Posts Tagged ‘Gaza’

 

Thirty Days

Posted on: November 6th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

This is a prayer / poem for the shloshim of the massacred on Oct. 7, the traditional marker of thirty days after the death of of a loved one. The poem makes the assertion that thirty days of mourning cannot be enough for 1,400 murdered, and that thirty days of prayer is not enough for 240 captives. Use this along with the song “Nothing Left but Tears.”

Thirty Days
Thirty days of hell.
Thirty days without you.
Murdered. Kidnapped.
Assaulted. Decapitated.
Violated. Violated again.

Thirty days of tears
Cannot bring back
The souls of the massacred.
Thirty days of tears
Cannot restore the captives
To their families.

Woe unto the land
That has soaked up
So much blood.
Woe unto the land
That yearns for her children
To return home.

Thirty days. And thirty days.
And thirty days. And thirty days…

Thirty days
One thousand
Four hundred times.
Thirty days
Of tears
For each of the lost.

Thirty days. And thirty days.
And thirty days. And thirty days…

Thirty days
Two hundred
Forty times.
Thirty days
Of repentance
For each of the captives.

Thirty days of grief.
Thirty days of mourning.
Thirty days of anguish.
Again and again and again.

So we become
Thirty thousand days of resolve.
Again and again and again.
For never again.
Forever, to eternity.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, 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. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

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The Court of the Captives

Posted on: October 30th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

This is a prayer poem for all of the hostages in Gaza. We at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies have a special link to hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, the son of our own Rachel Goldberg. He is wounded and needs urgent medical care. Hear Rachel speak to the UN. This FaceBook post will help US citizens write letters to your congresspersons urging their support for a speedy release of the hostages. #bring_hersh_home #BringThemHomeNow

The Court of the Captives
One day,
The court of the captives
Will convene
Before the halls of power.
They will bring
Their torment and suffering
As evidence against us,
As evidence of our failure
To protect them,
As evidence of our failure
To redeem them
With speed and urgency.

On that day,
The court of the innocent
At the gates of heaven
Will join the chorus –
The newly murdered,
Babies and dreamers,
Parents and children –
Bringing their blood
As evidence against us,
As evidence of our failure
To protect them,
As evidence of our failure
To secure our land and our people.

On that day,
The court of the captives,
And the court of the innocent,
Will minister to each other
At the gates of righteousness,
Both in heaven
And on earth,
Offering torn cloth
Soaked in tears
To bind their wounds,
To bless the living,
And to console the lost.

Today,
Yes, today,
The court of the captives
And the court of the innocent in heaven
Convene,
Arraying the charges
Before us,
And wait,
Still wait,
For us to answer.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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Postscript: This prayer / poem was influenced by my previous piece: “After Uvalde: The Court of the Innocent.”

Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, 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. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

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War on Simchat Torah

Posted on: October 7th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

Shabbat Simchat Torah 5784 / 2023. I’ve been inside a bomb shelter more today than in the entire 11.5 years I’ve been in Israel combined. ‘This is not a situation, or a round of fighting,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. ‘ We are at war.’ This is a multi-prayer liturgy on this difficult day, and for the days ahead. It begins with a new prayer, ‘War on Simchat Torah,’ then moves to ‘For the Soldiers of the IDF’ and concludes with ‘Israel: A Meditation.’

War on Simchat Torah
On the ground,
We rejoice with the Torah.
In the air,
The missiles fly.
On the ground
The attack has come, as well.
Some still dance
With the Torah,
While others shelter in place.

We are at war,
Even as we remember
The blessings of G-d’s word,
Even as we pledge
To be true to our faith
And to live according
To G-d’s instructions.

כי נר מצוות ותורה אור ודרך חיים
For mitzvot are a lamp
And Torah is light
And the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)

G-d of Israel,
Bless this nation
And protect us
Even as the sirens blare
And combat has come
To our streets.

Let peace be close at hand,
So that we dance
In the gardens and the groves,
In the heights and in the deserts
Once more
In joyous celebration
Of Torah and life.

For the Soldiers of the IDF
Rock of Israel,
Our sons and daughters,
Our brothers and sisters,
Our family and friends,
Have been called to serve,
In the name of peace and justice,
In the name of sovereignty and survival,
To defend and to protect our land
From violence and assault,
From kidnappers and terrorists,
From missile and mortar,
From those who would destroy our nation and our people.

