Posts Tagged ‘anti-semitism’

 

For Colleyville, Texas

Posted on: January 16th, 2022 by Alden No Comments

This is a prayer of healing for the hostages freed from Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas, as well as the congregation and the community. In 2015 I served as the Selichot Scholar-In-Residence for three Tarrant County Reform Congregations, including Beth Israel. The invitation came from their rabbi, my friend Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker. The Hebrew stanza in this prayer is from Psalm 121. See also: “You of Blood and Venom,” “After a Deadly Anti-Semitic Attack” and “Racist Violence Against Houses of Worship.

For Colleyville, Texas
G-d who frees the slave and liberates the captive,
Look with mercy on the people of Colleyville, Texas,
Congregation Beth Israel,
And the rescued hostages there,
Victims of hatred and antisemitism.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal,
So that recovery can begin,
Leading to a complete restoration
Of heart, mind, and spirit.
Release them from suffering.
Release them from trauma.
Return them in wholeness to life.
Bless the first responders
And law enforcement professionals
Who brought their hearts and their skills
To the hours of standoff
And to the task of rescue.
May they also know freedom
From the horror of this ordeal.

To those of hate and terror,
In any land, of any faith,
You will not succeed.
To the anti-Semite,
My people have seen your kind
For generations.
We have outlived you all.
To our Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters
Who abhor violence and eschew hatred,
Let us extend our hands to one another
So that this community can heal,
So that throughout the world
We become a shining light of blessing.

!הנה לא־ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל
.ה’ ישמרך מכל-רע, ישׁמר את-נפשך
Hinei lo-yanum v’lo yishan shomer Yisrael!
Adonai yishmarekha mikol-ra, yishmor et-nafshecha.
See, the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!
G-d shall keep you from all evil, G-d will keep your soul.

Heavenly Guide,
Hand of love and shelter,
Grant the people of Colleyville, Texas,
Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing,
And Your peace.

© 2022 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also, “Tree of Life, Pittsburgh,” “Ma’oz Tzur for Pittsburgh,” “Prayer for the Jews of Germany,” and “For the Jews of France.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings 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.

Photo Source: NPR

Fathers and Mothers: A Holocaust Memory

Posted on: April 21st, 2020 by Alden No Comments

Yesterday, in anticipation of Yom HaShoah, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies hosted child Holocaust survivor Rena Quint to tell her story. Her testimony is powerful. This meditation is based on her words, quoting her almost verbatim in the first and third stanzas. Here’s my six-prayer liturgy for Yom HaShoah.

Fathers and Mothers: A Holocaust Memory
Fathers are supposed to keep their promises
To their daughters.
My father promised that it would be okay.
He didn’t keep his promise.
Not one of them.
Not one of my family survived.

There were six extermination camps.
Six at the heart of evil.

What did my mother look like?
What did she smell like?
What color were her eyes?
What color was her hair?
Did she ever give me a kiss?

There were six million
Exterminated.
Fathers and mothers.
Sons and daughters.
Bubbes and Zaydes.
And some of us survived.
Soon, we will be gone.

And you,
Dear children,
Dear grandchildren,
Will you keep your promise?
To remember.
To remember.
To remember.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings 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.

Photo Source: Yad Vashem

You of Blood and Venom: A Prayer of the Jewish People

Posted on: November 7th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

A prayer against the rise of antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world. This prayer is a declaration that the Jewish people will survive. The Hebrew stanza is from Psalms 121. See also: After a Deadly Anti-Semitic Attack” and “Racist Violence Against Houses of Worship.

You of Blood and Venom: A Prayer of the Jewish People
You will not succeed,
You of hate,
You of violence,
You of blood and venom.

My people have seen your kind
For generations,
For millennia.
We have stood before guns and knives,
Gallows and gas chambers,
To outlive our persecutors.
Greece fell. Rome faded.
The Inquisitions, the Pogroms,
The Treblinkas and the Babi Yars,
All failed.
The people of Israel live.
The nation of Israel lives.

