Posts Tagged ‘president’

 

A Liturgy for the U.S. Presidential Inauguration, 2021

Posted on: January 20th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

A three-prayer liturgy for the U.S. Presidential Inauguration. It includes a new prayer for Vice President Kamala Harris conceived with Cantor Evan Kent. Brief descriptions of each prayer follow in the postscript.

For the U.S. President
God of history,
Bless the U.S. President with skill,
To act with inspiration and insight,
Becoming a visionary for the world,
Building our nation and communities
In Your image,
A steward dedicated to justice,
So that our cities and towns
Resonate with compassion and health,
Justice and mercy,
Kindness and peace.

Bless our President
With dedication and foresight,
Fortitude and imagination
To solve the complex issues that threaten our future.
Let the weight of the office
Change him for the good.
Let the institutions of our government
Serve as checks and balances to his power.
May he lead us to a time when neighbors embrace
And communities thrive,
A time when liberty and equality
Reign supreme.

Source and Shelter,
Grant safety and security
To all nations and communities,
So that truth and harmony will resound
From the four corners of the earth.
Let the light of wisdom
Shine brightly in the halls of power,
A beacon of hope
For every land and every people.

A Prayer Celebrating Kamala Harris’ Inauguration
Our God and God of our mothers and fathers,
On this historic inauguration
We celebrate a woman becoming Vice President of the United States,
A 100 year-climb from women’s suffrage to the Oval Office.

We honor and remember all the women in our lives who sought freedom,
And all who came before in this struggle,
The women who paved the way for equality,
Who marched in the streets,
Who supported their families,
Who battled sexism and racism in the face of hostility.
Who were paid less,
Passed over for jobs,
And battled for promotions,
Who had to prove themselves more capable than male colleagues.

Vice President Kamala Harris has broken through
One of the most formidable glass ceilings of leadership
And into the innermost sanctum of power
In the world’s most successful democracy
At a time of crisis.
Black. Asian-American. Woman.
Powerful. Focused. Unyielding.
Articulate. Educated. Brilliant.
Successful, she is everything
The old guard
And the good ol’ boys fear.

The glass ceiling of government –
The White House and the Office of the Vice President –
Has been broken.
There is only one more glass ceiling left.
But the barriers that still
Keep minorities and women from rising
To the upper rungs of success,
Regardless of their qualifications or achievements,
Have not been broken for all.
As we celebrate this victory,
We pledge ourselves to continue the struggle,
Knowing the depth of the work of justice and healing required.

For Government
יקום פרקן מן שמיא
Yikum purkan min shemaiya
Let deliverance arise from heaven
Bringing justice and enlightenment
To the nations of the earth
And to the leaders of the United States,

חנא וחסדא ורחמי
Chi’neh v’chesteh v’ra’chamai
Bringing grace, love and compassion
To the halls of power,
The seats of government,
The capitals of our world.

יהי רצון מלפניך
Y’hi ratzon milfanecha
May it be Your will
To grant the heads of State
A new vision
For safety and prosperity,
Friendship and cooperation,
So that all may know
The fullness of Your blessings,
In a world of generosity and kindness,
Tranquility and peace.

הנותן תשועה וממשלה לנסיאים
Ha’notein t’shu’ah u’memshalah l’nosi’im
May You who gives redemption and governance to presidents,
Reward us with political leaders
With true vision and deep understanding
Of Your instructions to rebuild
And renew the earth,
So that economic, legal,
Social and environmental justice
May bear fruit
For generations to come.

“For the U.S. President” is © 2021 Alden Solovy. “A Prayer Celebrating Kamala Harris’ Inauguration” is © 2021 Alden Solovy and Evan Kent. “For Government” by Alden Solovy is © 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

Postscript: With only minor modifications, the opening prayer “For the U.S. President” is the same as my inauguration liturgy from 2017. “For Government” borrows Hebrew from several prayers from the traditional siddur that are said after the Shabbat Torah reading: yikum purkan, y’hi ratzon and hanotein t’shu’ah. It’s from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

The prayer of celebration for Kamala Harris’ Vice Presidential inauguration is a third major revision. It was originally written in collaboration with Cantor Evan Kent in 2016 as ritual for breaking a glass anticipating a presidential win by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, representing the broken glass ceiling. We first rewrote it as a ritual for breaking glass for Kamala Harris, but the treachery in Washington seemed to call for a more sober response, which is the version published here. The prayer is inspired by a ritual from Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield which she also created in 2016.

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, see “Share the Prayer!

