Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rabbi Schwartz's Rosh Hashanah Prayer 5774


Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz

Eloheinu, velohei avotenu

Our God, God of all generations:

Help us to thoughtfully reflect on the year just past,

And to courageously embrace this year, 5774, just born.

We stand before You grateful for our own sustenance and prosperity, but painfully aware that too many of our fellow citizens languish in economic hardship.

Too many of them remain unemployed, underemployed, and uninsured.

Too many do not share in the promise of this country.

Too many are being left behind.

Remind us, O God, that we can and should do better.

Remind us that our wealth is but Your gift, and that the 1% are called upon to not forsake the 99%.

Remind us, in this jubilee year of the great March on Washington, that we all share in the American dream.

In a year after which we re-elected a president for these United States, guide our leaders to enlightened decision making, inspired vision, and basic cooperation for the public good.

May those who govern lay aside personal gain and partisan politics to engage in the unfinished work of justice in our society.

Foster a spirit of common sacrifice that the vast richness of this land be shared more equitably, and that, in the words of Torah, the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the stranger be not forgotten, “for you know the heart of the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

At this New Year we cannot help but remember our soldiers in harm’s way, still fighting and dying in America’s longest war…and we pray for their safety and speedy return.

At this New Year we cannot help but think about our brothers and sisters in the land of Israel, who also stand in harm’s way and are daily threatened by a burning Middle East.

Israel too has reaffirmed its vital democracy in the election of a new government, even as its neighbor to the south collapses, its neighbor to the north turns murderously on its very own, and its neighbor to the east, sworn to, “wipe the Zionist entity off the map,” is now on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

We pray for peace. Give us the wisdom to pursue the surest way to finding it.

And finally, at this New Year, we cannot help but think of the innocent victims of violence and of natural disaster that seared into our conscience this past year, near and far, from the children of Newtown, to the children of Damascus.

We pray for healing and the surest way to pursue it.

Our God, Source of all life and blessing:

At this New Year of hope and possibility,

May we find common purpose to do Your will, to rise to our greatest potential, to reflect our creation in Your image… and to walk with You forward to peace and purpose.

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