Posts Tagged ‘Shoah Memorial Prayer’

 

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

O Auschwitz, O Birkenau

Posted on: February 8th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

Five days in Poland. My first trip. I began writing this meditation on the bus after a day at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but couldn’t complete it. We’d already seen so much. Treblinka. Majdanek. Lupachowa Forest. Zbilitowska Gora. Shuls, yeshivas, graveyards, shtetls. This Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies trip, led by Dean David Bernstein, covered the long history of Polish Jewry, from the heyday of Jewish religious and secular life to today’s Polish Jewry. And, of course, the inter-war period and the Holocaust. Here in Israel, after several weeks home, I found the end of this meditation.

O Auschwitz, O Birkenau
Treblinka, you will not see my tears.
Majdanek, you will not hear my sobs.
You will not wound me again.
You have done your evil.
You have taken your pounds of flesh.

Yes, I will shed tears for the lost,
The brutalized, the lynched,
The murdered and the slain.
Not here.
Not inside your grounds.
Not inside your gates.
I’d rather choke on my sorrow
Then give it to you.

But Auschwitz, Birkenau,
You test my resolve.
You challenge my heart
Steeled against your evil,
Steeled against the echoes of mourning
That rise from your sullen earth.

When I leave the killing fields
I will shout to the heavens.
I will lament with my people.
Our voices resounding with grief and power,
Unmistakable strength declaring,
‘Come, you tyrants.
Come, you villains and antisemites,
You murderers and despots.
You have made us fearless, invincible.
We will survive you, too.’

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: Here are two prayers that I read at different memorial services that we held in Poland: “Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass” and a new version of “Remember My Heart” adapted for reading at Zbilitowska Gora.

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: Alden Solovy

Yom HaShoah Prayers and Poems

Posted on: April 6th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

YomHaShoahCandleThis is a set of six prayers for Yom HaShoah. They can be used as private meditations or in a communal commemoration. Together they serve as a Yom HaShoah liturgy, listed below in suggested order. There are two memorial prayers: a general prayer evoking the unity of Israel, followed by a Shoah memorial prayer. The liturgy ends with our eternal bond to the land of Israel and an affirmation in our faith in the G-d of Israel. Each of the links below includes a brief description followed by a quote from the prayer. To read the full prayer, click on the title.

  • Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass” – Using the metaphor of Kristallnacht, this poem reminds us that G-d cries together with us over the suffering of the Jewish people. “My tears are crystal and broken glass. They sparkle, they cut. They heal, they wound. They are daybreak and midnight, hymn and dirge…”
  • For the Bereaved” – A general prayer of mourning that evokes the unity of Israel. “We the mourners of Zion and Israel comfort each other. We console the lonely and embrace the lost…”
  • Shoah Memorial Prayer” – A Yom HaShoah memorial prayer that echoes the traditional Yizkor prayer. “Creator of all, Source and shelter, grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace to those who perished in the Holocaust…”
  • After the Horror” – A meditation about reclaiming life in the shadow of unthinkable atrocity. “Hold fast to the breath of life. Hold fast to the song of life. Hold fast to the soul of life. This is my sacred duty…”
  • Israel: A Meditation” – On the love for the people and the State of Israel. “Israel, you are my brother in history, my sister in fortune, the mother of my spirit, the father of my heart, the child of my longing and the light of generations. To you…”
  • Affirmation of Faith” – An affirmation of faith built around the sine qua non of Jewish affirmations: the Shema. “Hear O Israel, the covenant we made together on Sinai ts a pledge for all time, a vow for the ages…”

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: See also “At the Hand of Anti-Semitism: A Yizkor Prayer” and a prayer “For the Jews of France.”

Please check out my ELItalk “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 Credit: Highland Park Conservative Temple

Shoah Memorial Prayer

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

זכר צדיקים לברכה
A memorial prayer for those who perished in the Holocaust. This is the centerpiece of a six-prayer Yom HaShoah liturgy. This prayer appears in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Shoah Memorial Prayer
Creator of all,
Source and shelter,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To those who perished in the Holocaust,
Our fathers and mothers,
Our sisters and brothers,
Our rabbis and teachers,
Our neighbors and children,
The named and the unnamed,
Whose lives were cut off by
Brutal, vicious, cunning and calculated violence.
May they find peace in the world to come.
Remember the survivors who have since passed away,
And the virtues of our people who’ve died at the hand of malice
In every generation.
We remember the works of their hands
And the messages of their hearts.
Bless the defenders of Israel with safety and strength,
And the righteous of all nations who provide
Protection, shelter and comfort to the Jewish people.
Let their deeds be a source of favor in heaven
And healing on earth.
Put an end to anger, hatred and fear
And lead us to a time when no one will suffer at the hand of another,
Speedily, in our days.
May the memories of all who faced these horrors
Be sanctified with joy and love.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This prayer is adapted from “At the Hand of Anti-Semitism: A Yizkor Prayer.” Thanks to my friend Brenda Epstein for the suggestion. Here are two prayers appropriate for use commemorating Kristallnacht, Yom HaShoah and Tisha b’Av: “After the Horror” and “Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass.” Click here for a six-prayer Yom HaShoah liturgy.

Please check out my ELItalk “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 Credit: Highland Park Conservative Temple

For the Bereaved

Posted on: July 18th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

Jewish_Gravemarker.ברוך דין האמת

A prayer of mourning for all who are bereaved, it can be used for a Yartziet, Yizkor or during a period of mourning. It is also part of my liturgy for Yom HaShoah. Please see “For Bereaved Children” for a prayer for children facing loss. Both prayers appears in my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing. To listen while you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

For the Bereaved
Rock of Jacob,
Comfort of Rachel,
Broken and torn,
Shattered and crushed,
Bereaved and bereft,
We declare Your Holy Name.

We praise Your gifts and Your works.
You are Author and Artist,
Architect and Builder,
Source and Redeemer.

We the mourners of Zion and Israel
Comfort each other.
We console the lonely and embrace the lost.
We cry each other’s tears.
Together we recall Your wonder and Your majesty.

Holy One,
Ineffable Redeemer,
Guiding Hand,
Gentle Hand,
Loving Hand,
Light of Israel,
Guardian of Israel.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are links to “For Bereaved Children” and “After Shiva.”

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. If you like this prayer, please post a link to Facebook, your blog or mention it in a tweet.

Photo Credit: Cultura Hebraica

Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass

Posted on: April 7th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

YomHaShoahCandleThis prayer is about the power of tears, both to hurt and to heal, and is appropriate for use commemorating Kristallnacht, Yom HaShoah and Tisha b’Av. Click here for a six-prayer Yom HaShoah liturgy.

To listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass
My tears are crystal and broken glass.
They sparkle, they cut.
They heal, they wound.
They are daybreak and midnight,
Hymn and dirge,
Joyous celebration and lonely mourning.
My tears catch Your Divine Light,
Prisms casting colors across my days
And on my hands.
I pray to hold them gently,
With dignity,
With honor.

I am one of Your children,
One of those You love,
Comforted knowing that I, too,
Am one for whom You cry
Tears of crystal,
Tears of broken glass.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Please see the related prayer, “After the Horror.”

If you use this prayer, please click “like” on this page and subscribe. Please take a moment to post a link to your Facebook page, your blog or mention it in a tweet. Thanks. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!

Photo Credit: Highland Park Conservative Temple

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