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

For Government

Posted on: January 22nd, 2017 by Alden No Comments

This prayer borrows Hebrew from several prayers from the traditional siddur that are said after the Shabbat Torah reading: yikum purkan, y’hi ratzon and hanotein t’shu’ah. It’s a prayer for the leadership of United States, as well as all nations, with the hope that governments work for a world of justice and peace. This prayer is from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

For Government
יקום פרקן מן שמיא
Yikum purkan min shemaiya
Let deliverance arise from heaven
Bringing justice and enlightenment
To the nations of the earth
And to the leaders of the United States,

חנא וחסדא ורחמי
Chi’neh v’chesteh v’ra’chamai
Bringing grace, love and compassion
To the halls of power,
The seats of government,
The capitals of our world.

יהי רצון מלפניך
Y’hi ratzon milfanecha
May it be Your will
To grant the heads of State
A new vision
For safety and prosperity,
Friendship and cooperation,
So that all may know
The fullness of Your blessings,
In a world of generosity and kindness,
Tranquility and peace.

הנותן תשועה וממשלה לנסיאים
Ha’notein t’shu’ah u’memshalah l’nosi’im
May You who gives redemption and governance to presidents,
Reward us with political leaders
With true vision and deep understanding
Of Your instructions to rebuild
And renew the earth,
So that economic, legal,
Social and environmental justice
May bear fruit
For generations to come.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. 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.”

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

Liturgy for Inauguration Day 2017

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

In “On Politics and Prayer,” I wrote that the Torah teaches us that even when we oppose a specific politician, we must pray for the wisdom of our leaders and the quality of government. Still, I’ve struggled “In Search of a Prayer for the New President.” This is a three-prayer liturgy. It reflects my view that extraordinary times require extraordinary prayers. “For the U.S. President” is written in classic Siddur style. “We Will Be Heard” is a prayer of outrage and conscience. “May G-d Bless and Keep the President” is a prayer of deep concern, with an edge of humor. Further comments on the evolution of these prayers follow in the postscript.

For the U.S. President
G-d of history,
Bless the U.S. President with skill,
To act with inspiration and insight,
Becoming a visionary,
Building our nation and communities
In Your image,
A steward dedicated to justice,
So that our cities and towns
Resonate with compassion and health,
Justice and mercy,
Kindness and peace.

Bless our President
With dedication and foresight,
Fortitude and imagination
To solve the complex issues that threaten our future.
Let the weight of the office
Change him for the good.
Let the institutions of our government
Keep his worst instincts in check.
May he lead us to a time when neighbors embrace
And communities thrive,
A time when liberty and equality
Reign supreme.

Source and Shelter,
Grant safety and security
To all nations and communities,
So that truth and harmony will resound
From the four corners of the earth.
Let the light of wisdom
Shine brightly in the halls of power,
A beacon of hope
For every land and every people.

We Will Be Heard
Today
I am an immigrant,
A drag queen,
A rape survivor.
An African Methodist Church set on fire,
A mosque pelted with rocks,
A synagogue painted with hate.
I am disabled.
A woman paid half of a salary.
A Black man encircled by police.
I am Asian, Latino, Hispanic,
Native American and Multi-Racial.

Yes,
We pray for wisdom and grace
To land like a miracle
On the President,
Transforming his rhetoric of hostility and violence
Into deeds of compassion and love.
And still we stand in shock and fear
That our rights will be trampled in public
And repealed in law.

Don’t say suck it up.
Don’t say get over it.
We haven’t forgotten the lynching,
The darkness of the closet,
The death by back-alley abortion.

Today
I am Roe v. Wade,
Obergefell v. Hodges,
Brown v. Board of Education,
The child of slaves,
The child of illegals,
The child of gay parents,
The child of a vision for freedom
And the yearning for inclusion
Rejected by those coming into power.

Today I am an American,
A citizen of the United States,
A child of democracy,
A patriot,
Dedicated to justice,
Dedicated to liberty,
Dedicated to action,
Demanding to be heard.

May G-d Bless and Keep the President
May G-d bless and keep the President from …
… turning his back on refugees.
… abandoning minorities, the poor and the disabled.
… alienating our allies and empowering despots.
… destroying LGBTQ rights.
… telling women how to control their lives and their bodies.
… destroying our country.
… irreparably damaging the Supreme Court.
… abandoning the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
… forgetting the truths that are self-evident.
… speaking then denying then speaking then denying.
… establishing a national religion, abandoning the separation of church and state.
… inciting even more racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny.
… mocking the disabled, attacking Gold Star families and denigrating women.
… disemboweling the Fourth Estate.
… unleashing sinat chinam.
… undoing this grand experiment in recognizing inalienable rights.
… being re-elected.

