Women who Kaddish

A space to Glorify spirit // where femininity can run wild // in communication // with her Creator



Mati's Story 

What holds me now I cling to daily. I stand and recite the Kaddish, the scaffolding holding my heart together after your departure.

My personal Kaddish continues to surprise me with its variations of meaning. Somedays its spiritual while other days it’s a mere technicality; another form of ritual OCD. Whatever its ascribed meaning of the day - all of it is in your name.

The meanings of my Kaddish:

Yit'gadal v'yit'kadash sh'mei raba

Kaddish- what lets me cling to you for just a little while longer

 

b'al'ma di v'ra khir'utei

A way for me continue to give to you, anything at all

 

v'yam'likh mal'khutei b'chayeikhon uv'yomeikhon

That thing that keeps me sane

 

uv'chayei d'khol beit yis'ra'eil

A nagging voice waking me at ungodly hours

 

ba'agala uviz'man kariv v'im'ru- Amen

Forcing me to synagogue to be with my tribe

And confront God daily

 

Y'hei sh'mei raba m'varakh l'alam ul'al'mei al'maya

Its how I get men to pay attention to a woman’s presence and pace in prayer

 

Yit'barakh v'yish'tabach v'yit'pa'ar v'yit'romam v'yit'nasei

Which makes me stop to look up to you with a wink...I know you’d get a kick out of that

 

v'yit'hadar v'yit'aleh v'yit'halal sh'mei d'kud'sha- B'rikh hu.

My Kaddish travels to all corners of the world
 

 

toosh'b'chatah v'nechematah, da'ameeran b'al'mah, v'eemru- amen

Berlin, Dupont circle, Tel Aviv, Brooklyn, Chicago, Berkeley

 

Y'hei sh'lama raba min sh'maya

At times with the anxiety of waiting for that 10th body

 

v'chayim aleinu v'al kol yis'ra'eil

I choose to surrender

 

v'im'ru- amen

To become dependent on those strange faces around me

 

Oseh shalom bim'romav hu ya'aseh shalom

Dad, if a soul has the possibility to be elevated, then I am lifting you with every finger

 

aleinu v'al kol Yis'ra'eil

A constant reminder to cherish you

       A way to continue loving you

 

v'im'ru- amen.


 

It’s quite devious to admit but I think my father would have been hesitant about me saying Kaddish. It was far enough from anything resembling a norm in our community that within our communities the subject of women saying kaddish did not warrant discussion. I took on the practice anyway, and recited the daily kaddish aloud to a quorum.

We probably would have debated it. And I possibly would have won given the historical and halachic evidence that embraced women in reciting this prayer. I am the eldest of four girls and though it’s customary for the eldest male child to say the prayer or pass it on to the closest male relative, I wasn’t at peace with this, I needed to feel his presence involved in my daily life; I needed to personalize it.