!הנה לא־ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל
.ה’ ישמרך מכל-רע, ישׁמר את-נפשך
Hinei lo-yanum v’lo yishan shomer Yisrael!
Adonai yishmarekha mikol-ra, yishmor et-nafshecha.
See, the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!
G-d shall keep you from all evil, G-d will keep your soul.

No, you will not succeed,
You of hate,
You of violence,
You of blood and venom.

עם ישראל חי!
Am Yisrael chai!
The people of Israel live.
The nation of Israel lives.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also, “Tree of Life, Pittsburgh,” “Ma’oz Tzur for Pittsburgh,” “Taharot in Pittsburgh,” “Prayer for the Jews of Germany” and “For the Jews of France.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings 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.

Photo Source: The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism

Tree of Life, Pittsburgh (Hebrew)

Posted on: October 2nd, 2019 by Alden No Comments

This is a Hebrew interpretation of my acrostic, “Tree of Life, Pittsburgh,” a response to the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting. The Hebrew and English versions are part of a new Yom Kippur Martyrology from Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Rabbi Jeffrey Myers. The Hebrew, by my friends Rav Aytan Kaden and Elyssa Moss-Rabinowitz, is energized with references to Tanach and Siddur. Read the story behind this prayer on Times of Israel. A PDF download of an annotated set of the prayers appears at the end of this post.

עֵץ חַיִּיםְ ,פִיטְסְבּוּרְג

עֵץ חַיִּים
צִוִּיתָנוּ לִבְחֹר בַּחַיִּים
חַדֵּש אֶת יָמֵינוּ
יַחֵד לְבָבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר עֵינֵינוּ בְּתוֹ¬רָתֶךָ
יִשָּׂא פָּנָיו אֵלֵינוּ בְּחֵן וּבְשָׁלוֹם
.מְקוֹר הַחַיִּים וְהַבְּרָכוֹת

פָּתַחְנוּ שִׂפְתוֹתֵינוּ בִּתְפִלָּה
י-ה, מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קָרָאנוּ אֵלֶיךָ
טוֹב לְהוֹדוֹת עִם הַנִּצּוֹלִים וַעֲבוּר הַמַּצִּילִים
סוֹמֵךְ ה’ לְכׇל הַנֹּפְלִים וְזוֹקֵף לְכָל הַכְּפוּפִים
בְּיָגוֹן וּבִכְאֵב הִתְאַחַדְנוּ
וְשַׁבְנוּ עַדֶיךָ בֶּאֱמוּנָה מִתּוֹךְ אַהֲבָתֵנוּ אֶחָד לַשְּׁנִיָּה
רְפָאֵנּוּ וְנֵרָפֵא
.גְּמֹל עָלֵינוּ כָּל טוֹב סֶלָה

עֵץ חַיִּים
צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגוֹאֲלוֹ
חוּסָהּ נָא וְחָנֵּנוּ
יִשְׁכְּנוּ בְּתוֹכֵנוּ צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט
י-ה, שְׁמֹר צֵאתֵנוּ וּבוֹאֵנוּ בְּפִיטְסְבּוּרְג וּבְרַחֲבֵי תֵּבֵל
.מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם

© 2019 Alden Solovy, Rav Aytan Kaden and Elyssa Moss-Rabinowitz

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Postscript: Here’s a link to the English version of this prayer. See also: “Ma’oz Tzur for Pittsburgh,” “Taharot in Pittsburgh,” “After a Deadly Anti-Semitic Attack” and “Racist Violence against Houses of Worship.”

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.

Photo Source: Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation website

Tree of Life, Pittsburgh

Posted on: August 1st, 2019 by Alden No Comments

This acrostic spelling out “Tree of Life Pittsburgh Tree of Life” will be used on Yom Kippur in a new Martyrology created by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, the rabbi at Tree of Life – Or L’simcha Congregation. This prayer is a response to the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting there and first appeared in a CCAR rapid response resource kit. Here’s a link  an interpretive Hebrew version of that prayer. See also: “Ma’oz Tzur for Pittsburgh” and “Taharot in Pittsburgh.”

