Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

A Liturgy for 9-11

National_Park_Service_9-11_Statue_of_Liberty_and_WTCThis is a 9-11 liturgy written for the 10th anniversary of the attacks. In HUC-JIR’s Tzeh U’limad, Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., held a dialogue called “Remembering 9-11: Ten Years Later.” She then asked me to write a 9-11 liturgy. The original four prayers appear on that site. The post below includes additional prayers written as I thought further about the liturgy. The response has been overwhelming. Here’s a link to an overview of some of the ways these prayers have been used.

Tweetable! So others can use this liturgy, click here to tweet this: Powerful! “A Liturgy for 9-11” by @ToBendLight. http://tobendlight.com/?p=2922

                                                          

For 9-11 Survivors
G-d of the survivor,
G-d of the mourner and the witness,
Grant solace and peace to those still held by physical, emotional and spiritual distress from the attacks of 9-11. Release them from visions of death and destruction, from guilt or shame, from fear or anger. Bind their wounds with Your steadfast love. Lift them on Your wings of kindness and grace.

Blessed are those who have found peace.
Blessed are those without tranquility.

Blessed are those who speak.
Blessed are those who stay silent.

Blessed are those who have healed.
Blessed are those who suffer.

Blessed are those who forgive.
Blessed are those who cannot forgive.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Source of strength for survivors of violence and tragedy in every land and in every age. Blessed are You, Rock of Israel, Source of hope and comfort.

                                                      

To the Terrorist
You who would hold the sky captive,
The sea prisoner,
The land in chains…

You who hide in caves,
Retreat to the wilderness,
Disappear behind false names and forged papers…

You who smuggle guns and arms,
Hide rockets in cities and bombs in homes,
Build weapons against the innocent and the bystander…

You whose designs are destruction,
Whose plans are fear,
Whose joy is hate…

You who harden your hearts
And wrap yourselves in death…

What evil has robbed you of your love,
Your compassion,
Your goodness,
Your humanity?
What lies have invaded your minds
So that you choose to die in order to kill?

We who love our lives and liberty
Stand firm and strong against terror.
We will defend our nation and our people.
We will protect our land and our homes.
And we pray for you to find hope and comfort
In lives of peace.

                                                   

At the Hand of Terror: A 9-11 Yizkor Prayer
Creator of all,
Source and shelter,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To ______________________ (name in Hebrew or your native tongue),
My [ father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / dear one/ friend ]
Who died [ in / during / because of ]
The 9-11 attacks on the United States.
Remember the works of his/her hands
And the message of his/her heart
Remember all those who were lost in the terror of that day.
Grant their families peace and comfort for Your name’s sake
And for the sake of those who perished.
Bring an end to violence and terror,
Speedily, in our days.
May the memory of _____________________ be sanctified with joy and love.
May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

____________________

At the Hand of Terror II: A 9-11 Memorial Prayer
Creator of all,
Source and shelter,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To those who died in the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Remember the works of their hands
And the message of their hearts.
Grant their families peace and comfort for Your name’s sake
And for the sake of those who perished.
Bring an end to violence and terror,
Speedily, in our days.
May their memories be sanctified with joy and love.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

                                                      
Memorial Prayer for 9-11 First Responders
G-d of the selfless,
G-d of the strong and the brave,
Grant a perfect rest among the souls of the righteous
To those who died in service to others because of
The 9/11 attacks on the Unites States.
May their dedication to protecting life serve as a shining lamp of love
And the works of their hands bring us all merit in heaven.
Bless the souls of all who have died to save others,
Civilians and professionals,
The trained and the untrained,
In every age and in every land,
Men and women who answered the call of honor, duty and service.
May their memories be sanctified with joy and love.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.
____________________

Yizkor for First Responders
G-d of the selfless,
G-d of the strong and the brave,
Grant a perfect rest among the souls of the righteous
To ______________________ (name in Hebrew or your native tongue),
My [ father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / dear one/ friend ]
Who died in service to others [ in / during / because of ]
_________________________________________________ [name of event such as:
[the 9/11 attacks on the Unites States, the Mount Carmel forest fire, etc.].
May his/her  dedication to protecting life serve as a shining lamp of  love
And the works of his/her  hands bring us all merit in heaven.
Bless the souls of all who have died to save others,
Civilians and professionals,
The trained and the untrained,
In every age and in every land,
Men and women who answered the call of honor, duty and service.
May the memory of _____________________ be sanctified with joy and love.
May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

                                                      

Other prayers that may be useful in developing a 9-11 commemoration are:

All of these works are © 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Special thanks to my sister Mara Lund for her insightful comments on drafts of these prayers. Thanks also to Rabbi Ruth for the invitation to write.

Tweetable! So others can use this liturgy, click here to tweet this: Powerful! “A Liturgy for 9-11” by @ToBendLight. http://tobendlight.com/?p=2922

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20 Responses to “A Liturgy for 9-11”

    • tobendlight

      Rev. Dr. Hadley – If you would like to reprint the prayer in any way, I would be happy to provide a permission letter after receiving more details from you. This protects my copyright to the work. I appreciate your interest in these prayers. Alden

      Reply
  1. Suzy Ward

    Dear Sir,

    I am an Episcopal Priest. Our congregation currently is meeting in the buildings of Congregation B’nai David in Visalia, California due to a split in the Episcopal Church.

