Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

 

A Jewish Cleric’s Meditation for Self-Care

Posted on: July 2nd, 2020 by Alden No Comments

In what now seems like a premonition, Fall 2019 edition of The Reform Jewish Quarterly was dedicated to spiritual and mental wellness, including self-care in times of trauma. The Central Conference of American Rabbis asked me to contribute to the edition. As Jewish clergy and educators begin new jobs and reaffirm their current positions, here’s a prayer reminder that we — your congregants, your flock, your choir, your friends — need you to take care of yourselves, especially in these difficult times. A link to download the prayer from the Journal the follows the text.

A Jewish Cleric’s Meditation for Self-Care
God of our mothers and fathers,
My life is dedicated to the Jewish people,
According to Your will,
To expand Torah and mitzvot in the world,
Keeping watch over this generation,
In service to Your Holy Name.

Source and Shelter,
Grant me the wisdom to care for myself
As I strive to do Your work,
Accounting for my own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs,
Day by day,
Which I can so easily neglect
In my zeal to fulfill this sacred calling.

Renewed, refreshed, and revitalized,
May I come back to this holy work
With a greater sense of wholeness
And a richer sense of peace,
Aware of the gifts You have bestowed upon me,
And the limitations of my strength and endurance.

Let my eyes sparkle with blessings.
Let my voice resound with truth.
Let my life reflect Your everlasting love.
Let me be a vital and worthy servant of Your Word.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: This prayer first appeared the Reform Jewish Quarterly, CCAR Journal Fall 2019.

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: Life Right Now

For Clergy

Posted on: September 24th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

This is a prayer for our clergy, first posted on ReformJudaism.org as “A Rosh Hashanah Prayer for Our Clergy.” It can be used by people of any faith in praise of our religious and spiritual leaders.

For Clergy
God of sacred callings,
Bless the work of our clergy,
Who carry us through our lives,
Our joys and our sorrows,
In holy service,
Carrying our broken hearts,
Our festive moments,
And our deepest yearnings.

May their dedication serve as shining lamp of love.
May the works of their hands bring merit in heaven.
Bless them with health and long life.
Guard them from taking our traumas into themselves.
Protect them from loneliness and isolation,
Shielding them from the spiritual and emotional pain
That can come with a life of service.
May they have find peace and comfort in their own moments of need.

Blessed are You,
God of All,
Who, with love, provides the world
Dedicated leaders of faith.

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

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: Catholic Online

Faith Reunion

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

This prayer is for use at Jewish/Muslim interfaith gatherings. I wrote it about an hour ago in response to a tweet from Rabbi Rachel Barenblat asking for a prayer for a Muslim/Jewish student interfaith gathering. She needed it right away. Rav Danya Ruttenberg tweeted to Rachel and added me: “Why wouldn’t you just write one? You’re so good at that.” After a few back and forth tweets, I began to write. 33 minutes later, I finished this. Rachel is sharing it with the student committee later today.

Faith Reunion
Children of Abraham,
Daughters and sons of Ishmael and Isaac,
We are family,
Cousins and kin,
Separated only by time and history.

Let this moment be a celebration.
Let this moment be a holy convocation.
Let this be a moment of blessed reunion.

Some of us proclaim: Allāhu akbar (الله أكبر).
Some of us proclaim: Adonai, Hu Ha’Elohim (יי הוא האלוהים).
All of us yearn for holiness and light.
Each of us prays for kindness and grace.
Together we will build a world of justice and peace.

One G-d,
Voice of Creation,
Whisper of Eternity,
Source and Shelter,
Let our voices resound in the heartbeat of our peoples.
Let our hopes resound in the pulse of our longings.
Bless those who are here.
Bless those who stayed away.
Bless the doubter and the cynic.
Bless the hopeful and the optimist,
That one day
All peoples embrace each other,
With Your love.

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

Postscript: This piece borrows a few lines from my prayer “For Peace in the Middle East.”

Please check out my Meet the Author video 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 Mastery Foundation

Cornerstone

Posted on: November 8th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

ein-afek-cornerstoneThis prayer honors the pioneers and advocates for women in Jewish religious life and communal leadership. The idea came to me one Rosh Chodesh morning at the Kotel while singing Hallel in support of women’s rights at the Kotel. As we sang these words from Psalm 118 – “The stone the builders rejected is become the chief corner-stone” – I thought: “Sisters, you are the stone that the builders rejected. And you’ve become the cornerstone of our future.” This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Cornerstone
Build a house of glory to G-d,
Build a house of praise to our Maker:
A house of prayer,
A house of song,
A house of Torah,
A house of truth.

Sisters of Israel,
How wondrous that your voices resound in our tents,
That your insights echo in our streets,
That your prayers have become our song.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
The heart the builders rejected has become the fountainhead.
The service the builders rejected has become the foundation.
The wisdom the builders rejected has become the teaching.

G-d of our ancestors,
Bless the women who lead our people,
Rabbis and cantors, educators and activists,
Philanthropists and organizers, scholars and researchers,
Expanding our understanding and love of Torah.
Bless the work of their hands and the work of their hearts.
Rejoice and be glad.
Let the struggle continue
Until no one questions your birthright,
Until no one denies your place,
When the Kotel is redeemed
And the agunah is freed,
For your light will free us all.

