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front page of Shabbat va-YinafashThe front page of Shabbat va-Yinafash, Bet Mishpachah’s own prayer book for Shabbat evening services.Bet Mishpachah’s prayer books reflect in words the spiritual values of our congregation.  We are very proud of our siddurim for Shabbat evening and morning, Shavat va-Yinafash (Rest and Renewal), our machzorim for the High Holy Days, Chadeish Yameinu (Renew Our Days), and our shiva book for a house of mourning, Ha-Makom Y’nacheim (Place of Comfort), which were developed by our members to meet our unique needs as LGBT Jews and allies. The first edition of Shavat va-Yinafash, published in 1991, was adopted by several other LGBT congregations around the country.

The text are “degenderized,” meaning English translations and readings do not use male words or pronouns exclusively when referring to God, and both the English and Hebrew text include additional references to women, such as the matriarchs and the Prophet Miriam. In Hebrew, feminine-gender God-language is included in several prayers, such as Avinu Malkeinu, Imeinu Shechinateinu, and a version of the blessing for Shabbat and Festival candle lighting.  Our liturgy also includes a wide variety of metaphors for the Divine, recognizing congregants’ varying concepts of or questions and uncertainties about God.  

Development of our liturgy is an ongoing project.  The second edition of Shavat va-Yinafash is now in draft, and we are considering a review of our High Holy Day machzorim.  In addition, to make our liturgy accessible to all who join us, all Hebrew that is read aloud in services is transliterated in the prayer books.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed. In addition, if you have an interest or background in liturgy and would like to participate in this process, please contact liturgy@betmish.org

doors of the congregation’s arkThe doors of the congregation’s ark were hand carved by a member.Bet Mishpachah’s two historic Torah scrollsBet Mishpachah’s two historic Torah scrolls.Bet Mishpachah’s prayer booksBet Mishpachah’s prayer books contain many original works and translations that the congregation’s members wrote themselves.