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In an Age of Coronavirus, a Jewish Hand washing Prayer - CAEF Bulletin, March 13, 2020

Today the news is all about COVID-19 and its projected trajectory, as well as government health care policies, economic impacts, social distancing, inter-country relations, supply chain issues, cancelled vacations, and worry, worry, worry.

We have all heard the recommendations to prevent the coronavirus and the steps to take if we feel affected by it, or if a close family member or associate is affected. We can’t possibly predict the mid to long term implications. We must stand together in the battle to corral this beast, by standing apart—more personal distance from fellow human beings.

I have nothing to add, except CAEF is going to continue to fight the older virus, that of antisemitism which is also spreading and potentially deadly.

So, in combining to halt the two “plagues”, I am pleased to share a prayer that my synagogue sent out today. It embodies two messages: Stand proud as a Jew, and wash your hands. Since traditionally, Jews say a prayer while washing hands before partaking in food, let us all take up this practice, pray and wash hands, and enjoy a safe, healthy Shabbat.

This prayer is offered in English, Hebrew and English phonetics for Hebrew.


To add a moment of spirituality to a difficult situation, we share these words from RitualWell. This prayer combines a contemporary meditation with the traditional blessing for hand washing. As we wash our hands We pray, Blessed is the Soul of the Universe, Breathing us in and breathing us out. May our breaths continue And our health and the health of all Be preserved In this time of sickness and fear of sickness. Holy Wholeness, We take as much responsibility for this as we can By observing the obligation to wash our hands Thoroughly: For as long as it takes to say this prayer. Amen.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הָ׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם

Barukh atah adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al netilat yadayim. Blessed are you, our God, ruler of the universe, who sanctified us with God's commandments and instructed us on washing hands.



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