This prayer is to be said at the start of a meeting when an issue threatens to divide a congregation. The prayer is a reminder of our common goal: creating and sustaining a place of holiness and Torah. Optional language appears in [brackets]. Word choices are separated with slashes (“/”). The blank line is to customize the prayer to a particular situation.
Prayer for Congregational Wisdom during Conflict
G-d of Old,
We come together
As a [congregation / kehilla / synagogue / shul / temple],
A community of men and women,
Young and old,
In reverence for each other,
To speak about ____________________ (brief label/description of the concern/issue),
A challenge facing us as a congregation,
[A challenge that threatens to divide us],
And we look for insight and guidance.
Grant us wisdom as we do this holy work.
We have one desire:
To build a place of holiness,
A place of Torah,
A place of chesed and rachamim.
Grant us the ability to speak with care,
And to listen with understanding.
Open our hearts
So that our words will build deeper connections
And stronger bonds,
In this holy congregation of prayer.
,מי שברך אבותינו אברהם יצחק ויעקוב
,ואמותינו שרה רבקה רחל ולאה
,הוא יברך את הקהל הקדוש הזה
May the one who blessed our fathers
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
And our mothers,
Sarah, Rebekkah, Rachel and Leah,
Bless this holy congregation
With life and peace,
Joy and gladness,
Deliverance and consolation,
And let us say: Amen.
© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: The final paragraph – in both Hebrew and English – combines: i) the opening lines of the prayer for the welfare of a congregation, traditionally said near the end of the Shabbat Torah service; ii) with the addition of the Matriarchs; and, iii) blessings found at the end of the prayer for announcing a new month said on Shabbat Mevorchim. Here’s a related prayer: “Congregational Prayer at the High Holidays.”
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