A Kavvana (Reflection) for the Amidah

02.16.2016

In the opening words of the Amidah we thank our God and the God of our ancestors. I want to offer a kavvanah for the phrase ‘the God of our ancestors’ with the goal of opening that phrase up, personalizing it, and suggesting one of the things we do when we come to shul is try and figure out what it means to be Jewish, and that means coming to terms with our history and what it all means when we put it together. Here is the kavanna:

Kavanna for the opening of the Amidah
Blessed are You, our God and God of our ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Golda Meir, Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem, the God of our grandparents and great grandparents who came to America with nothing but a hope and who worked long hours so we could enjoy the blessings we take for granted today,

the God of Einstein and the God of Herzl, the God of our communist ancestors who didn’t believe in God and the God of our entrepreneurial ancestors who built Macy’s and Bloomingdales,

the God of Larry Kushner who finds God in the depths of our souls and the God of Harold Kushner who can’t help it if bad things happen to good people, the God who is present to us as the Shechinah, and the God who is hidden from us as the Ein sof, the God whose mighty hand vanquished Pharoah’s troops at the shores of the Red Sea, and the God who was mysteriously silent as Jews walked to the gas chambers,

the God of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the God of Louis Brandeis, the God of Yitzchak Rabin and the God of Ariel Sharon, the God of Hank Greenberg and the God of Sandy Koufax, the God of Bernie Madoff, the God of Barney Frank and the God of Bugsy Siegel – to you alone do we give thanks.

one of the things we do when we come to shul is try and figure out what it means to be Jewish

Kavanna for the opening of the Amidah
Blessed are You, our God and God of our ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Golda Meir, Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem, the God of our grandparents and great grandparents who came to America with nothing but a hope and who worked long hours so we could enjoy the blessings we take for granted today,

the God of Einstein and the God of Herzl, the God of our communist ancestors who didn’t believe in God and the God of our entrepreneurial ancestors who built Macy’s and Bloomingdales,

the God of Larry Kushner who finds God in the depths of our souls and the God of Harold Kushner who can’t help it if bad things happen to good people, the God who is present to us as the Shechinah, and the God who is hidden from us as the Ein sof, the God whose mighty hand vanquished Pharoah’s troops at the shores of the Red Sea, and the God who was mysteriously silent as Jews walked to the gas chambers,

the God of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the God of Louis Brandeis, the God of Yitzchak Rabin and the God of Ariel Sharon, the God of Hank Greenberg and the God of Sandy Koufax, the God of Bernie Madoff, the God of Barney Frank and the God of Bugsy Siegel – to you alone do we give thanks.