Blessing the Chanukah Candles (w/o God)

My family is “blended.” My husband was raised Catholic but is non-practicing, and my step-kids are growing up without any formal religious structure or education. This can make sharing the Jewish holidays a challenge. The first year we lit the Chanukiah together, I struggled with how to address the blessings.

The fact that my own relationship to the concepts of God and prayer are tenuous, was a factor. Their mother’s concern that I might confuse them or try to convert them also played a role. While part of me longed to recite and share the traditional blessings, I was hesitant.

As a result, we came up with our own blessing. It is something both my husband and I feel comfortable saying and something the kids can remember. It is a blessing that we can share with our friends and family who are not Jewish so that they can participate in the ceremony of lighting Chanukah candles, without feeling obligated to say a prayer that they don’t understand or feel forced to adopt. Feel free to borrow it for your own interfaith holiday gatherings.

“Thank you for being here with me tonight,
to celebrate the miracle of the Chanukah lights.”

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2 Responses to “Blessing the Chanukah Candles (w/o God)”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I love it; what a great and thoughtful idea. I come from a Humanistic Jewish background, so i can relate a lot. I remember one blessing we used to say is:

    “Ba-ruch ha-or ba-oh-lahm
    Ba-ruch ha-or ba-ah-dahm
    We light these candles in our home tonight
    and we hope
    that in the world
    light will shine for all”

    There is no mention of God, and we still appreciate the miracle of Chanukah and the connection between the Jewish people.

  2. Barbara Says:

    “Thank you for being here tonight,
    to celebrate the freedom spirit in the history of the Chanukah lights.”
    Bravo on both your statements.
    I have combined them with my own and will use it tonight. Thank you for for your excellent thoughts!

    I am a Humanistic Jew, and appreciate the strength and helpfulness of Jewish people in the world. And so my words at this time of year offer the idea of light from the candles as an inspiration and sign for good things to happen.

    “Ba-ruch ha-or ba-oh-lahm
    Ba-ruch ha-or ba-ah-dahm
    We light these candles tonight
    and we hope
    that in the world
    light will shine for all”

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