Oct 28, 2018

Prayer at Memorial Ceremony, NYC After the Mass Shooting in Pittsburgh

Prayer at Memorial Ceremony, NYC
After the Mass Shooting in Pittsburgh
October 28, 2018
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Scholar in Residence, UJA-Federation NY

Dear God,

Our nation has endured this Gun Violence epidemic for far too long.

These are our devastations: 11, 96, and 33,000.
11 Jews gunned down during Sabbath prayer
96 Americans killed by guns every day
33,000 Images of God erased every year in America
by cold guns wielded by hurtful hearts.

We have every reason to become numb,
to become used to this blasphemous trend.

How can we even register that Your children,
Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist,
Transgender, Gay, Straight,
Black and White,
are being erased
one bullet at a time?

And so, Compassionate One, we beg of You:
awaken us from the cruelty of our enduring dispassion.

Thoughts and prayers,
orphaned from concrete change,
are worthless in Your eyes
- as they should be in ours.

11 souls ripped from this world yesterday
for the crime of being Jewish in America,
today’s America, a country whose ongoing trauma
is fueled by too little standing up
and the growing poverty of our national soul.

Dear God, "No home is without its dead," we read in Your Holy Torah,
when the firstborns of a sinful nation were lost.
Our children, our precious children...
…seem to matter less to our nation
than automatic weapons.

Today, our Jewish community mourns our own, grieving to our souls.
But we know we do not stand alone.

The images of bloodied prayerbooks are shattering
and familiar.
12 shootings in houses of faith over the last 3 years…
Mother Emanuel AME Church,
Tree of Life Synagogue,
but also Pulse,
and also Las Vegas,
and everyday gun deaths that no one reports….

Worshipers felled by worshipped bullets,
encroaching national numbness,
while white supremacy, armed to the teeth,
decimates God’s sacred homes.

Dear God,

We know
there is only one way to repent:
we must save our children
from our sins
[God forbid…]

God, we know we must act,
and we know that, in order to act,
we must feel the urgency - Your Urgency.
We must channel Your pain
at the deaths of Your children
- in Your Holy Home -
and remind ourselves and
our leaders to look to the Tree of life


We've been too quiet,
mistaking status updates
and reactionary prayers for repentance.

And so, God,
as we feel the beginnings of our own weariness
in a news cycle that too quickly replaces yesterday’s devastation with today’s
we remember the eternal wisdom of Your Prophet, Isaiah:

"...those who hope in God will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint
." (Isaiah 40:31)

We pray to You for renewal
as we spread our protective wings over one another again,
courageous and hopeful,
sad and committed,
running to justice,
refusing weariness,
and choosing life,
as an interwoven community of survivors.

Holy One,
May we sing louder than the weapons
and merit to see You in each other's eyes,
sanctifying Your Name
by standing together
by rising up again,
this time rebuilding Your World
by saving each other.


Chag Sukkot Sameach, dear friends.