In Eletronic Rituals class we have been discussing the definition of rituals and trying to understand what this concept means in the post modern *digital* era.

For me, ritual is interpreted as an active process of engagement and meaning making to enact a sense of belonging that makes the collective real (Burroughs, 2014). In this affirmation, I recognize that ritualization involves “a particular way of naming the social world” (Couldry, 2002), still, I would like to focus my approach on the subject as “a way of acting that is designed and orchestrated to distinguish and privilege what is being done to other, usually more quotidian, activites.”.

Therefore, for our first assignment, where we should imagine an “electronic” ritual and prototype the necessary systems to perform it, I decided to revisit and create a digital version of one of my family’s traditional jewish home blessing.

Since my boyfriend and I moved to our new place in New York  my family have been asking me to do the blessing of the home. According to both of my grandmothers, The “evil/greedy eye” isn’t something we should play with:  “It’s for protection Ilana!!! We have to send those evil/greedy eyes away!”. Still, even though I moved around 4 months ago, I haven’t done the blessing yet.

The blessing of the home or ברכת הבית (Birkat HaBaiyt) is a Jewish prayer often inscribed on wall plaques or hamsas and featured at the entrance of some Jewish homes. In the home, the blessing is traditionally hung on the wall next to the front door or next to a window. It is meant to drive any evil spirits out of the house and protect the occupants within. There are various versions of the prayer.

 

Hebrew Transliteration English Translation
ברכת הבית:
בזה השער לא יבוא צער.
בזאת הדירה לא תבוא צרה.
בזאת הדלת לא תבוא בהלה.
בזאת המחלקה לא תבוא מחלוקת.
בזה המקום תהי ברכה ושלום.
Birkat habayit:
Bezeh haššshaˁar lo yavo tzaˁar.
Bezot haddirah lo tavo tzarah.
Bezot haddelet lo tavo bahalah.
Bezot hammaḥlaqah lo tavo maḥloqet.
Bezeh hammaqom tehi b’rakhah v’shšalom.
Blessing for the home:
Let no sadness come through this gate.
Let no trouble come to this dwelling.
Let no fear come through this door.
Let no conflict be in this place.
Let this home be filled with the blessing of joy and peace.

(source: Wikipedia)

So I decided to — finally — bless my home AND do it through AR.

The blessing is beautiful! I mean, is a good mantra to have. I don’t think I really believe in “evil/greedy eye”, but I do believe it is an interesting passage, and a good meditation to say to yourself and to the people who live with you. Besides, is a tradition, and repeating a ritual from my family, rooted to my religion, makes me feel like I belong somewhere and am part of something bigger.

“For attitudes to become definitive, they must be cultivated by practice, and the name for sustained, value-laden attitude practice is ritual. […] In ritualizing, human beings discover, then embody and cultivate their world views, attitudes and ethics.” Grimes (2006, p. 135)

I believe that the ritual I recreated can remind people to take care of their home, to nurture a safe space and feel grateful about it. I think that by doing it in a more interactive you can make it more playful and engaging for people to bless their own spaces. It did indeed help me root and feel connected to my family.

 

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