A Transition Ritual for Inauguration

by Rabbi Ilana Zietman / January 20, 2021

Today marks a shift in our country as a new administration assumes power. But the day should not only mark a shift in leadership. Turning to Jewish wisdom, we can use this transition to mark a change within us and reflect on who we are, who we want to be, and how we can get there.

To mark this day, we invite you to take part in a short DIY hand washing activity based on the ritual of mikvah. We hope this brief ritual helps you observe this shift in our country as we step into what is next on our journey.

P.S. BIG shoutout to Temple Micah’s Storefront Project for dreaming up this activity and Asiyah for your collaboration on this ritual.

DIY Transition Ritual for Inauguration

1. Gather Your Supplies

  • A large bowl, a cup full of water, a hand towel, a pen, and paper.

2. Say This Prayer

  • Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.
  • בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם)
  • Blessed are You, Source of Life, who enjoined us to lift up our hands.

3. Wash Your Hands

  • Use the cup filled with water to pour water gently over your hands and then dry them with your hand towel.

4. Say This Prayer

  • Y’hi ratzon milfanecha she’atah, m’kor hashalom, she’hidrich otanu l’mayyim shel shalom, tzedek, v’nechama.
  • יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ שֶׁאַתָּה, מְקוֹר הַשָּׁלוֹם שֶׁהִדְרִיךְ אוֹתָנוּ לְמַיֵּם שֶׁל שְׁלוֹם צֶדֶק וְנֶחָמָה)
  • May it Be Your Will, Source of Peace, that you guide us to waters of peace, justice, and comfort.

6. Reflect and Journal

  • Finally, spend a few moments journaling with your pen and paper on the following prompts:
    • Whose hands do you find yourself holding in moments of transition?
    • How do you metaphorically hold the hands of others when they are going through change?
    • What prayers do you have for our country at this time of transition?
    • How will you provide nourishment to our country?