Mourning

Heal Our Hearts (Mi Shebeirach)

By: 
Samantha Silk

Mi shebeirach avoteinu
M’kor hab’racha l’imoteinu

I sing these words
With deep conviction
I pray with all of my soul
Ad-nai, please hear me
Give your people the strength to carry on
Give us the courage to prevail
Bless us with the same love as our ancestors
And we will heal our world through mitzvot
Mi shebeirach imoteinu
M’kor habrachah l’avoteinu

Bless the hands of the wounded
And the holy hands of their doctors
Bless the hands of those shaken
And the holy hands of their loved ones
Bless us with r’fuah sh’leimah
So body and soul may renew
With your love and compassion
And I will continue your works
Of healing those around me
And those around me will heal me
And your world will soon be as one
And as I pray for the strength to save
The swaying of singing bodies
Through my closed lids
And my open heart
Softens my pain and my fear
And we sigh, breathing out
Our final plea
Amen

Samantha Silk lives in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, near the Tree of Life synagogue. She wrote these poems in response to the attack on the synagogue. Samantha is a student at The Ellis School and belongs to Temple Sinai.

A Cry for Peace (Shalom Rav)

By: 
Samantha Silk

Shalom rav al Yisrael amcha
Tasim l’olam

I ask you for peace
I ask you for love
I ask you for guidance from up above
Ki Atah Hu Melech Adon
L’chol hashalom

I ask you for safety
I ask for protection
I ask you for patience and care and affection
V’tov b’einecha l’vareich
Et amcha Yisrael

Ad-nai hear my voice
Ad-nai hear me sing
Hear the words aching within my heart
Hear me crying out as my voice rings
B’chol eit uv’chol shah
Bish’lomecha

Please bring peace to your people
Protect the ones you set free
Please heal the wounds of your children
Protect the souls that refused to flee
Shalom rav al Yisrael amcha
Tasim l’olam
Shalom rav al Yisrael amcha
Tasim l’olam

Samantha Silk lives in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, near the Tree of Life synagogue. She wrote these poems in response to the attack on the synagogue. Samantha is a student at The Ellis School and belongs to Temple Sinai.

A Prayer for the Anniversary of September 11th

By: 
Rabbi John L. Rosove

Eternal God, Source and Creator of Life; From the depths we have called to you and we call to you again for courage, strength and wisdom on this anniversary of our nation's tragedy.

Grant us courage to confront our enemies. Comfort those who stand alone without spouse, parent, brother, sister, or friend. Open our hearts to them and to the children orphaned ten years ago today. Enable us to love more deeply all children who suffer. Accept with mercy our prayers of healing on behalf of the families of the victims and on behalf of the second responders who became ill at Ground Zero.

Despite the horror and tragedy of 9/11, our country remains a shelter of peace, a symbol of freedom a beacon light of compassion and justice to the downtrodden and oppressed of the world.

Strengthen the hands of our people to defend this country and our common values of freedom and justice. Inspire our leaders and diplomats to act wisely and to pursue peace everywhere in the world.

May we teach our children to learn and to think, to consider and to reason, to be courageous in thought and in deed, and to nurture hearts of wisdom that they may do battle against fear, hatred and bigotry using weapons of the spirit and loving hearts.

We offer our prayers on behalf of our country and government, our President and judiciary, our officials and institutions, our soldiers and citizens, upon all who faithfully toil for the good of our country, to preserve democracy in our land, to advocate for civility between adversaries, and to treat every human being as infinitely worthy and dignified by virtue of being created b'Tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image.

Bestow upon us all the blessings of peace, and may we live to see the day when swords will be converted into ploughshares and nations will not learn war anymore. Amen!

Rabbi John L. Rosove is the senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA.

Unless You Know: A Poem for Yom HaShoah

By: 
Rachel Lipetz MacAulay

Unless you know
what it is to look
at black & white proof
at lambs led to slaughter
at herds of the lost
at ghosts of a people
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
the deluge of tears
for strangers not touched
for family not met
for babies not kissed
for laughter not born
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
a childhood full
of ghosts at the table
of monsters in shadows
of stories of suffering
of prayers said in vain
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
that your people lie still
in piles of teeth
in hills of thrown shoes
in stubs of lit candles
in graves long forgotten
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
that guilt is ingrained
that grief never ends
that hate comes in waves
that life carries pain

Do not tell me you know
what it is that I feel
unless you know they were yours
and know they are you

 

©2016 Rachel L. MacAulay All Rights Reserved

Rachel Lipetz MacAulay is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, social media manager, and project manager. She blogs at Challa and Haggis.

In Memoriam: Sandy Hook

By: 
Alden Solovy

These two prayers are to be read in commemorating the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT (Dec. 14, 2012). The first, “For the Children of Newtown,” is prayer I wrote in response to the attack. May the memories of the righteous be a blessing.

In Memoriam for the Sandy Hook victims

For the Children of Newtown
Author of life,
Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under Your tabernacle of peace
To the victims of the massacre
In Newtown, Connecticut,
Children whose lives were cut off by violence,
All who fell at the hand of anger,
A rampage beyond understanding.
The future was severed.
Hopes, joys and dreams
Lost to brutality.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.
May they rest in peace.

