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I'm a student at a 6-12 Jewish day school in which mandatory shacharit services (but students are given a choice between several denominational options) are held on Mondays and Thursdays. I help run the school's Reform service.

My school is holding a blood drive tomorrow, and one of the teachers in charge of the Reform minyan is giving blood for the first time ever tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking for ideas for something short that I can do for her in the minyan tomorrow, both to publicly thank her for performing the mitzvah of saving a life and to teach the kids about the importance of what she's doing.

Any suggestions?

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If there's a Torah reading, give her an aliyah, and afterwards do a Mi SheBerach prayer. The usual one blesses the person "for coming up for the honor of the Torah", but add in "and for saving lives with her blood."

Or if she doesn't want an aliyah, have someone else do the aliyah, and include in their Mi Sheberach a blessing for Ms. So-and-so in honor of her blood donation.

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    You can always do a Mi shebeach for Holim (standard text) and add "those who received blood donations especially that of....". This has the advantage to my mind of reinforcing blood donations in general as well as praising the specific donor. Presumably 6-12 refers to grades, not ages. – Epicentre Feb 26 '15 at 9:54
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Honors available at a weekday morning service on a Monday or Thursday are, in order:

  1. Leading the service
  2. Opening the ark
  3. Aliyot (three available)
  4. Lifting the Torah (possibly not a good idea if she's still weak)
  5. Rolling the Torah back up
  6. Tikkun

Any of these honors would work. Aliyot work well because they're most clearly "awards" and it gives you a chance to speak. Hagbah is also a good candidate because it's traditionally associated with healing and strength1 (those scrolls are heavy). The talmud also considers it a bigger honor than the aliyot though contemporary synagogues tend not to treat it that way. Whichever honor you decide on, a "tikkun" consisting of cookies and juice (and something stronger in some synagogues) served after the service is a traditional way of marking special occasions.


1 I don't have a source for this other than experience. When I've had sick relatives, I have been offered hagbah for their recovery and I've seen people given Hagbah in honor of getting out of the hospital.

  • "Lifting the Torah (possibly not a good idea if she's still weak)": sounds from the question like the prayer service is before the donation. Anyway, if it's after, another issue would be stress on the wound. – msh210 Feb 26 '15 at 4:46
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    Alcohol at a day school minyan sounds like a terrible idea. – Double AA Feb 26 '15 at 4:59
  • Hagbah is traditionally a higher honor than the Aliyot as it receives the reward of all Aliyot combined (Megillah 32a). – Double AA Feb 26 '15 at 5:00
  • @DoubleAA I obviously wasn't suggesting alcohol actually be served, and yeah, I knew I forgot something! Editing in Hagba now – Yitzchak Feb 26 '15 at 22:41

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