    The head of the Religious Education Committee for B’nai David and I are working on organizing a joint prayer service on Sept. 11. I would like to use parts of your prayers with your permission.

    Thank you,

    Rev. Suzy Ward

    Priest-in-charge,

    St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

    Visalia, CA

    Reply
  2. Bob Merrill

    Dear Sir:

    I am an Episcopal priest in Hempstead, Texas; a small farming community about an hour northwest of Houston. We are holding a community memorial for the events of 9/11. I request your permission to use your prayers for the departed, first responders and survivors.

    Thank you.

    Blessings,

    Rev. Dr. Bob Merrill
    Rector
    St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church
    Hempstead

    Reply
  3. Mona Klein

    We are hold a Commemoration services at our school in houston, TX on Thursday, Sept 8 th. This gathering will honor the first Responders in our area. Our school servces students from over 85 countries and a population of studnets andstaff who are Medically/Multiply Impaired, Profoundly Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Life Skills and vanguard Gifted and Talented student from Pre – Kindergarten, Kindergarten through age 22. May we use one of you prayers during our ceremony on Sept 8th, 2011, Respectfully, Mona Klein

    Reply
    • tobendlight

      Mona, I’m glad that this prayer will be of use to you and your school. Please feel free to print out one copy of the prayer (including the copyright line) to be read outloud. If you want to duplicate (photocopy, print in a program, etc.) the prayer, you’ll need written permission. To provide written permission, I need to know how many copies you plan to make. I will drop you a note via email. Alden

      Reply
  4. Christine Martin

    What beautiful prayers! You have a wonderful gift with words. Please grant us permission to use “For 9-11 Survivors” in our service of commemoration and remembrance on 9-11. I am the Director of Spiritual Life at a United Methodist church in Ohio, and am certain our congregation would be blessed by it.

    Christine Martin
    Winona UMC
    Winona, Ohio

    Reply
    • tobendlight

      Christine, thanks for your kind words. You are welcome to print out one copy of the prayer (including the copyright line) to be read outloud. If you want to duplicate (photocopy, print in a program, etc.) the prayer, you’ll need written permission. To provide written permission, I need to know how many copies you plan to make. I will drop you a note via email. Alden

      Reply
  5. Rev. Dr. Jon Keiser

    Thanks you all for such meaningful prayers and thoughts. I am a Lutheran Minister. I would like to use portions of the prayers in our liturgy on September 11, 2011. I am requesting your permission to do so.

    G-d Bless you
    Dr. Jon Keiser

    Reply
    • tobendlight

      Jon, I’m glad that these prayer will find use in your work. You’re welcome to print out one copy of each prayer (including the copyright line) to be read outloud. If you want to duplicate (photocopy, print in a program, etc.) the prayers, you’ll need written permission. To provide it, I need to know how many copies you plan to make. I’ll send you an email. Alden

      Reply
  6. Aimee Bostwick

    May we use your “For 9-11 Survivors” prayer for a chapel service on Sunday evening at our Episcopal boarding school?

    Reply
    • tobendlight

      Aimee, I’m glad that “For 9-11 Survivors” will find use at your school. You’re welcome to print out one copy (including the copyright line) to be read outloud. If you want to duplicate it (photocopy, print in a program, etc.), you’ll need written permission. To provide permission, I need to know how many copies you plan to make. I’ll send you an email. Alden

      Reply
  7. Aimee Bostwick

    Alden, thank you for our quick response! I would like for each participant to be able to follow along as the prayer is read out loud. I would like to make 50 copies if that is okay with you. We are the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg VA. I am planning a compline service for the students which will be optional, so I am not certain of the attendance.

    Thank you for these beautiful prayers and this website…
    Peace,
    Aimee Bostwick

    Reply
    • tobendlight

      Aimee, I appreciate your kind words. Here’s technology in action: while you were responding here, I was writing and sent you an email. If you receive it, please respond there so I know you’ve gotten it. If not, please send another note via this web site. Warmly, Alden

      Reply
  8. Joan Newton O'Gorman

    On September 11, 2011, we are observing a “Service of Remembrance, Hope and Peace” with participants from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths reflecting on their Kids4Peace experience in Burlington, Vermont this past summer. With permission, may we use a portion of your prayer? Peace, Salaam, Shalom. Joan Newton O’Gorman, Pastor. Williston Federated Church. Williston, Vermont.

    Reply
    • tobendlight

      Joan, it sounds like an opportunity for prayer and healing. You’re welcome to print out one copy of each prayer (including the copyright line) to be read outloud. If you want to duplicate any of them (photocopy, print in a program, etc.), you’ll need written permission. To provide permission, I’ll need to know which prayers you’ld like to use and how many copies you plan to make. I’ll send you an email. Alden

      Reply

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