A little-known Jewish ritual is about to make a grand entrance: Birkat Hachama (“Blessing of the Sun”) – which is observed only once every 28 years – will come around on Wednesday, April 8.
Didn’t know about this one? Well get ready because the Jewish world is starting to get sun stroke. (Here at JRC we’re going to observe BH with a sunrise meditation service, yoga sun salutations along with the traditional ceremony itself.)
An increasing number of BH related items have been crossing my desktop of late – my personal favorite is this article from the April 8, 1897 issue of the NY Times. Apparently when a group of venerable rabbis tried to observe the sun ritual in Tompkins Square, NY, they were almost shut down by the police. My favorite line from the (very detailed) piece:
No Permit Had Been Thought Necessary for the Gathering and Policeman Foley Could Not Understand What It Meant.
(Hey, get in line, Policeman Foley…)
Here is an extensive list of Birkat Hachama resources (including where to get your own commemorative t-shirt.)