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Writing Samples - Blessings and Prayers

Memorial Prayer for family of Choice

Mark, blonde and lanky, the first person to ever come out to me, was my racquetball partner in college. He died from AIDS way too young. Grandma Frieda loved whiskey sours, going to Vegas and was born in Berdichev. She died in her own apartment at age at 94. Ethey was intelligent, had a heart of gold and thought she could handle life without her antidepressants. She jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge this year. Oh Source of All, thank you for blessing me with memories.

They are here with me: Now. Never again. Always.


Ault Renaming: Transgender

The community is strengthened today by acknowledging that ___[full name]___________________ has always been who _[first name]____ is today. When struggling through the birth canal, similar to how the Hebrew People squeezed through Mitzraim, the narrow place; this holy person in front of us was cloaked in a gender identity not meant for them. Let us be thankful that both _[first name]____ and us can now celebrate both outer as well as inner beauty.

G-d is of no gender. G-d is of every gender. The first human was of no gender. The first human was of every gender. May the world be a better place in respect for all the struggles you have been subjected to. May you take on your new name with Pride. May it be known only for good. May you be blessed.


Prayer for LGBTQI People

Betzelem Elohim. Each of us is created in G-d’s image.

We’re not a label. We are complex beings.

In far past generations our love was celebrated. More recently it was the love that dare not speak its name. I am not a label yet still I want to shout from the rooftops, put a full page ad in the Chronicle and change my on-line screen name to: I’m here, I’m queer: love all of me.

I can’t throw a ball. I don’t wear makeup well. Neither opera, nor the Michigan Women’s music festival do a thing for me. I have no interest in being a drag queen nor drag king.

Butch, fem, bottom top, …O Source of All, you know me and totally, unequivocally and fully love and embrace me. Let me love myself in order that I can love and embrace others. Let me realize that Pride comes from within, and often only after much struggle and growth.

Thank you for bringing me to this sanctuary tonight so that I may sit in community of other complex beings. Each of us alone, yet together. Help me to replace thoughts of labels with Shabbat peace.

Then I can breathe and thank You for letting me be me.

Amen.


Prayer for Taking an H.I.V. Test

Thank you Source of All for giving me the courage to walk into the testing center. Thank you for not letting me succumb to my fears; for letting the blood be drawn, the swab be swept. Thank you for letting me remember I am not the first person to go down this path, no matter which direction I may be headed.


Do what's right

Somehow I grew up needing to ‘play by the rules.’
Be a great student.
Help others.
Never put myself first.
Do what’s right.

If the Bible has all the answers
If the Bible is G-d’s instruction manual
rule book
the only direct communiqué we have from the Source of All
then I need to know it, follow it, so I can
Do what’s right.
The stories about people in Genesis are easy enough on the pschat level.
Exodus is the Pesach story…and I’ve always loved seders.
Stop. What’s this? Leviticus: 18:22. What is an abhorrence?
Do what’s right? I’ll do what I know is right.

Do I reexamine everything now? Question everything?
Simply plow through Numbers and Deuteronomy? Skip them?
How do I
do what’s right?

We’re People of the Book.
Thirsting for the Living Waters.
Eager to touch the Tree of Life.
Do we live by the Golden Rule as Hillel taught on one foot?
Or do we grapple with the text, study, learn, share?

Yes, all of the above. And it starts by accepting that we won’t understand it all.
We can’t be perfect.
But by trying our best, and accepting our mistakes, we are doing what we can to
Do what’s right.

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At home, taken in front of Sushi - esque by artist Randy
Titchenal
Howard M. Steiermann, ordained ritual
	facilitator and wedding officiant, 415-695-9155