May G-d bless and keep the President …
… occupied with trivial matters to limit his impact.
… aware of all the communities he was elected to serve.

May G-d bless and keep the President away from…
… Obamacare.
… Twitter.
… the nuclear launch codes.
… Medicare and Social Security.
… the White House.
… acting on his misogynistic impulses.

May G-d bless and teach the President…
… humility, justice and kindness.
… to keep his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
… to build bridges of kindness and trust between all the peoples of the United States.
… to build bridges of kindness and trust between all the peoples of the world.
… the true meaning of compassion and human dignity.
… to see his inadequacies and his inappropriateness for the job.
… the difference between leading the nation and humiliating dissenters.

May G-d bless and save the President from himself,
And save us from him.

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

Postscript: Here are additional prayers that might be included in an Inauguration Day Service: “The Preacher Said,” “Let Truth,” “Against Tyranny” and “To the Streets.” “For the U.S. President” is based on my prayer for Parashat Korach 5775 called “For Political Leadership.” It’s written with a timeless and non-partisan intent, with the notion that it can be used for future presidents. “We Will Be Heard” was originally written as a post-election, pre-inauguration response to this election. It first appeared on RitualWell.org and Facebook. I’ve modified it slightly for Inauguration Day and beyond. “May G-d Bless and Keep the President” is based on a Facebook thread about praying for the new President, a process described in my RitualWell.org essay, “In Search of a Prayer for the New President.”

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: WikiMedia Commons

Sleeping Prophets

Posted on: October 18th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Isaiah ProphetOnce, the prophets of Israel admonished kings – the civil leadership – against their failures and transgressions. Where are those prophets now, as the leadership of the modern State of Israel flounder and fail to make a real and lasting peace? Where are the calls for bravery and justice, the calls for honesty and righteous treatment of all? We must become the new prophets of Israel. It appears that no one else is coming to save us from our modern kings.

Sleeping Prophets
Wake,
You sleeping prophets.
Awaken your voices and your legs.
Come out among us.
Admonish callous hearts.
Admonish violence, hatred and sin.
Where is your passion?
Where is your thunder?
Where are your grievances?
Cry out against wickedness and deceit.
Cry out for wisdom and truth.
Why do you hide among the arrogant?
Why do you hide among and stiff-necked?
Why do you rest as bloodshed and slaughter
Threaten to consume us?

Wake you sleeping prophets, wake.
Unleash your vision and your voice.
Summon us to righteousness.
Summon us to heal ourselves and the world.
Once, brave men and women
Rose up to challenge the errors of our ways
And the foolishness of our kings.

Rise up, rise up.
You are the prophets of peace.
Demand strength and compassion.
Compel our leaders to a new path
And a new light,
In G-d’s Holy Name.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This is a link to my prayer “For Political Leadership” and another to more prayers for Israel and peace.

Tweetable! Click here to tweet this: “Wake you sleeping prophets…” A call for peace and justice by @ToBendLight. https://tobendlight.com/?p=13695

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.

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Korach: For Political Leadership

Posted on: June 17th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

politics-word-cloudIn this week’s Torah portion Moses and Aaron face a rebellion. It fails and the perpetrators are punished. This is a prayer for wise and dedicated political leaders, asking that they have the imagination and strength to address the problems of our time. The prayer includes an option in [brackets] to identify particular issues and problems of interest to the person reciting the prayer.

ADDENDUM, June 11, 2018: This prayer seems more relevant to world leadership now than it did when I wrote it three years ago.

For Political Leadership
G-d of history,
We yearn for [new] leadership,
For men and women of inspiration and insight,
Visionaries to build nations and communities
In Your image,
Stewards dedicated to justice,
Unafraid to face the challenges of our day,
[In particular, the challenge(s) of
_________________________,]
So that our cities and countries resonate with
Compassion and health,
Justice and mercy,
Kindness and peace.

Bless our leaders
With dedication and foresight,
Fortitude and imagination
To solve the complex issues that threaten our future.
May they lead us to a time when neighbors embrace
And the communities thrive,
A time when liberty and equality
Reign supreme.

Source and Shelter,
Grant safety and security to all nations and communities,
So that truth and harmony will resound
From the four corners of the earth.
Let the light of wisdom
Shine brightly in the halls of power,
A beacon of hope
For every land and every people.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: In writing this piece, I avoided the use of the word statesmen,which brought a wave of criticism when I used it in the prayer For Wisdom During Democratic Elections.

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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