Offering prayers and making blessings do not always come naturally, so we need to train ourselves to be aware of the special nature of the moment and comfortable in marking it through sacred words. At the dinner table, take a moment to share with family and friends the events of the past week: what was learned, what was enjoyed, what wasn’t. According to tradition, the Shabbat table is a place where parents offer blessings to their children and guests.

Try and do the same for life’s more difficult moments. It is often at these times that we most wish to give some blessing but do not know quite the right thing to say. If it is the night before your child goes to college, recall fond memories of his or her childhood, offer gifts of wisdom and love and fun and comfort that you want your child to take on the journey.

If you are forced to make a difficult decision, such as removing a loved one from life support after consulting with a rabbi or hospital chaplain, prepare your own blessing of understanding and release that such a decision entails.

Every moment of blessing is enhanced both by the moment of celebration and the preparation that brings us to that moment….

Daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, Judaism offers us ways of renewing, connecting, dreaming, and hoping. Blessings enable us to feel gratitude, seek new beginnings, know that we belong and where we belong, and find the path toward promise and hope.

Kerry M. Olitzky, editor, Daniel Judson, editor in The Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life