Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

In Memoriam, Orlando — “Love Wins: A Pride Prayer”

jquestOur vocal response to hate: “Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18), in Hebrew pronounced “ve’ahavta lere’acha kamocha” and written ואהבת לרעך כמוך! This slightly-revised version of this prayer is in memoriam to the victims of racist terror and massacre of LGBT persons in Orlando on Sunday. See: “For Orlando, For the USA” and “Pride Wins: A Prayer after Homophobic Brutality.” In the end, love wins.

Love Wins: A Pride Prayer
One day, the words ‘coming out’ will sound strange,
Oppression based on gender or orientation will be a memory,
History to honor and remember,
The pain of hiding, repressing, denying,
Honoring the triumphs of those who fought to be free,
Remembering the violence and vitriol that cost lives.

When love wins,
When love wins at long last,
ואהבת לרעך כמוך,
‘Love your neighbor as yourself’
Will be as natural as breathing.
ואהבת לרעך כמוך!

One day, love will win every heart,
Love will win every soul,
Fear will vanish like smoke,
And tenderness for all will fill our hearts.
ואהבת לרעך כמוך!

Love wins. In the end,
Love wins.
All genders,
All orientations,
All people,
All true expressions of heart.
ואהבת לרעך כמוך!

Let this come speedily,
In our day,
A tribute to the many
And the diverse
Gifts from heaven.
A tribute to love deep and true,
Each of us for one another.
ואהבת לרעך כמוך!

© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: In this version, I’ve replaced four lines in the second to last stanza with the line ‘all people,’ removing the lines ‘man for man, woman for woman, woman for man, man for women.’ The change is the result of a comment on the URJ site to “For Orlando, For the USA:” “This is a beautiful prayer, but I wonder if ‘men and women’ should be changed to ‘people’ because it was a queer nightclub and there is a high probability that nonbinary people where also victims of this hate crime.” Thank you to my friend Cantor Evan Kent for his suggestions on an earlier draft of this prayer.

This prayer was written after anti-semetic vitriol was hurled at LGBT Jews at the Creating Change 2016 Conference. To read the full background, go to the original post, which first appeared on this site on January 22, 2016.

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Photo Source: Tufts Hillel, JQUEST (Jewish Queer Students at Tufts)

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