This is an affirmation of faith built around the sine qua non of Jewish affirmations: the Shema. It can be used many ways, such as a conversion ceremony or as a meditation before a bar or bat mitzvah. I’ve also included it in my liturgy for Yom HaShoah. This piece appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.
Affirmation of Faith
Hear O Israel,
The covenant we made
Together on Sinai
Is a pledge for all time,
A vow for the ages,
To do and to listen
To teach and to learn
With the fullness of our hearts
From the depths of our souls
And the strength of our being
Binding ourselves to
Adonai Our G-d
With Torah and Mitzvot,
Binding our lives to each other
With righteousness and charity,
So that blessings will rain down from heaven
To feed our hearts and fill our land
With G-d’s abundant gifts,
The brilliance and wonder
That flow from service to G-d’s Holy Word,
In remembrance of creation
And our liberation from slavery,
Declaring throughout the generations:
G-d is One,
G-d is One,
G-d is One.
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד׃
© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day
Postscript: Here’s a link to a meditation called “Doubt,” representing a radically different approach to finding faith. I wrote this prayer after my friend Roberta asked if I had a prayer she might use as part of reaffirming her conversion after 30 years. I was taught that conversion is the result of the soul’s recognition of itself as having been present on Sinai during revelation. So conversion is the process of education and action to manifest a pre-existing truth. So why would a prayer of affirmation make reference to the conversion itself? Shouldn’t it be a prayer that any Jew can use, in joy or in grief, whether to affirm faith 30 years post-conversion or 30 seconds after a tragedy?
Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.
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