This Ritual Life Archive

Welcome to This Ritual Life.

Here you will find out about ways to enhance your holiday experience, to celebrate or mark a meaningful life cycle event, and to deepen your experience of the everyday. Our authors are especially interested in hearing your responses to what they have written. So after reading, visit the Ritual Life discussion forum where you can join in conversation with CLAL faculty and other readers.

To join the conversation at Ritual Life Talk, click here.
To access the Ritual Life Archive, click here.

Leaving for College

All the other times, the kids came home and re-entered family life. From overnights, then summer camp, then trips to Israel. But this time, it feels so different. College means a new world, a new life, with the independence that makes us both proud and conscious of a great transition. The room is packed, the precious items are tucked into duffles, the car is loaded…We think of so many years of conversations, the pain and laughter to reach this moment of maturity. This new journey requires us to be present in such a different way. Perhaps it is at the doorway of the bedroom now stripped and clean (how the memory of that messy high school bedroom seems so beautiful now!) Or perhaps it is after unloading the boxes in the dorm, as the posters go up on the wall. We stand there, looking at each other in awe and anxiety.


Setting off on new paths to knowledge,

May all your comings and goings be blessed.


(Before leaving home)

Invite all those closest to the college-bound student (family, friends, teachers) to circle him or her as each gives a personal blessing (best to write the blessing out in advance, so it can be well thought out and permanent) and a photograph or small article that has special meaning.

(After unpacking and setting up the new college residence)

Celebrate this extraordinary moment of maturation-moving into a college room-by presenting the mezuzah that you brought for this purpose and giving it to your child to place on the doorpost of his or her room. (If that's uncomfortable, then it can be placed inside the room)


(After receiving the circle of blessings, all recite)

May God bless you and keep you.

May God look kindly upon you,

May God embrace you tenderly,

And give you peace.

(Before putting up the mezuzah)

Blessed are you, Gracious One our God, sovereign of all worlds, who makes us holy with your mitzvot and commands us to affix the mezuzah.

(After affixing the mezuzah)

Blessed are you Eternal One our God who gives us life and keeps us strong and has brought us to this time.


Go forth from your land and from your people and from your parents' home to a place that I will show you. (Genesis 12:1)

You graciously give us the power to learn and grow in wisdom. Grant us knowledge, understanding and wisdom. (Amidah)

Hochmah, binah v'da'at

Knowledge, understanding and wisdom

CLAL's National Jewish Resource Center develops and publishes rituals that help to bridge the gap between our contemporary lives and the ancient wisdom of the Jewish tradition.

To join the conversation at Ritual Life Talk, click here.
To access the Ritual Life Archive, click here.