After the Horror

YomHaShoahCandleThis prayer can be used as part of a liturgy for Yom HaShoah, specifically for reclaiming life in the shadow of death. Since the wording is general, it can also be used as a meditation after any event in which many die and others live. Another prayer in my Yom Hashoah liturgy is called “Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass,” calling on the imagery of Kristallnacht. Click here for the entire Yom HaShoah liturgy. To listen while you read, please click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.


After the Horror
Hold fast to the breath of life.
Hold fast to the song of life.
Hold fast to the soul of life.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As survivor, as witness, as a voice of history and truth.
Why else did I live when so many died?
Why else do I stand when so many were put to rest?
Why else do I hope and yearn when so many were silenced?

Hold fast to awe and wonder.
Hold fast to radiance and light.
Hold fast to mystery and majesty.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As mourner, as testimony to horror and destruction.
What else remains? What else endures?
What more can You ask of me,
But to choose life in the shadow of death?

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: After the attacks in Toulouse, France, I wrote “At the Hand of Anti-Semitism: A Yizkor Prayer.” Yom HaShoah also reminds me of my gratitude and love for Israel, reflected in this piece, “Israel: A Meditation,” which is also part of my Yom HaShoah liturgy.

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Photo Credit: Highland Park Conservative Temple

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“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

“Mesmerizing, spiritual, provocative, and thoughtful, Alden was everything you would want in a guest scholar and teacher.” – Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, Los Angeles, and Past President, CCAR

"Alden Solovy has become one of the most revered liturgists of the last decade…" - Jewish Post & Opinion, March 29, 2023

“Alden left everyone feeling inspired.” – Cantor Jeri Robins, Shabbat Chair, NewCAJE6