All Your works praise You,
Adonai our G-d,
And the righteous bless Your Name.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

Postscript: In Psalm 118, ‘the builders’ refer to two non-Jewish B.C.E. sources declaring that Israel has been destroyed. Here ‘the builders’ takes on a different meaning, referring to any Jewish authority or individual that oppresses women. Here’s a link to a related prayer called “Messengers among Us,” which asks if we’d recognize G-d’s messengers if they “…were women in talitot and t’fillin, winging freely, full voiced, Shema Yisroel…” See also “Jew against Jew,” a prayer to end sinat chinam written after experiencing hatred expressed toward women at the Kotel.

Tweetable! Click here to tweet this: “Sisters of Israel, how wondrous that your Torah resounds…” Prayer for women rabbis and leaders by @ToBendLight. http://bit.ly/1PvQqig

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: Gems in Israel

Prayer after Abuse by Clergy

Posted on: June 14th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Clergy Abuse Healing GardenADDENDUM: 18 Feb 2022 – First written in 2015 as a result of the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, with sadness I’ve slightly modified the prayer in the wake of the ethics report just released by the Union for Reform Judaism on sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct in URJ institutions, offered as a step toward tikkun, repair, and refuah, healing. May the work continue.

[Original Introduction] This is a difficult prayer addressing the abuse of power by clergy that — once hidden and disregarded — has become painfully obvious. Such revelations may offer a first needed step to healing. The prayer is written to be flexible, employing optional lines [in brackets] with which individuals may tailor the prayer.

Prayer after Abuse by Clergy
You had no right.
You had no right.
You abused your power.
You abused my trust
You abused our time together, [with manipulation] [and with force].
You abused G-d’s word.
You abused my hopes,
My heart,
My joy, my body, my self.
[I loved you. Damn, I loved you.]

[G-d of Old,
How could you let this happen?
How can this exist in Your world?
How can this happen in Your house?
How could this be perpetrated in Your name?
Damn, I loved You, too.]

In the shadow of this grief,
This yearning and despair,
I turn to You,
Ancient One,
To show me the path
To wholeness and consolation.
Teach me to trust,
To love [again] with fullness of heart.
Teach me willingness to surrender to awe and beauty.
Teach me to treat myself with patience and kindness.
Bless me that I may live fully, with zest and zeal.

G-d of compassion,
Heal all who have suffered abuse by clergy.
Bring us from darkness to light.
Bring justice to those who commit these crimes.
Heal the holy congregations who pray in Your name.
Make us all, now and forever, whole again.

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

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: The Inadvertent Gardener

From R’ Akiva’s Tomb

Posted on: June 21st, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

Israel Second Download 075Today I walked to the tombs of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (the Ramchal). It was a pleasant uphill walk of about 25 minutes, with a brief detour to the Chabad House of Tiberias to check directions. This is what came to me as I walked, with a remarkably different tone than my first prayer completed in Israel, “To Find Home.” It’s the second piece that I’ve finished on this trip.

 

Sages
Blessed are the sages who came before.
Blessed are the sages who’ll come later.
Blessed are the sages of our day.
Blessed is your heart.

For you
Dear sisters and brothers,
You too are sages.
The wisdom of the ages
Is in your eyes and on your lips,
In your flesh and in your bone,
In your laughter and in your tears,
Holy music that sings around you,
Radiance that dances before you,
Prayers that echo through you.

Blessed is the sage within you.
Blessed are your studies and your deeds.
Blessed is your heart.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are links to two other prayers about wisdom, “For the Gift of Torah Scholarship” and “For the Joy of Learning.” Here’s a link to first prayer I completed during my 2011 trip to Israel, “To Find Home.”

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

Photo Credit: Alden Solovy

On Spiritual Service

Posted on: November 14th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

Congratulations to Rabbi Andrea London on her installation as senior rabbi of Beth Emet: The Free Synagogue. Our worship was awesome, the study was lead by rabbi/scholars from around the world and the party was rockin’ with music from Shakshuka. It was an honor to be asked to write a prayer for this event. 

Please listen along as you read. (Click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.)

On Spiritual Service
A Prayer for Andrea London’s Installation as Senior Rabbi at Beth Emet

With profound gratitude
We give thanks for the men and women
Who dedicate themselves to spiritual service,
Offering their lives to a higher power,
A higher wisdom,
A higher calling.

In Your Divine wisdom,
Adonai our G-d,
You have blessed Beth Emet with a legacy of powerful leadership,
Boundless love and steadfast devotion from our rabbis.
Among these many gifts,
You have brought Andrea London
To lead and to serve our sacred community,
A woman of compassion, awareness and learning,
With the heart and soul of a witness on Sinai,
A teacher, a scholar and a friend.

G-d of our mothers and fathers,
You delivered Andrea, Danny, Yonah and Liora to our community
To show us lives of beauty and grace, compassion and joy.
Continue to bless Rabbi London
With insight and wit, energy and zeal, wisdom and humor,
So that her work summons holiness into our lives and the world.
Bless her home and her family with thanksgiving, gentleness and peace.
Bring her awe and wonder as she strives to enrich our lives,
And ease her burdens and sorrows in her moments of need.
Lend her Your boundless strength and Your abiding love.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d,
Who has provided wise, passionate leaders for this congregation.
Guide Rabbi London to build on this foundation in Your Holy Name,
With clarity, vision and purpose.
Let Torah shine its light upon her path.
Let justice and righteousness be her destination.

© 2010 Alden Solovy, Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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