Shalom From the Shabbat Lady
By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
Each morning, there are traditional blessings recited upon waking up. One of the prayers says: “Blessed are You, Adonai, our G-d, Ruler of the universe, who gives sight to the blind (pokei’ah iv­rim).” Thankfully, very few people are actually blind, so why do we say this prayer every morning? It may be that in some ways, we are all blind as we close our eyes, not seeing the wonderful things in our world. We take so much for granted and we have become blind to the wonders around us. When we say this prayer, we are asking to have our eyes opened.
Here is a fun activity to enjoy outdoors in nature, in your back yard or even in your home. What are the things that we have closed our eyes to and taken for granted? Why is it important to open our eyes and really see?
•Choose a partner. This activity should be done in silence.
•The “A” partner closes his/her eyes and the “B” partner walks the “A” partner to a special natural view (a flower, a rock, etc.).
•”B” partner should take the head of “A” and adjust the line of vision just as if they were a camera — it can be a close-up or a panoramic view.
•Recite the pokei’ah ivrim blessing and tug on the ear of “A” to open his/her eyes.
•“A” should take in the view as if for the first time.
“Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, pokei’ah ivrim.”
“Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Ruler of the universe, who gives sight to the blind.”
•How did it feel to be led around? How did it feel to be able to see again?
•What did you see that you didn’t notice before?
•How did it feel to lead a blind person around?
•What was it like to choose a special sight to see? Why did you choose that view?
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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