We stand with the defenders of Israel.
We honor the guardians of Zion.
We hold dear the sentries of Am Kadosh.

G-d of Old,
We know the price of safety,
We know the cost of security.
Bless the injured and wounded
In every generation
With Your healing hand.
Bless the dead and the bereaved
With Your love and consolation.
Bless the heroes of our past
And the heroes of the future
With a share in the world to come.

Source of Peace,
Keep our soldiers safe,
And let our soldiers keep us safe,
So that they return in life and in health
To the loving arms of our people.

Israel: A Meditation
Israel,
You are my people.
You are my heart and you are my hope.
We waited together at the mountain
When G-d revealed the Holy Word.
We wandered together through the desert
On the path to sacred soil.
We watched the sea part.
We heard the heavens roar.
We stood at the doorway to freedom,
At the border of a Promised Land.

Israel,
You are my destiny.
You are my joy and you are my truth.
We were victorious at Jericho,
Unyielding at Masada.
We defied empires
For Torah.
We defied kings
For justice and freedom.
We’ve traveled the earth,
Wandered the millennia,
Refugees of the ages,
Homeless and hopeful,
Waiting to return
To native ground.

Israel,
You are my brother in history,
My sister in fortune,
The mother of my courage,
The father of my heart,
The child of my longing,
And the light of generations.
To you I pledge my right arm
And my voice in song.
To you I pledge my soul.
To you I pledge my spirit.

Israel,
You are my nation.
You are my inheritance.
You are my home.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, 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. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Photo Source: Times of Israel / AP

For the Return of Peace

Posted on: May 12th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

As an Israeli-American, I hold sorrow and fear for both my nations, and all the earth. This is a prayer for G-d to restore peace and justice to our world. The photo, which I took from Israel last fall, is a peaceful sunset over Gaza.

For the Return of Peace
O Peace, you fleeting dream,
O Justice, you fickle hope,
Today we do not pray in your name.
Today we pray in the name of the children
Who have never met you,
Who have not been blessed
With your love or your truth.
Surely, their cries must someday
Drive you out of hiding,
Summoning you to cast your healing
Upon all the earth.

One G-d,
Ancient and merciful,
Justice and Peace are Yours.
Halt their retreat from the world
And send them to us for good.
Do it for the sake of Your name,
Do it for the sake of Your right hand,
Do it for the sake of holiness,
Do it for the sake of Your children,
So that all may live in the fullness of Your gifts,
As one family on earth,
Under Your canopy of love.

© 2021 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: Those familiar with Jewish liturgy will recognize the lines “Do it for the sake of Your name / Do it for the sake of Your right hand / Do it for the sake of holiness” from Elohai Netzor. To create a more universal prayer, I removed the line “Do it for the sake of Your Torah” and replaced it with “Do it for the sake of Your children.” 

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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: Alden Solovy

Rockets from Gaza

Posted on: November 13th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

This is a prayer for safety and peace in Israel. More than 1,300 rockets have been launched at Israel from Gaza from May 10-13, 2021, with no end in sight. This prayer was written in November of 2018 when hundreds of rockets were fired at Israeli cities and towns in the South along the Gaza border. Here is a listing, by date, of the rocket attacks by Gaza terror groups. See also “For the Soldiers of the IDF,” “Children of Gaza, Children of Israel” and “For Peace in the Middle East.”

Rockets from Gaza
Rock of Jacob,
Protector and Redeemer,
Watch over the people of Israel
As rockets rain down from Gaza.
Grant safety to the citizens and residents,
Soldiers and civilians,
Visitors and guests,
During these days of violence and fear.
Guard them,
And guard the entire nation.
Protect this land from violence and assault,
From kidnappers and terrorists,
From missile and mortar,
From those who would destroy this country and our people.

Source of blessings,
Grant safety and security to all nations
So that harmony and blessings resound
From the four corners of the earth.
Let quiet descend upon the land,
And let lasting peace come quickly, in our day.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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: Times of Israel/AP

Lamentation from Both Sides of the Fence

Posted on: May 17th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

On a bus-stop bench in my Jerusalem neighborhood this morning, a couple in Muslim garb spoke softly to each other. On the same bench, an ultra-Orthodox man sat studying Talmud. Signs of hope for peace, for coexistence, are abundant in this city. They’ve been overwhelmed by images and emotions from actions at the Gaza border fence. What do we say to G-d in these moments of anguish? We cry in pain, we beseech heaven with our lamentations, and we beseech each other with our wailing. We ask, isn’t there a better way?

