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B'Mitzvah Torah Honors/Blessings & Aliyot

There are a number of ways to involve family members and friends in the ceremony. In addition to the B'Mitzvah themself, it is customary to honor parents, grandparents, and close friends and/or family with aliyot — the honor of being called up to the Torah. There are seven aliyot total. Of those seven, two are reserved for members of the congregation. Other honors include chanting a portion of Torah, opening and closing the ark, lifting and wrapping the Torah after the reading, and doing readings in English during the service. 

Aliyah (literally “going up”) refers to the honor of being called up to the bimah (the raised platform at the front of the sanctuary) to chant blessings before and after a section of Torah is read. The Torah scroll symbolizes the entire system of traditions and obligations that define Jewish life, and thus one of the central honors in the Shabbat morning service is being called up for an aliyah.

Who gets called up for an aliyah?
At Dorshei Tzedek, any Jewish adult (aged 13 years or older) can be called up for an aliyah. In addition, non-Jewish spouses/partners are welcome to accompany their partner up to the bimah, with the Jewish partner reciting the Hebrew blessing. 

How do I get an aliyah
Sometimes the aliyot will be offered to groups, and sometimes to individuals. For groups, the service leader will invite anyone interested to come up for the aliyah. For individuals, the gabbai 
(assistant) will walk around the sanctuary offering the three aliyot. If you accept one, the gabbai will hand you a card noting which aliyah out of the three aliyot you'll be called for.
What do I do if I have an aliyah?
When it is your turn to go up to the bimah, Rabbi Toba will call out your aliyah (first aliyah, second aliyah, etc.) and your name in both English and Hebrew.

Hebrew names are used in prayer and other religious rituals. A Hebrew name begins with a given name, followed by bat (daughter of), mibeit (from the house of), or ben (son of). You can use your aliyah card to indicate which of the three gender options you'd like the service leader to use when referring to you.

Ta'amod ____ bat _______.
Let  name  daughter of  parent(s)  stand.

Na La'amod ____ mibeit _______.
Please stand,  name , from the house of  parent(s) .

Ya'amod ____ ben _______.
Let  name  son of  parent(s)  stand.

We request that those called up wear a tallit (prayer shawl). At the very minimum, one person in a group aliyah must wear a tallit. There is a basket of tallitot on the bimah.

At the Torah reading table, the reader will point out to you the first word of the reading in the Torah scroll. Touch one corner of your tallit to the first word and then kiss the corner of the tallit. Then chant the beginning of the blessing: 

Blessing before the Torah reading
You say:
בָּרְכוּ אֶת אֲדֹנָי הַמְּבֹרָךְ
Barukh et Adonay hamvorakh.

The congregation responds:
בָּרוּךְ אֲדֹנָי הַמְּבֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. 
Barukh Adonai ham'vorakh l'olam va'ed.

You repeat:
בָּרוּךְ אֲדֹנָי הַמְּבֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. 
Barukh Adonai ham'vorakh l'olam va'ed.

You say:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קֵרְבָנוּ לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת תּוֹרָתוֹ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי נוֹתֵן הַתּוֹרָה
Barukh atah Adonay eloheynu melekh haolam asher kervanu la'vudato v'natan lanu et torato. Barukh atah Adonay noten haTorah.

The blessing translates as:

Bless Adonai, the blessed One; 
Blessed is Adonai, for ever and ever;
Blessed are You Adonai, Source of Life, who has brought us close to Your service and given us Your Torah. Blessed is Adonai, Giver of Torah.

After chanting a few verses, the reader will show you the last word chanted, and again you will touch that word with the corner of your tallit and kiss the tallit. Then recite the closing blessing: 

Barukh atah Adonay eloheynu melekh haolam asher natan lanu torat emet vehayey olam nata betoheynu. Barukh atah Adonay noten haTorah.

This blessing translates as:

Blessed are You Adonai, Source of Life, who has given us a Torah of truth, and has planted eternal life within us. Blessed is Adonai, Giver of Torah.

The one change in the Reconstructionist version of these blessings is in the third line, where we substitute “who has brought us close to Your service” for the traditional “who has chosen us from all the nations,” consistent with our rejection of the idea of the Jews as the “chosen” people.

Resources for practicing: 
As you now know, the Torah blessings used in Reconstructionist congregations are slightly different than those recited elsewhere. These materials will help you prepare if you are called for an aliyah 
during our services.

PDF of Torah blessings in Hebrew (with transliteration)
Audio recordings of Torah blessings
Audio recordings of Torah and Haftarah Trope

Mon, June 24 2024 18 Sivan 5784