Mad Mazal

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March 1, 2001
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Susan Silverman

Directions: One person looks at the mad-yids. S/he reads the parts of speech aloud to respondents who think of words to fit those categories. For example, the reader says “noun” and the respondents provide any noun: “dog,” “house,” “peanut,” “toenail”… The reader says “abstract noun” and the respondents may suggest something like “joy,” “pleasure,” “fury,” “idiocy,” and so on. The reader writes the suggestions in place of the terms and voila! A ready-made speech for the rabbi to give your son. Note: a participle is a verb with “ing” at the end.

_______(Name of male in room), today you are a _______(noun). You have grown up in the midst of this _______(adjective) congregation. This building has housed the _______(event, plural) of your father and his father before him. On this bimah, I performed your brit milah and gave you your Hebrew name _______(name of biblical character), and at the climactic and _______(adjective) moment, you _______(action, past tense)-a sign of God’s presence. And now here you are, again on this bimah, again _______(same action, participle) before us. You have learned of our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and _______(name of famous person), and of our people’s exodus from __________(place). On Yom Kippur you have sought God’s _______(abstract noun) for your sins, on Chanukah you have spun the _______(noun), and on Purim you have dressed in _______(kind of clothing) and _______(action, past tense) around the room with the other children. It is on this day that you cease _______(participle) as a child, and thus begin to _______(verb) – the obligation of every adult Jew. Do not do unto others as you would not have _______(plural noun) do unto you. In this week’s Torah portion, God tells Moses to take a census of the Israelites. I look around at this community and see consensus: hope, pride and _______(abstract noun) in the _______(body part, plural) of all your _______(adjective) loved ones – for all that you are and will be. Our blessing for you today is that you may always be counted among God’s _______(adjective that describes Jews) people. And let us say together, _______(adverb).

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Rabbi Susan Silverman, co-author of Jewish Family & Life: Traditions, Holidays, and Values for Today's Parents and Children (Golden Books), is writing a book on the spiritual journey of international adoption.

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