Posts Tagged ‘prayer against hate’

 

Take Us to the Mountain

Posted on: September 4th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

This Rosh Hashanah prayer — written at the request of the Central Conference of American Rabbis — appeared in their High Holy Day Resources 2017. The request: create an apolitical High Holiday prayer responding to the rising tide of antisemitism. Given the challenge, I drafted principles to guide the writing; afterward, I annotated the prayer. Links to the guidelines and the annotated version are in the postscript. I’m honored to have been asked to produce new liturgy for the Movement.

Take Us to the Mountain
Lead us to the river,
To cast our sins upon the waters.
The world may go mad.
We must stay sane.

Take us to the mountain,
To cast our eyes toward the heavens,
The world may go mad.
We must have hope.

?יהוה, אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי, מִמִּי אִירָא
Adonai ori v’yishi, mimi ira?
God is my light and my refuge secure,
Whom shall I fear?

Hate has come calling,
To consume the heart of justice,
To consume the heart of mercy,
To challenge our lives and our ideals.

.יהוה מָעוֹז-חַיַּי, מִמִּי אֶפְחָד
Adonai maoz-chayai, mimi efchad?
God is the stronghold of my life,
Of whom shall I be afraid?

Love, too, has come calling,
To enliven the heart of righteousness,
To enliven the heart of rejoicing,
To fulfill our hopes and our dreams.

We need not be prophets of doom,
To see that anger stalks the night
And threatens our days.

Arise, awaken,
Let us be prophets of blessing,
Bringing kindness as our message,
And tikkun olam as the work of our hands.

Let us repent our own offenses.
Let us repair our own wrongs.
Let us be upright in thought and deed.

Fountain of Life,
Bring us to the river of Your blessings.
Lead us to the mountain of your salvation.
Bring Your light to the nations.
Bring Your healing to the world.

?אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי, אֶל-הֶהָרִים, מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי
.עֶזְרִי, מֵעִם יהוה, עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶ
Esa einai el-heharim, mei-ayin yavo ezri?
Ezri mei-im Adonai, oseih shamayim vaaretz.
I lift my eyes to the mountains,
For where will my help come?
My help comes from the Eternal,
Maker of heaven and earth.

God of All,
Let Your sukkat shalom,
Your shelter of peace,
Descend from the highest heavens
To bless us and all creation
On this New Year.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. Rights for use in prayer – including reprints – are granted to CCAR, CCAR members and URJ member synagogues. All other rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to the annotated version and a link to the liturgical guidelines used to craft this prayer. “We Will Not Yield” is a political approach to some of the same themes. This year, a prayer “For Houston” night also be appropriate. My other High Holiday prayers — many of which can be found in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day — can also be found by clicking here.

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: Israel Tours/Shmuel Browns

Domestic Insurrections

Posted on: August 16th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

In our Declaration of Independence, the Founders describe “the causes which impel them” to separate from the King of England as “a long train of abuses and usurpations.” One of those causes: “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.” This line from the Declaration is part of the refrain in this prayer/poem, a response to the stunning moral failure of this president. See also, “We Will Not Yield,” a prayer in response to the violence in Charlottesville.

Domestic Insurrections
There are villains. There are heroes.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are terrorists. There are defenders.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are rallies that oppress, and rallies that protect.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are willful offenders, and steadfast defenders.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are words that condone bigots, and words to condemn them.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are acts that encourage hate, and acts that discourage hate.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are moments that define a leader as immoral,
And moments that define a leader as just.
Our president doesn’t know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: See also, “We Will Not Yield,” a prayer in response to Charlottesville. Several more of those abuses listed in the Declaration of Independence are eerily-Trumpian. For example:
• He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws…
• He has obstructed the Administration of Justice…
• He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither…
• For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world…

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: Library of Congress

We Will Not Yield

Posted on: August 13th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

Counterprotesters from the Unitarian Universalists congregation link arms during the Unite the Right rally.

After violence from white supremacists left death and injury in Charlottesville, here’s a prayer and a call to action for all who love this nation.

We Will Not Yield
Today,
I am neither Democrat nor Republican,
Neither left nor right nor center.
I am an American,
Born to a legacy of truth and justice,
Born to a legacy of freedom and equality.

Today, I am a patriot
Who will not yield this nation to hate.
Not to neo-Nazis.
Not to thugs self-styled as militia.
Not to slogans or chants.
Not to gestures or flags.
Not to threats and not to violence.

Hate is hate,
Ugly and brutal,
And we will not yield.

Today,
I am Christian, Muslim and Jew,
Catholic, Buddist, Hindu and Sikh,
Atheist and agnostic.
I am Asian, Latino, Hispanic, African American,
White, Native American and multi-racial.
I am an immigrant, a child of the American Revolution,
A veteran and a soldier.
I work in the dark depth of the mines
And the high towers of Wall Street,
In the factories and the farms,
In our hospitals and strip malls.
I am gay, lesbian, straight, bi, trans,
Man, woman and gender-neutral.
I am young, old, blind and deaf,
Hearing and sighted,
Disabled,
Powerful and unafraid.

Truth is truth,
That all are created equal,
And we will not yield.

Today, I am an American,
A citizen of the United States,
A child of this great democracy,
A child of this wise republic,
Dedicated to liberty,
Dedicated to action.

We will not yield.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This prayer is adapted from “We Will Be Heard,” part of my “Liturgy for Inauguration Day 2017.”

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: Calla Kessler/The Washington Post

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