Crafted to avoid politics or accusation, this lament is for everyone who has hardened their positions, be they politically right or left, Israeli or Palestinian. It’s for everyone on both sides of the fence and around the world who claim to know the truth, the undeniable validity of their views and exactly who to blame. It asks simply this: that we weep together. The first stanza alludes to Isaiah 2:4: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” The final stanza quotes Lamentations 1:16: “For these things do I weep, my eyes are flowing with tears.”

Let this wailing crack open our hearts to each other: Jew to Jew, Jew to Muslim, Muslim to Jew, Muslim to Muslim, Israeli to Palestinian, Palestinian to Israeli. And after we wail, let us pray for peace, let us pray that we sit together on the same benches, in friendship, creating a new legacy, together.

Lamentation from Both Sides of the Fence
Oh, my people,
Look at what we’ve done,
And look at what we’ve become,
Hardening our hearts,
Shutting our eyes,
Closing our minds,
Banishing justice and love from our midst,
Turning fears into swords,
And hopes into spears,
Defending, always defending,
Our divine rights
To sovereign land.

Woe to the land that has soaked up so much blood.
Woe to the sky that has witnessed so much death.
Woe to the sea that cannot calm our grieving souls.

You who cast peace and prosperity to the winds,
Chasing hope to the clouds,
Banishing sanity to the netherworlds,
We have lost too many sons,
We have grieved too many daughters,
We rend our clothes and sit in sackcloth too often,
And we are crying, always crying,
Deep in our veins.

Alas!
Darkness marches and madness sings,
‘Keep on, keep on, for this is the only path,’
While death dances with glee shouting,
‘Keep on, keep on, there is no other way.’

Oh, my people,
Look at what we’ve done,
And look at what we’ve become.
For these things do I weep,
My eyes are flowing with tears:
For the dead,
For the children,
For our aching hearts,
For this yearning for peace.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Postscript: See also “For Peace in the Middle East” and “When Peace Comes: A Meditation.”

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: PranaShanti

When Peace Comes: A Meditation

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Alden No Comments

peace_in_the_middle_east_logo_2[1]Here’s another new prayer for peace in our land. I wrote this and another prayer for peace on behalf of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and it first appeared on RavBlog. Both prayers were inspired by the yearnings  and insights of the rabbis who participated in the CCAR Israel Solidarity Mission. Given the end of the cease fire, I’m posting it here for the first time. Please pray for peace.

When Peace Comes: A Meditation
When peace comes,
When the tunnels are gone and the walls come down,
When we sing together as brothers and sisters,
We will remember these days of sorrow and grief,
Of rockets and terror,
Of longing and despair,
As a memorial to those who were lost,
As a remembrance of our mourning,
As a monument to our yearning,
On the road to wholeness,
On the road to wisdom,
On the road to our days of rejoicing.

Oh you children of Abraham,
You sons and daughters of Sarah and Hagar,
What will you become?
How long before shalom and salaam
Echo in these hills,
In these valleys and on these shores,
As shouts of awe and amazement?
How long before we remember
To hold each other dear?

One G-d,
Maker of All,
Banish war from our midst.
Speedily bring forth justice, understanding and love.
Bind these wounds and heal our hearts.
On that day the children of Ishmael
And the children of Isaac
Will dance as one.
Joy will rise to heaven
And gladness will fill the earth.

© 2014 CCAR, Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript:Here are links to other prayers I’ve written during this difficult time: “To Win the Peace,” “Children of Gaza, Children of Israel,” “Yizkor for a Lone Soldier,” “The Soldiers on This Mountain,” “For the IDF, Operation Protective Edge,” “They Were Boys: A Yizkor Prayer,” written in memory of Gil-ad Shaer, Iyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, z”l, and “Another Boy Lost: A Jewish Yizkor for an Arab Son” written in memory of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. Thank you Rabbis Hara Person and Donald Goor for your faith and confidence in my work.

My prayer “For Peace in the Middle East” appears in a new compilation “The Hope: American Voices in Support of Israel.” Proceeds of the sale of that book go to the Lone Soldier Center.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. Please take a moment to explore my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

To Win the Peace

Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

SONY DSCWith a ceasefire that appears to be holding, it’s time to pray an audacious prayer: a prayer to win the peace. It’s a prayer for security, an end to terror, the road to reconciliation, the path to hope, abundance and prosperity. The big fantastic audacious prayer: that we will be bold enough to try something different, living together, not dying together.

