A Liturgy after Terror Attacks
This is a four-prayer liturgy to be used after terror strikes. “For Terror Survivors” and “To the Terrorist” are from “A Liturgy for 9-11.” “Let Tranquility Reign” is based on Psalms 120-122. Options are shown with [brackets]; word choices with a slash (/). This liturgy also appears on ReformJudaism.org.
After a Terror Attack
Author of life,
Humanity has turned violent,
Attacking the heart of another city/nation
With vitriol and hatred
In (an act/coordinated acts) of calculated terror.
Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To the victims of terror throughout the world,
Men and women whose lives were cut off by witless aggression.
Today we (add/once again add) ______________ [insert city name]
To the list of places where innocents have been murdered and wounded.
Remember with love
The survivors of these horrors
Throughout the world.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
Courage to heal,
And devotion to each other.
Hand of love and shelter,
Grant the victims of terror Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing,
And Your peace.
For Terror 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 acts of terror.
Remember now those who are suffering from trauma after the attack in ___________ [add the location].
Release them from visions of death and destruction.
Release them 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, G-d of healing, Source of strength for survivors of violence and tragedy in every land and in every age. Blessed are You, 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,
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.
Let Tranquility Reign
Some days the prayers
Of Your people
Are so close
We can hold them in our hands,
Feel them with our eyes,
Taste them with our breath.
They surround our hearts
To become our yearning.
They surround our song,
To become our grieving.
They surround our souls,
To become our pleading.
:רַבַּת שָׁכְנָה-לָּהּ נַפְשִׁי, עִם שׂוֹנֵא שָׁלוֹם
:אֲנִי-שָׁלוֹם וְכִי אֲדַבֵּר, הֵמָּה לַמִּלְחָמָה
“My soul has dwelled too long
Among those who hate peace.
I am for peace, but when I speak of it
They are for war.”
When will peace come,
Source of Peace,
When will sorrow be vanquished?
When will tranquility reign?
:יְהוָה יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכָּל-רָע, יִשְׁמֹר אֶת-נַפְשֶׁךָ
:יְהוָה יִשְׁמָר-צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ, מֵעַתָּה וְעַד-עוֹלָם
“Adonai will guard you from all harm;
G-d will guard your soul.
Adonai will guard your going and coming;
Now and evermore.”
For You are our Hope.
Let those who cherish life
Bless this day and every day.
:לְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי, אֲדַבְּרָה-נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ
:לְמַעַן בֵּית-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, אֲבַקְשָׁה טוֹב לָךְ
“For the sake of my comrades and companions,
I shall say: ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the House of Adonai our God
I will seek your good.”
Let these prayers ascend
To the lofty heights,
So that the nations,
And peoples of the earth,
Will rejoice in holiness,
Will rejoice in splendor,
And will rejoice, together, in righteousness.
“After a Terror Attack” is © 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved. “Let Tranquility Reign” is © 2015 Alden Solovy andtobendlight.com. All rights reserved. “For Terror Survivors” and “To the Terrorist” are © 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: “After a Terror Attack” is an adaptation of “For Brussels.” “Let Tranquility Reign” first appeared on this site January 18, 2015. “For Terror Survivors” and “To the Terrorist” first appeared on this site on April 28, 2o11, as part of my “Liturgy for 9-11.”
Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.
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