(Revised) Prayer for Syria
September 03, 2013
Pretty much every rabbi I know is either working on a sermon about Syria, or wondering whether we ought to be frantically scrapping an existing Rosh Hashanah sermon in order to preach about Syria, or reading voraciously to try to cultivate an informed opinion about Syria and whether the United States should intervene (or whether, perhaps, the US should have intervened eighteen months ago but has now missed its window.)
Here's a slightly different tack. I've spent some time today revising a prayer which I posted here just over a year ago. This revision is intended to be prayed aloud. In my community we'll be reciting this prayer toward the end of Rosh Hashanah services, alongside our Prayer for Israel and Prayer for Our Country. If this speaks to you, you're most welcome to use it; I ask only that you keep my name attached so that people know where it came from.
A version of this prayer / poem will appear in my forthcoming collection of Jewish liturgical poetry.
Prayer for Syria
Shekhinah, in Whose womb creation is nurtured:
when your children are slaughtered you weep.
Bring peace beneath Your fierce embrace
to Syria. Let a new image of the world be born
in which American Jews pray for Syrians, who pray
for Israelis, who pray for Palestinians, who pray
even for American Jews. Fill the hearts
of the insurgents with Your compassion
so that when the regime comes to its end
no one seeks the harsh justice of retaliation.
Awaken conscience in the Syrian government
and spark their dormant mercy. And for us:
help us to wield our power in service of good
and strengthen our resolve not to turn away.
We bless You, Source of Mercy. Bring wholeness
to this broken creation. And let us say: Amen.