A Newtown El Malei: for 26 Souls and 30,000 More
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
in memory of Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison N. Wyatt - may their memories be a blessing.
El Malei Rachamim, God, full of compassion, Who inhabits the Heavens, do You find comfort in the divine expanse? We, your children, have found precious little on earth this year.
We've had pure, holy souls torn from us, 26 of whom we remember today, one painful year later. Your firmament may now be illuminated by their light, but we do not feel blessing in the increased heavenly glow. They were meant to shine in this world for much, much longer, held by friends and family, teachers, students, nurses... children. 20 precious, young children.
Oh, how our hearts continue to break, tears unceasingly flow, as deaths far beyond those 26 have ravaged our nation, multiples of 26 every day. We are all Newtown, Adonai, because Newtown has happened in America every day since.
Today we remember the earth soaked with the blood of 26 slain people amplified by the anguish of more than 30,000 unremembered souls who have died since Dec. 14, 2012. Their names are not recited, nor their deaths adequately felt by their neighbors, their communities, nor their government.
Dear God, Justice feels dreadfully far. Even memory seems near impossible. We so willingly forget, avert our glance, click another link, ignore the consequence of our own neglect.
And that is why we call to You today, God. You alone understand, because You are comprised of all that pain. Holy Tears of loss stream down Your hidden face, which is of necessity Infinite, as our crying - and therefore Yours - is without end.
So we pray to You, Heavenly Mother, Our Father our King, Protector, Peace-bringer, Judge, God of Peace, Comforter, Ruler - we call out to You today using every name we know: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, take the blinders from our eyes, so that we might learn to cry Your Holy Tears.
Only when we let Your Sacred Pain into our human guts, writhe as it purifies our hearts, and then finally turn our acursed weapons into plowshares with our bare hands, only then will we deserve to have been made in Your Image.
We know that day will only come when we ourselves make our world a place where black children and white children are all remembered by their children and their children's children - after having lived long, blessed lives. When we remember the children behind bars, the children beneath the ground, and see each and every one as the child we are commanded to love. Only then, God... only then.
Adonai, do not bind us by death into Your Eternal Bond of Life. We have far too much living to do first.
God, grant us the courage, wisdom and endurance to change our world into a safer, saner place, the world You dreamt of, a world where Your Portion is one we extend each other through unending, unfailing, unconditional human concern.