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Gratefulness connects us up to the great flow of receptivity and generosity. When we begin the day in gratefulness, we step on to the path of love.

מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ רוח חַי וְקַיָּם שֶהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְחֶמְלָה, רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ

Modeh ah-nee lifanecha, Ru-ach chai v’kayam, she-hechezarta bee nishma-tee b’chemlah rabbah emunatecha! 

I give thanks before you, living and eternal Spirit, for You have returned within me my soul with compassion; how great is Your faith in me!

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Birkhat haGomel (Blessing of Gratitude) is commonly said after recovering from serious illness or delivering a baby, but can also be recited in appreciation for completing a dangerous journey. It's usually recited in a group of at least 10 other adults who can offer the response. 

First, one person offers this blessing:

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, ha-gomel l’chayavim tovot she-g’malani kol tov.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, ruler of the world, who rewards the undeserving with goodness, and who has rewarded me with goodness.

After the recitation of this blessing, the community responds:

Mi she-g’malcha kol tov, hu yi-g’malcha kol tov selah.

May he who rewarded you with all goodness reward you with all goodness for ever.

Source : Custom & Craft

The shehechiyanu blessing thanks the creator for giving us life, sustaining us, and allowing us to reach this day. This blessing is said at momentous occasions, and tonight counts because it is the night when we can finally look back on the whole previous year. We made it! Whether bitter or sweet, difficult or fun, tonight we celebrate and feel grateful for making it to today, and to this table to reflect with people we care about.

בָּרוּך אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וקְִיְמָּנוּ והְִגִיּעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu la’z’man ha’zeh

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

Source : Rabbi Sarah Bassin, TEBH
Only Love

Source : Tamar Fox

Introduce yourself to the people sitting on either side of you. Share a blessing that you received over the past week with them (“I had really great luck with parking spots today” “I got a good grade on a big exam this week” “I made it to exercise class three times this week and it felt wonderful and empowering”). If you can’t think of anything, just say, “I made it through the week to Shabbat!” After you have shared your blessings, give a blessing to each of your neighbors for the next week. It can be very personal, very general, or anywhere in between (“May you get a whole afternoon to relax and unwind tomorrow” “May you pass into the next level in your karate class” “May you be filled with peace in the week that comes”).

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Land Acknowledgement Ceremony

Wandering has been part of Jewish history since Biblical times. Early in the Torah, we read Lech Lecha, a portion all about Abraham leaving his father’s house. During Sukkot, we physically remember our 40 years of wandering in the desert between Egypt and Israel. Today, many Jews live in communities far from where their ancestors dwelled. Our relationship to land has often been temporary, subject to the whims of others. 

As we have wandered, we have arrived on lands once, or still home, to indigenous people. Sukkot, a holiday closely tied to agriculture, land and thanksgiving, is an opportunity to learn about, honor and recognize those who first inhabited these places. In the US, November is Native American Heritage Month, making it another opportunity to learn the history and the present of Native communities. 

Dedicate one night of Sukkot or the month of November to researching native peoples who lived in your community, acknowledging their existence and honoring their contributions. What were the names of their tribes? What happened to them historically? Who are the current leaders of that indigenous community? Seek out books, podcasts, artwork or stories by and about indigenous people. 

Ready to host your own land acknowledgement? Start by going to Native Land ( to learn the names of the tribes who have lived in your community.  Then visit #HonorNativeLand ( to download a land acknowledgement guide and print colorful posters designed by native artists to hang in your sukkah. 

From Seeker Season Guidebook for the Curious & Courageous:

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Ten Ways to Make Thanksgiving Meaningful, Fun and American! 

1. Make giving thanks fun: As guests arrive, ask them to write on cards what they are most thankful for in the past year. Collect the cards and read from them at several points during the meal. (On video, send chat messages to host). Guess who wrote each one.

2. Tell YOUR American story: Tell stories about the founding of America, and then share the story of how and why your own family came to be in this country.

3.Start a new tradition: Have everyone sign a Thanksgiving book that will stay in your family. Take a picture of the whole gathering and put it in the book (or in an online journal) to share and revisit over the years.

