2011 Conference
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Bentching 101
Grace after Meals

Victoria Sutton

Friday 6:30 PM–7:45 PM Ballroom C Canceled, sorry

Saturday 8:00 AM–9:15 AM Ballrooms A, C

101, Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Shabbat

Birkat HaMazon, or Grace After Meals, is a millenia old text that remains today one of the most familiar blessings. It is traditionally sung after communal meals, and is required by Jewish Law to be recited after consuming bread as was the practice for Jews all over the world for centuries. Birkat HaMazon is a lenghty "super-blessing", comprised of four individual blessings, embedded in a rich and complex text. Why do we say Birkat HaMazon? What is the basis for this multi-blessing structure? We will examine the text of Birkat HaMazon and will look at Biblical and Talmudic sources that shed light on the significance of these blessings in order to uncover the meaning and relevance of the ritual. We will also discuss its social and spiritual significance particularly as a blessing for plenty in a world where hunger and need still exist.

Victoria Sutton

Yeshivat Maharat

Victoria Sutton is a first-year student at Yeshivat Maharat. Prior to that, Victoria spent the past year studying Talmud at Mechon Hadar. She is a graduate of Barnard College with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. She also holds a Grand Diploma in Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. Originally from Ocean, NJ where she attended Hillel Yeshiva, she continued her learning at Michlelet NCSY in Jerusalem and the Drisha High School program in Manhattan. She has taught elementary and middle school students at Hillel Yeshiva, and high school students at the Yeshiva of the Jersey Shore. Victoria also serves as a Victim Intervention Advocate at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she is trained to provide emotional support in the Emergency Room to survivors of rape and domestic violence.

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