Friday, October 3, 2014

Rabbi Schwartz's Rosh Hashanah Prayer 5775


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, 5775, just born.

At times it seems like the world is falling apart.

Help us to discern the path to confront unprovoked aggression in the Ukraine, devastating civil war in Syria, the reemergence of barbaric evil in Iraq, and of course the implacable hatred of those sworn to the destruction of our beloved Israel.

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

We pray too for the kidnapped girls of Nigeria, and for the forgotten Sudanese refugees, for the Ebola victims of Western Africa, and the quietly suffering AIDS victims of Southern Africa.

We pray for the world’s peace and healing. Give us the wisdom to pursue the surest way to finding it.

Here at home 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 unemployed, underemployed, and uninsured.

Remind us, O God, that we can and should do better, that our wealth is but Your gift, that gifts and blessings are meant to be shared, and that as the gulf between the haves and have-nots continues to widen, the 1% are called upon to not forsake the 99%, the well-off called upon not to abandon the worn down.

Remind us, in this jubilee year of the Freedom summer of ’64 and the Voting Rights Act that we all share in the American dream from Washington, DC, to Ferguson, Missouri.

Guide our grid-locked 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, for citizen and immigrant, for people of color, black, brown and white; male and female; adult and child.

Foster a spirit of common sacrifice that the vast richness of this land be shared more equitably, and that, in the words of the 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.”

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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