Folk Ritual

Jeff Newman – Family Prayer

Gracias Diosito, por un dia mas de vida, un dia mas de alegrias (Original)

Thank you God, for one day more of living, one day more of happiness (Literal Translation)

Thank you God, for another day of life and another day of happiness (Actual Translation)

Gracias por mi casa, mi alimenta, mi abrigo.

Thank you for my house, my health, my coat

Thank you for my shelter, my health, and my clothing.

Gracias por todo lo que me has dado.

Thank you for everything that you me has given

Thank you for everything that you have given me.

Te pido por mi Papi, Mami, Jeppy y Ross Chris;

To you I ask for my Father, Mother, Jeppy, and Ross Chris;

I ask for your protection for my Father, Mother, Jeppy, and Ross Chris;

Turtle, Oreo y Sky; toda mi familia, todo el

Turtle, Oreo, and Sky; all my family, all the

Turtle, Oreo, and Sky; my family, all of the

Mundo entero, y para que nunca nos falte el

World entire, and so we never are without

World, and so we are never without any

Agua ni la luz. Amen

Water or the light. Amen

Water or the light. Amen

Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ehad (Literal Translation)

Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One (Actual Translation)

Jeff Newman – Bedtime Prayer

My Mom and Dad came up with this prayer when I was born. They wanted to make sure that I had a strong religious background and that I appreciated my Mexican and Jewish heritage. My father met my mother in medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico in the late 1970’s. My Mother was not Jewish then. However, she did convert when they married so that I would be raised under one religion. Because of my Mother’s strong religious background, she made sure that I understood where I came from and what I was, A Mexican Jew.

I have been reciting this prayer with my family every night for my entire life. I asked my Mom if it was common for Mexican families to do this. She said it was not. She wanted to create something unique and special for our family. She created something that will live on for generations and remind our lineage of what it means to be considered part of the Newman family.

Growing up, I never really took this prayer that seriously. I was young, and no matter how many times my Mother told me to focus and actually listen to the words I was saying, I rarely did. Because we would recite the prayer at night right before bedtime I would be so exhausted that I would accidentally mumble the words. Sometimes, they would be so funny that whatever I said would stick for a few weeks and the whole family would take part in saying it. The prayer would also change whenever we got a new pet or a pet would sadly pass away. It was not uncommon to have a new variation of a portion of the prayer every couple of months.

Another important aspect is the fact that we mixed two heritages into one prayer. We begin with the Spanish portion which is followed immediately with a Hebrew prayer. My Mom made it this way on purpose to make sure that we remember our ancestry as well as our religion because they are both of equal importance. Whenever I am having a hard time and I feel like nothing will make me feel better I always say this prayer to remember my blessings and realized how fortunate I am. I am greatly looking forward to the day when I can pass this bedtime ritual onto my children and my family.