Tree of Life, Pittsburgh
Tree of Life,
Revive our souls,
Enrich our days,
Entreating Your blessings.
O, God of Peace,
Fill our hearts with comfort,
Letting Your Torah shine,
In the fullness of our love.
Faith in You, our God,
Eternal Source of blessings.

Praying for healing
In the depths of despair,
Thanking God for the survivors,
Thanking God for the first responders,
Sorrow crushing our hearts,
Bereaved beyond belief,
United in our love,
Returning to You in faith,
God of Israel,
Healer of generations.

Tree of Life,
Redeemer of Israel,
Enliven this moment with healing,
Enliven this moment with hope.
Oh, Rock of Israel,
Forget not the Jews of Pittsburgh.
Let Your love flow
In the days ahead
For justice and peace
Everlasting.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Postscript: See also: “Ma’oz Tzur for Pittsburgh,” “Taharot in Pittsburgh,” “After a Deadly Anti-Semitic Attack” and “Racist Violence against Houses of Worship.”

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.

Photo Source: Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation website

Ma’oz Tzur for Pittsburgh

Posted on: November 25th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

This prayer/poem rendition of Ma’oz Tzur anticipates the contrasting emotions of a joyous festival against the backdrop of the largest antisemitic attack in U.S. history. Ma’oz Tzur – literally “Fortress Rock” – is a Chanukah acrostic written in the 13th century. This song is traditionally sung after lighting Chanukah candles. To write this rendition, I studied five translations from siddurim, incorporating both intent and language from all five translations (see footnote).

מָעוֹז צוּר יְשׁוּעָתִי
Ma’oz Tzur Yeshu’ati
Rock of Ages,
Fortress of Redemption,
Rock of Salvation,
Refuge and Shelter,

לְךָ נָאֶה לְשַׁבֵּחַ
Lekha na’eh leshabe’ach
It is a delight,
Lovely and fine,
To sing Your praises.

תִּכּוֹן בֵּית תְּפִלָּתִי
Tikon beit tefilati
Restore my house of prayer,
This house that has seen violence and hate,
Bloodshed and death.
It is firm and established,
Now and forever.

וְשָׁם תּוֹדָה נְזַבֵּחַ
Vesham toda nezabe’ah
There we will offer thanksgiving,
In the name of our people,
An Or l’Simcha,
A light for joy,
An Eitz Chaim,
A tree of life,

לְעֵת תָּכִין מַטְבֵּחַ
Le’et takhin matbe’ach
When by Your will
All bloodshed ends,
The time when You eliminate
All slaughter.

מִצָּר הַמְנַבֵּחַ
Mi’tzor hamnabe’ach
The furious, they assail us,
Oppressors with hatred,
But Your arm avails us,

אָז אֶגְמוֹר בְּשִׁיר מִזְמוֹר
Az egmor beshir mizmor
So with joyous song,
Yet still in mourning,
With a heavy heart,
Yet singing in music,
In poetry and psalms,

חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ
Chanukat hamizbe’ach
For the dedication of Your house,
The rededication of Your sanctuary,
An altar of Your praises,
Where our strength will not fail us.

[Sing Ma’oz Tzur]

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: Ma’oz Tzur was written by an unknown poet whose name is spelled out as Mordechai by the first letters of the first five verses, while the first three letters of the sixth and final stanza spell out ‘chazak,’ or ‘strength’ (Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer, M. Nulman). The siddurim I consulted in writing this piece are: Mishkan T’fillah (U.S., Reform); Koren Aviv Siddur (Orthodox); Seder HaTeffilah (UK, Reform); Siddur Lev Chadash (UK, Liberal/Progressive); and Siddur Nehalel (Orthodox). Transliteration is modified from Wikipedia.

