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3 Prayers for the Children at Our Borders

3 Prayers for the Children at Our Borders

Children standing in line at an ICE facility

Below are three original prayers, written by members of our Reform community, addressing the ongoing and escalating situation in which immigrant children are forcibly separated from their parents and held in mass detention facilities. Writes liturgist Alden Solovy of the blog To Bend Light, who wrote the prayer below called “For Children at Our Borders,”

This is a prayer against the injustice of children taken from parents by U.S. immigration authorities, parents seeking asylum in this free democratic nation. In six weeks, some 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border.

May we join together in fighting for a day when such prayers are outdated and unnecessary. Urge your members of Congress to vote no on harmful immigrant legislation, then take this opportunity to get further involved in the Reform Jewish community's immigration advocacy work through the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism's North American Immigrant Justice Campaign

"For Children at Our Borders"
By Alden Solovy

God of mothers and fathers,
God of babies and children,
Youth and teens,
The voice of agony echoes across the land,
As children are taken from their parents,
Perverting our history as a nation of immigrants,
Perverting our values,
Perverting the ways of justice and peace.
These children
Wait in misery
To be reunited with their families
So that a few may reap the political rewards
Of their suffering
By playing tough at our borders.

Source of grace,
Creator of kindness and goodness,
You call upon us to stand in the name of justice and fairness,
To witness against this abuse of power,
To battle the systematic assault on human beings,
To speak out against their suffering.

Bless those who rise up against this horror.
Give them courage and determination.
Bless those who plead on behalf of the oppressed and the subjugated
Before the seats of power.
May the work of their hands never falter
Nor despair deter them from this holy calling.

Bless those now in bondage at the hand of the U.S. government.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal.
Release them. Free them. Heal them from trauma.
Reunite them with their families.
Hasten the day of their reunion.

Blessed are You, God of All Being,
Who summons us to oppose violence, oppression, slavery and injustice.

"A Prayer for When Children are Forcibly Separated from Parents"
By Rabbi Paul Kipnes 

Pray for the children
The ones who were taken away
And pray for the leaders
Whose moral compasses have gone astray

Pray for the kids
Who wallow in their cages
And pray for the guards
Whose work sullies their wages 

Pray for the dads
Who are now childless and under arrest
And pray for the moms
Whose kids were ripped right from their breasts

Pray for the parents
Away from their children day and night
And pray for our government
Which desperately needs to see the light

Pray for the religious
Whose values others erroneously claim
To justify pulling children from their parents
But really, they just profane God’s name

Pray for the people
Who avert their eyes from this travesty
And pray for government
Which employs this immoral strategy

But mostly,
Pray for the children
Created b’tselem Elohim*
And pray for us all
As we all suffer the dark parts of the American dream

(*B’tselem Elohim means “created in God’s image”)

"My Mommy is Here"
By Rabbi Lance Sussman

Many days, at the end of day
I stand by the preschool fence where the 2 and 3 year olds play.
They are busy with sand and trucks and one another.
And then one says, “My mommy is here”
And they stop playing and their arms go up
And they jump into Mommy’s loving arms
And she kisses her children
And the world is one.

Forget the toys and the kick balls
And the fun and the buzz of the playground,
Mommy is here and I am going home.
And for that moment
that’s all there is in heaven and on earth.

When I go home, I watch the news on the TV
I hear what I cannot accept.
I see what I cannot believe.
My country is taking children out of the hands of their moms and dads
Removing nursing infants from their mother’s soft embrace
And putting them in cages
          But they say resorts
Of course, it doesn’t matter
None of those kids can say “my mommy is here”
Only strangers and procedures and
Government issued cots
For kids on ICE near our border.

Don’t we remember the auctions where slaves once were sold,
Where families were ripped apart?
Don’t we remember the transports which separated
Jewish kids from their moms and dads
Along the tracks across Europe from Amsterdam to Zagreb.

How simple, how natural the words children say
          When their mommy is here.
Is it possible my country cannot hear them?
Is it possible for me to sleep when I do hear them
And close my eyes?

Write to your members of Congress to ask them to vote no on harmful immigrant legislation, then learn more about the Reform Jewish community's immigration advocacy work through the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism's North American Immigrant Justice Campaign

Kate Kaput is the assistant director, messaging and branding, on the Union for Reform Judaism's marketing and communications team. In this role, she serves as a content manager and editor for A native of Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson, OH, and an alumna of the Religious Action Center's Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Fellowship, Kate holds a degree in magazine journalism and lives in Cleveland, OH, with her husband.

Kate Kaput

Published: 6/19/2018

Categories: Jewish Life, Social Justice, Economic Justice
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