4. Showcase family strengths: Ask a lawyer to discuss her favorite amendment to the Bill of Rights, a psychologist to talk about constitutional rights, a businesswoman to share how recent laws have impacted her business, a third-grader to teach what he learned about the pilgrims and Native Americans, the oldest member of the family to discuss his first voting experience.

5. Donate to charity: Collect a small donation from every guest and let the oldest children or a special guest decide where the funds will go. You can also use the opportunity to discuss the symbols on the dollar bill. (See p. 28 of the Full Ceremony.)

6. Sing! Everyone loves the great Thanksgiving songs of gratitude and gathering. Encourage your guests to join in an old-fashioned sing- along. Pass on American songs you love to your kids and grandkids.

7. Remember the earth: Take the opportunity of celebrating the harvest to discuss ways that Americans can better help to take care of the earth and all of its natural resources.

8. Involve everyone: We all enjoy what we help to create. Invite others to help convene virtually or cook, shop, decorate and clean up. Put out crayons and drawing paper to keep young children entertained during zoom or dinner. Or bring out the kid in everyone. Use parcel paper for your tablecloth and put out crayons for all your guests. Recycle and reuse as much as possible.

9. Consider the global world we live in: Hang maps of the U.S. and the world. Have guests mark all the places they've visited in years past. Talk about what people learned from their travels. Or mark all the places people have lived. Talk about the differences
and similarities between states or countries.

10. Reflect on America’s freedoms: As America’s most universally celebrated holiday, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on what makes our nation special and to give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy. Go around the table and ask guests to complete the phrase, “I am thankful for America’s Freedoms because...”

Source : Original Design by Custom & Craft
Mary Oliver Quote

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For the Gift of Song by Alden Solovy

G-d, we give thanks for the gift of song,
For the gift of melody and harmony,
For the gift of voices quilted together in chorus,
Lifting praises toward the holy realms.
Hear this prayer for those who chant in Your Name,
Who chant for healing,
Who chant to witness Your love,
Your power,
Your grace.
Make their voices Your vessel.
Let heaven pour joy through them
So that they overflow with Your light,
Drawing others to Your glory.
So that when we hear their song
Our hearts turn back to You in peace.
Together, we offer our prayer back to heaven
And rejoice.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

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Gratitude, the feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, can be easy when experiencing a simcha (happy occasion). But it is no less important during our toughest moments. When we lose a loved one, many of us say Kaddish. In this moment of grief, we say, “Blessed and praised, glorified, exalted and extolled, honored, adored and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He.” 

This may seem counterintuitive, and yet Jewish culture teaches that in moments of pain, fear and instability, a gratitude practice can help us cope. As we incorporate it into our own self-care, gratitude can play a large role in healing, both physically and mentally. For those living with depression or other mental illnesses, it can be even more important — especially right now, when many of us remain isolated from others. 

In the Torah, Leah gives birth to her son and says “I will give thanks to Adonai.” Odeh et Adonai. In Hebrew, the root letters of odeh (אודה) — “I will give thanks” — form the basis of the name Leah chooses for her son: Yehudah (יהודה). In English, we translate Yehudah to “Judah,” the root of “Judaism.” 

With her choice, Leah teaches us our greatest Jewish responsibility is to seek moments of thankfulness. When we do, we recognize the holy potential of our world and our ability to bring more of it into people’s lives. (Adapted from the article  To Be a Jew is to Give Thanks-By Definition,  originally published in the Huffington Post.)

So how can we begin to infuse gratitude into our daily lives?

Source : Rachel Kann:

The Gift
By Rachel Kann

Don't I know this
Feeling of homelessness.

And don't I know
How real the loneliness
In your bones is.

Slow down and notice 
The gloriousness afforded;
The view through the newly-opened window 
Of your broken heart.

This gift of clear vision.
Think on
The sacred company 
You're in:

Has there been one instance
Of wisdom 
In the history
Of this misbegotten existence
Elicited from anything but heart-brokenness?

It is an act of grace
To shatter the packaging,
To peel the encasement,

To reveal your true soul’s face and,
Say, with outstretched arms,
Here, here is the shape of my heart.

