The Mourner’s Kaddish is the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead. This is mildly ironic, as it doesn’t mention death as all; instead it affirms the power and majesty of the divine. It is usually said by relatives in the presence of a public prayer service: as to stand in public and praise God as as God has taken away a loved one is a profoundly powerful spiritual act.

I was recently invited to say Kaddish at the memorial service of Reverend Donald Watson by his husband, Reverend Stevenson Graham. You can read a statement from Stevenson available on the One Spirit Foundation’s website about Donald.

It was an honour to do, but the traditional English translation would not have resonated with the people present, so I created an alternative translation that you can read below, taking inspiration from Reb Zalman’s alternative version. A copy of the sheet that I used with the transliteration, my translation and a traditional translation can be downloaded here.


Great and holy are the names of the One in this world created by divine love.

May that love transform our hearts in your lifetimes and in our days, in the lives of all who struggle, swiftly and soon. Let us love one another now.

May the blessings of that love flow forever into our world and worlds beyond.

And that divine love,
that sacred energy,
may we shape it
and bring it to life
so it may be truly seen
and given its time
and be seen as beautiful
and uplifting
and joyful, through our own being.

Beyond all prayers, and blessings, and healings and consolations that we can give, is the One from which we come. May we remember.

May a blanket of peace fall upon us from the heavens to comfort us and all who are struggling.

May the One who unites heaven and earth, bring compassion to us, to all who are struggling and to all sentient beings.



Donald, you will be missed.

Watson, Donald with Toby.thumbnail