To Win the Peace
The missiles are silent, for now.
And sirens still echo in our hearts.
The tunnels are shut, for now.
And foreboding still vibrates from below.
Funerals on both sides of the front.
Fallen soldiers, buried.
And reunions. Grateful reunions.
Trauma and rubble.
Families grieve. So many lost.
We remember them all.
Three Israeli boys, one Arab son,
Dead at the hand of hate.

To win the war,
Let us win the peace.

G-d of All,
Bless the leaders of Israel
With a vision of safety and renewal for all in our land
And for all of our neighbors.
Grant our leaders insight and understanding.
Direct them on the road to security and reconciliation.
Make them a shining light of valor and hope.

Grant the leaders of Hamas the courage
To end their campaign of terror,
And grant the leaders of the PA the wisdom
To boldly travel on a journey
Toward an abundant and prosperous future.
Direct them on the road to compromise.
Make them a shining light of peace.

Grant physical and emotional safety to
Citizens, residents and all who dwell in these lands.
Through our hard work, let this time of struggle and challenge
Become a blessing to the world.

To win the war,
Let us win the peace.

Blessed are You, G-d of All,
Forging nations and peoples
In the crucible of change
Throughout history.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Thank you to my friend Rabbi Bob Carroll for his review and comment on an earlier draft. Here are links to other prayers I’ve written during this difficult time: “Children of Gaza, Children of Israel,” “Yizkor for a Lone Soldier,” “The Soldiers on This Mountain,” “For the IDF, Operation Protective Edge,” “They Were Boys: A Yizkor Prayer,” written in memory of Gil-ad Shaer, Iyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, z”l, and “Another Boy Lost: A Jewish Yizkor for an Arab Son” written in memory of Muhammad Abu Khdeir.  I also wrote two prayers inspired by the thoughts and hopes of 14 visiting rabbis from the CCAR Solidarity Mission to Israel. I had the honor of leading this amazing group in a prayer writing workshop.

My prayer “For Peace in the Middle East” appears in a new compilation “The Hope: American Voices in Support of Israel.” Proceeds of the sale of that book go to the Lone Soldier Center.

Please take a moment to explore my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Alden Solovy

Children of Gaza, Children of Israel

Posted on: August 2nd, 2014 by Alden No Comments

arab_jewish_boys.jpg.w560h384This is a new prayer for peace, a prayer about love, a prayer that sees the beauty in all children. For more than two weeks, people have been asking for a prayer focused on the children here in Israel caught in this war. It took longer to conceive than I expected. I hope you find meaning in it. It has a similar intention as my prayer “For Peace in the Middle East.” It also fits nicely with two prayers I wrote on behalf of the CCAR Solidarity Mission to Israel.

Children of Gaza, Children of Israel
Dear Children,
What can we say to you in times of war?
What can we say when you run for shelter, not for joy,
When you hide, not to seek, but huddle in fear?
No, it is not a game when you
Cry tears of dread in the night.

O grief,
O war and terror,
You have stolen our children.
You have stolen our rest.
And now you wish to steal our hope
In tomorrow.

Children of Gaza and Israel,
We pray for you to find each other,
In laughter and friendship,
Before someone teaches you
Anger and hatred,
While you are still pure with
Curiosity and wonder.

Children of Israel and Gaza,
We pray for you to find comfort
In the cradle of your mothers’ arms,
In the bosom of quiet and peace,
Without rocket or mortar to break
The gentle stillness of the air,
The lovely silence of the night.

One G-d,
Maker of All,
Is this too much to ask?
Is this too much to dream?
That one day all children of the world
Will run with glee toward one another,
Will hold hands together in delight,
To skip and twirl and dance
To the rhythms of peace?

© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This prayer is very much “in the moment,” being focused on Gaza and Israel. I also plan to write and post a more general prayer for all children of war. My prayer “For Peace in the Middle East” appears in a new compilation “The Hope: American Voices in Support of Israel.” Proceeds of the sale of that book go to the Lone Soldier Center. Thanks to my friend Michele Chabin for her comments on an earlier draft of this prayer. Here are two more prayers about our children: “They Were Boys: A Yizkor Prayer,” written in memory of Gil-ad Shaer, Iyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, z”l, and “Another Boy Lost: A Jewish Yizkor for an Arab Son” written in memory of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. For more prayers about Israel, please click here.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Debbi Cooper Photography

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