Eicha trope, recorded by R. Jennifer Singer.

This collection is by Trisha Arlin, R. Rachel Barenblat, R. Evan J. Krame, R. Sonja Keren Pilz, and Devon Spier, with sketchnotes by Steve Silbert.