Learn & Play
Lesson Plan

Women’s Prayer Book - Over 500 years old

We will explore the controversy and evolution of one of the traditional morning blessings. Traditionally, men blessed God for “not making me a woman,” while women blessed God for “making me according to His will.” In this primary source, we will learn about the existence of an alternative blessing for women found in a siddur over 500 years ago.

“Blessed are You…who has made me a woman, not a man.” Who knew that this text is actually found in a siddur from 500 years ago?!

Group Activity

Ask students to write their feelings and opinions about the “opposite” gender. Have students read their essays and facilitate a respectful conversation allowing others to respond to and challenge each other’s perceptions. 


Discussion Questions

  • Do you think that the prayers should be adapted to suit modernity or stay as they were in the past?
  • Do you feel or express gratitude for being your gender? 
  • Do you like this version of the blessing or do you think that the blessing should be eliminated altogether? 
  • Do you believe that Jewish prayers and practice should be completely egalitarian?

Creative Activity

Write three new blessings that you would want to put into the morning liturgy. 

Artist Hillel Smith used the traditional morning blessing said by women: “sheasani kirtzono” to create this Jewish-gay pride mural. Create a mural using the same words, giving it your own interpretation and imagery.

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Ask students to write their feelings and opinions about the “opposite” gender. Have students read their essays and facilitate a respectful conversation allowing others to respond to and challenge each other’s perceptions.