There is nothing left 
but to be swept 
away by love.

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Create a Thanksgiving Keepsake

Make your own Thanksgiving Gratitude Plate. Express the things you are thankful for and create a treasured Thanksgiving keepsake. Display it as part of your table centerpiece, over your fireplace mantle, or in another prominent location. 

Questions to Spark Creativity
1. What special accomplishments or blessings are you and your family celebrating since last Thanksgiving?
2. Are your answers related to being American?
3. Does a particular part of your family’s American story make you grateful?
4. What in your life today makes you grateful?
5. Consider your family, work, community, country, any specific events that may have affected you, your family members, and/or others.
6. Consider these themes: new family members, jobs or challenges; recovery from illness or other setbacks; discovering strengths, talents or qualities in yourself or others; relationships or ideas that are special to you; what America means to you (and your family)

Plate Materials
1. Start with a plate. You can use heavy-duty paper plates, clear glass or plastic plates, or white melamine plates
2. Glue gun or multipurpose craft glue
3. Mod Podge and a brush to apply
4. Assorted colored tissue paper, magazine images, photos, feathers, beads, glitter, pipe cleaners and other interesting objects (such as autumn leaves, pine cones, and nuts)
5. Assorted markers (permanent markers work best on all)

Be creative! Try feathers, beads, glitter, pipe cleaners, and other interesting objects, magazine cutouts, leaves , and nuts for your design. Layer your objects. Have fun expressing your gratitude!

On glass and plastic plates, you can use Mod Podge with a brush to apply tissue paper to back side of plate. Add more decorations to
front to create layered effect. Tissue paper will give a stained glass look. 
On melamine plates, use permanent markers on these plates and seal with Mod Podge. Sketch your plan on paper before drawing with pens. Apply other materials to your plate with a glue gun. 

Read more about creating a Thanksgiving Gratitude Keepsake here:

Source : Original Design by Custom & Craft
Heschel On Kindness

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This Land Is Your Land

This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land, This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Source :

Thanksgiving Prayer by Rabbi Naomi Levy

For the laughter of the children,
For my own life breath,
For the abundance of food on this table,
For the ones who prepared this sumptuous feast,
For the roof over our heads,
The clothes on our backs,
For our health,
And our wealth of blessings,

For this opportunity to celebrate with family and friends,
For the freedom to pray these words
Without fear,
In any language,
In any faith,
In this great country,
Whose landscape is as vast and beautiful as her inhabitants.
Thank You, God, for giving us all these. Amen.

Source : Sefaria Community Translation

Said after childbirth, major surgery, surviving an accident, traveling overseas, being released from incarceration and other life-threatening situations, the Gomel Blessing has its origins in the Talmud. The blessing is said together with community. 

First, the person who has survived says: 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַגּוֹמֵל לְחַיָּבִים טוֹבוֹת שֶׁגְּמָלַנִי כָּל טוֹב

Barukh atah Adonai, Elohainu melekh haOlam, ha-gomel l’chayavim tovot she-g’malani kol tov.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, ruler of the world, who rewards the undeserving with goodness, and who has rewarded me with goodness.

Then, the community responds: 

מִי שֶׁגְמַלְךָ כֹּל טוֹב הוּא יִגְמַלְךָ כֹּל טוֹב סֶלָה

May God who rewarded you with all goodness reward you with all goodness forever.  

Mi she-g’malcha kol tov, hu yi-g’malcha kol tov selah.

Source : Adapted from Sefaria Community Translation

Before eating anything made of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or rice, say:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֺהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי מְזוֹנוֹת
 Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh haOlam, borei minay mizonot 
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who created various kinds of nourishment.

Before eating tree-grown fruits say:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֺהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh haOlam, borei p'ri ha'etz 
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who created the fruit of the tree.

Before eating earth-grown produce (vegetables) say:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֺהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh haOlam, borei p'ri ha'adamah
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the earth.

Before eating meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, and before drinking all liquids except wine and grape juice, say:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֺהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהַכֹּל נִהְיֶה בִּדְבָרוֹ:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh haOlam, she'ha'kol nihiyeh bid'varo
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, by Whose word all things came to be.