God of mercy,
Remember, too, the survivors of this attack,
Parents,
Sisters and brothers,
Witnesses of shock, horror and dismay.
Ease their suffering and release their trauma.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
And courage to heal,
So that they recover lives of joy and wonder.

Remember the families and friends
Of the dead and the bereaved
With comfort and consolation.
Grant them Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing.
May they find hope and grace.

Heavenly Guide,
Source of love,
Guard the children of Newtown.
Grant them Your shelter and solace,
Blessing and renewal.
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 day.

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

“At the Hand of Violence” is a memorial prayer for individual victims of violence, and includes space to name a specific person who died in the massacre.

At the Hand of Violence: A Yizkor Prayer
Author of life Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To ______________________ (name in Hebrew or your native tongue),
My [father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / dear one / friend]
Whose life was cut off by violence,
An act of witless aggression.
We remember his / her wisdom, talents and skills,
Joy, laughter and tears.
Let these memories continue to bless us
Even as we pray for him / her to find peace
In the world to come.
Put an end to anger, hatred and fear
And lead us to a time when no one will suffer at the hand of another.
May his / her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

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

Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. He’s written for the secular and Jewish press. Before making aliyah to Israel, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, in Evanston, IL, and a regular participant in worship at B'nai Jeshoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, IL. His work appears in the CCAR Press book Mishkan R’fuah: Where Healing Resides.

Memorial Prayer for First Responders

By: 
Alden Solovy

God of the selfless,
God of the strong and the brave,
Grant a perfect rest among the souls of the righteous
To those who died in service to others during the
_________________________________________________ [add name of event such as: the 9/11 attacks, the Mount Carmel fire, the Yarnell fire, etc.].
May their dedication to protecting life serve as a shining lamp of love
And the works of their hands bring us all merit in heaven.
Bless the souls of all who have died to save others,
Civilians and professionals,
The trained and the untrained,
In every age and in every land,
Men and women who answered the call of honor, duty and service.
May their memories be sanctified with joy and love.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. He's written for the secular and Jewish Press. Before making aliyah six months ago, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, Evanston, Ill., and a regular participant in worship at BJBE, Deerfield, Ill. His work will appear in the forthcoming CCAR Press book, Mishkan R'fuah: Where Healing Resides.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, visit To Bend Light and see " Share the Prayer!"

For Terror Survivors

By: 
Alden Solovy

God of the survivor,
God of the mourner and the witness,
Grant solace and peace to those still held by physical, emotional, and spiritual distress from acts of terror.

[We remember now those who are suffering from trauma after ___________ (add name of event, such as Newton massacre, Boston Marathon bombings, 9/11 attacks, etc.)].

Release them from visions of death and destruction.
Release them from guilt or shame, from fear or anger.
Bind their wounds with Your steadfast love.
Lift them on Your wings of kindness and grace.

Blessed are those who have found peace.

Blessed are those without tranquility.

Blessed are those who speak.

Blessed are those who stay silent.

Blessed are those who have healed.

Blessed are those who suffer.

Blessed are those who forgive.

Blessed are those who cannot forgive.

Blessed are You, God of healing, Source of strength for survivors of violence and tragedy in every land and in every age.
Blessed are You, Source of hope and comfort.

Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. He's written for the secular and Jewish Press. Before making aliyah, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, Evanston, Ill., and a regular participant in worship at BJBE, Deerfield, Ill. His work will appear in the forthcoming CCAR Press book, Mishkan R'fuah: Where Healing Resides.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, visit To Bend light and see " Share the Prayer!"

For the Bereaved

By: 
Alden Solovy

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,
You are our Shelter.

Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. He's written for the secular and Jewish Press. Before making aliyah six months ago, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, Evanston, Ill., and a regular participant in worship at BJBE, Deerfield, Ill. His work will appear in the forthcoming CCAR Press book, Mishkan R'fuah: Where Healing Resides.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, visit To Bend light and see " Share the Prayer!"

At the Hand of Violence: A Yizkor Prayer

By: 
Alden Solovy

Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To ______________________ (name in Hebrew or your native tongue),
My [father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / dear one / friend]
Whose life was cut off by violence,
An act of witless aggression.
We remember his / her wisdom, talents and skills,
Joy, laughter and tears.
Let these memories continue to bless us
Even as we pray for him / her to find peace
In the world to come.
Put an end to anger, hatred and fear
And lead us to a time when no one will suffer at the hand of another.
May his / her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. He's written for the secular and Jewish Press. Before making aliyah six months ago, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, Evanston, Ill., and a regular participant in worship at BJBE, Deerfield, Ill. His work will appear in the forthcoming CCAR Press book, Mishkan R'fuah: Where Healing Resides.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, visit To Bend light and see " Share the Prayer!"

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and stronghold,
a help in trouble, very near.
Therefore we are not afraid
though the earth reels
though the mountains topple into the sea---
its waters rage and foam;
in its swell mountains quake.

-Translation, The Jewish Publication Society, 1985

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