Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
Kaddish for a Human Minyan
What does the kaddish really mean? And what can I say when there's no minyan of Jewish people?
When I was in Costa Rica after my mother died, I improvised a "secular" kaddish so that I could say kaddish under circumstances where I could gather ten people but not ten Jews. I continued to work on this kaddish when I got home. It was especially important at my boy's school, where I could often get ten parents to stay after drop-off to help me say kaddish, but some of those parents would often not be Jewish. Sharing it in that context and with people in my home community, I found that people really loved it and got a lot out of it.
You may find it useful in three ways:
1) As a kind of prayer for Creation, in the spirit of the our hope for the time when "all creatures become united in one band" to serve God, and also as an expression of a fully biocentric theology that is humanly humble.
2) As an alternative kaddish to do at any point in synagogue where people might benefit from something read in English. As such this would not be a replacement for the Aramaic kaddish that mourners say, but it might work as one of the other kaddishes that get said in a service.
3) As a way to honor and create community within a group of people who are Jewish and not Jewish -- especially when a mourner can find a minyan of ten friends but not ten Jews.
Here is the text -- you can download the most current version here.
"Kaddish for a Human Minyan"
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006