Posts Tagged ‘United States’

 

She Will Overcome: Psalm of Protest 19

Posted on: March 22nd, 2022 by Alden No Comments

This is a psalm of protest in support of the confirmation of U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Here’s a link to my other psalms of protest.

She Will Overcome: Psalm of Protest 19
O Hypocrisy,
You are shameless, unscrupulous,
Hiding hatred under a cloak
Of disingenuous inquiry and false sincerity.

O Justice,
When will you be blind
To race and gender.

O Equality,
When will the content of our human character
Summon our hearts to each other.

O Truth,
We have so much left to do
To bring equity and equanimity to this world.

O Hypocrisy,
You will not live unchallenged.
We will show you,
Again and again,
One intelligent, educated, powerful
Black woman after another,
Not expecting to release your hardened heart,
Simply knowing that, one day,
She will overcome.

© 2022 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul, This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer.” 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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For Three Leaders, For the World

Posted on: March 15th, 2022 by Alden No Comments

A new prayer for Ukraine and the world. The intention of this prayer is flexibility in use. The three middle stanzas can be removed from the prayer as the situation changes, or if a particular individual or congregation does not want to specifically name world leaders in prayer. It seems to me, however, that in this precarious moment prayers for key leaders are critical. They’re offered here as important, but optional as we all yearn for peace. Along with my “Hero of Ukraine,” this could be part of a multi-prayer liturgy for peace in the region and the world.

For Three Leaders, For the World
G-d of compassion,
Put an end to the war in Ukraine
And all wars throughout the world.
Look with favor on the refugees,
The homeless, the wounded,
The suffering, the starving,
And the newly bereaved.
Grant a perfect rest
Under Your canopy of peace
To those who have perished
At the ugly hand of war.
Extend Your canopy of peace
From the highest heavens
To this earth.

Bless Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
With continued strength and resolve
To defend his people against the onslaught,
Inspiring world sympathy and support.

Bless U.S. President Joe Biden
With wisdom and skill to face the challenge of history
As Europe prepares for a broader conflict
And fears world war.

Bless Russian President Vladimir Putin
With a change of mind,
A change of heart and soul,
To release the tools of war,
To pick up the tools of peace.

G-d of peace,
Release the citizens of Ukraine
From occupation and war.
Grant them resilience and vitality.
Give them comfort and hope.
End this violence and suffering.
For life renewed.
For healing and building.
For a better world.
“Let justice come in waves like water
And righteousness flow like a river” (Amos 5:24),
So that “nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

© 2022 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.

Postscript: See also: “Hero of Ukraine.”

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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.

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

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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

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

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

In Thanks for U.S. Democracy, Revised

Posted on: October 20th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

img_0713Unlike any other nation in history, the United States has a resilient system of electing leaders that consistently yields the peaceful transition of power, a system that’s being challenged by those currently in power. This is a simple prayer of thanksgiving for our democracy. Here’s a related prayer “For Wisdom during U.S. Presidential Elections.”

Addendum: I added reference to the 25th Amendment on Feb. 19, 2017, after seeing this video. In the wake of Covid-19 and social justice protests, I made further adjustments July 3, 2020.

In Thanks for U.S. Democracy
G-d of history,
We give thanks for the blessings
Of democracy in the United States,
Blessings unparalleled throughout the world.
No nation can match these gifts.

We give thanks:
For free and fair elections,
For the 15th Amendment,
For the 19th Amendment,
For the 25th Amendment,
For the Voting Rights Act,
For decentralized control of balloting,
For decentralized control of vote tallying,
For the peaceful transition of power,
For the two-party system,
For third party and independent candidates,
For robust debate and political compromise,
For patriotism above partisanship,
For the separation of power,
For leaders taking an oath of office,
For leaders taking an oath to serve the people,
For leaders taking an oath to defend the Constitution,
For a military and judges sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution,
For a free press and the right to assemble,
For three branches of government, two chambers of Congress, and the Supreme Court, our checks and balances,
For accountability to constituents,
And for one another, citizens of a great nation.

Let us cherish the right to select our government.
Let us cherish the right to select our representatives,
The national, state and local leaders
Who will steer our nation and guide our communities.
Our system is strong.
On election day, our voices are heard.
We, the People, are blessed.

© 2016, 2017 and 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Like many prayers aimed at fostering gratitude, the core of this prayer is about recongnizing and counting our blessings. See also: “For Wisdom during U.S. Presidential Elections.”

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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