Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 25 February 2010 by admin

Dear Families,

As I write this week, I am preparing to go to the American Camp Association Conference. I will write about how important camp is for Jewish identity formation and commitment to community, but not this week. This week I am thinking about traveling. There is a wonderful prayer called “Tefillat Haderech” which is called the traveler’s prayer although the literal translation is “prayer of the road.” It asks G-d to protect the traveler from the dangers faced on a journey. Today the dangers are much different than in the past; however, reciting this prayer gives us the opportunity to think about the journey ahead and prepare for the experience. Every trip brings adventure and learning but our approach is important — are you ready?

The Tefillat Haderech traditional prayer is this:

May it be Your will, Adonai, our G-d and G-d of our ancestors, to lead us in peace, to keep us in peace, to direct us to our destination in health and happiness and peace, and to return us to our homes in peace. Save us from all enemies and calamities on the journey, and from all threatening disasters. Bless the work of our hands. May we find grace, love and mercy in Your sight and in the sight of all who see us. Hear our pleas, for You listen to prayer and supplication. Praised are You, Adonai, who hears prayer.

A contemporary version is from Debbie Friedman’s “And You Shall Be a Blessing”:

May we be blessed as we go on our way,

May we be guided in peace,

May we be blessed with health and joy,

May this be our blessing, Amen.

May we be sheltered by the wings of peace,

May we be kept in safety and in love,

May grace and compassion find their way to every soul,

May this be our blessing, Amen.

I can’t wait to begin this journey — it is a yearly trip for me and always a growing and learning experience. My prayer for travel includes the prayer for wisdom to take in all that is offered.

Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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