As young people and their teachers return to school, to campus and to class, we pray for a year that proves safer than those before. Grant, O God, that houses of learning from daycare centers to graduate schools are places free from havoc and harm.
May we send our children off to school each morning in peace, may they learn throughout the day in peace, and may the return home to us each afternoon in peace.
We pray that troubled students and struggling adults will express their pain with words rather than weapons, with resolve rather than revenge, with forethought rather than force.
We pray for a year without disruption from gun fire and from rumors that someone is going to “shoot up lunch.”
We pray that our students can focus on the task at hand rather than fearing for what might happen.
We pray for supportive faculty and staff, principals and counselors, deans, provosts, college and university presidents who can help our young people through whatever changes and challenges this year may bring.
May pray that no one has to make the phone call that no one wants to make.
This year there will be no need for it.
No fatalities, no injuries, no false alarms and no threats.
Just as we bless our children aloud every Sabbath eve as we gather for candle lighting, so too do we pray for them in our hearts every day when the roll out of bed, gobble down breakfast, dash for the door or run for the bus.
“May this day be a good day for my child.” God of all children, young and old, hear our prayer, grant our plea. And let us say:
Rabbi David Wirtschafter is the rabbi of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, KY. Confronting violence in classic Jewish texts and contemporary society is the focus of his work in progress, The Torah They Never Taught You, Bad Stories from The Good Book.