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.

Photo Source: Reddit

Taharot in Pittsburgh

Posted on: October 28th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

As the Jewish world mourns the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a group of private individuals are preparing themselves to perform taharot. Taharah (taharot, pl) is the ritual preparation of a body for burial. It’s a sacred task that takes a special individual. These will be particularly difficult taharot, given the brutality of the deaths. It’s my hope that in praying for those who are conducting this holy act, we find a bit of solace for ourselves.

Taharot in Pittsburgh
Rock of Comfort,
Redeemer of Israel,
Grant Your protection and care
To those who are preparing the dead for burial,
Gently washing wounded bodies
With love and water,
Praying for the souls of the innocent
To find peace on the journey
To heavenly spheres.

So much loss.
So much blood.
So many wounds.

These unnamed servants of our people
Come in quiet devotion,
With gentle prayers,
Serving the dead with the work of their hands,
So that the living can grieve
And that souls can find rest.
Grant them an extra share of steadfast strength
As they bless the lost with the gift given in reverence
For generations.

White is the clothing of the dead.
Sorrow is the clothing of the living.
Let the taharot in Pittsburgh become a beacon of love,
A radiance of healing,
And a source of comfort for all.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Postscript: See also “A Liturgy after Terror Attacks,” “After a Deadly Anti-Semitic Attack” and “Racist Violence against Houses of Worship.”

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.

Photo Source: Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation website

One is Everything

Posted on: December 21st, 2016 by Alden No Comments

We’re surrounded by violence. Orlando. Nice. Tel Aviv. Pittsburgh. Innocents dead at the hand of terror. In Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, France, an 84-year-old priest was murdered in his church, Fr. Jacques Hamel. It made instant world news and faded just as fast. There are so many other terror attacks. Larger attacks. More than one dead.

ADDENDUM, April 28, 2019: In memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, z”l, who was murdered at the Chabad center outside San Diego during services, I’ve added a new line: “A woman in prayer.” Also, in the opening stanza, I’ve added references to that attack and the Tree of Life massacre.

One is Everything: A Meditation on Numbers and Terror
Orlando, 16 June 2016, 49 souls
Kabul, 23 July 2016, 80 souls
Nice, 14 July 2016, 84 souls
Baghdad, 3 July 2016, 325+ souls
Pittsburgh, 27 October, 2018, 11 souls
Dallas, 7 July 2016, 5 souls
Tel Aviv, 3 July 2016, 4 souls
Rouen, 26 July 2016, 1 soul
Poway, 27 April 2019, 1 soul

One soul.
Just one soul and the world moves on.
We are shocked by the scale of terror.
The 49 and the 84 and the 325
With a plus sign next to it because, well,
It’s just tough to get an accurate count
In so much death.

One is everything.
Each one a human.
Each one a life.
One is enough to cry out to heaven.

When we count the scope of terror,
The range of death,
Remember, too,
The injured and the wounded,
The witness and the bystander,
The first responder and the families.

One is 100 witnesses.
One is 1,000 mourners.
One is 10,000 traumas.
One is a soul G-d sent to this earth.
One is everything.
A priest doing holy work.
A boy studying Torah.
A girl sleeping in her bed.
A woman in prayer.
One soul. One heartbeat.
One more, too soon.

G-d of Consolation,
Every soul is Yours,
A world, unique and holy.
Let Your peace reign quickly among us.
Let violence, hatred and terror vanish.
Let Your comfort descend from heaven,
And let the righteous rest in peace.

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

Postscript: The list of terror attacks maintained on Wikipedia is astounding. Hundreds dead each month all over the world. One and one and one. The Talmud says that saving a life is equal to saving the world; taking a life is the equivalent of destroying the world. One is everything.

This is a modified version of an essay that first appeared on RitualWell. See also a prayer “To the Terrorist,” which is part of my “Liturgy after Terror Attacks,” originally written for my “Liturgy for 9-11.”

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Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

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