Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yom HaShoah: Holocaust Remembrance 2011



A few days ago I urged to seek out your community's Holocaust Remembrance Observance - and to attend and participate.  My community's service was this evening and I was asked to offer a prayer at the end of the program.

The program consisted of: a welcome; music by the cantor from Concord's synagogue (herself a daughter of survivors); a presentation by a woman who was a child survivor; my prayer; and another beautiful song from the cantor.

I offered two prayers: on of my own composition and one by Alden Solovy whose prayers I've posted and linked to here recently.

By way of introduction to my part in the program, I mentioned my own prayer with the psalms in Lent and how I'd been struck by the regular refrain of lament in the psalms as well as a thirst for freedom.  From that experience, I composed a prayer in a litanic form.  I spoke, too, of how I had found Alden Solovy's blog and his prayers and how appropriate was his post today for this evening's service.

Here are the two prayers:
From Bondage to Freedom
• From the bondage of lies,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of truth and its pursuit…

• From the bondage of hatred,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom to love all peoples as you love them…

• From the bondage of bullying and cruelty,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of kindness, gentleness,
and compassion…

• From the bondage of religious persecution,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of awe and acceptance
in the face of others’ faith…

• From the bondage of power,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of placing others’ needs
ahead of our own…

• From the bondage of tyranny,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of liberty shaped by fair rule…

• From the bondage of war,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of peace justly won
and mutually secured…

• From the bondage of slavery,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of serving you in serving one another…

• From the bondage of racism,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of being one family,
made in your image…

• From the bondage of persecution,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom to lift up those who are oppressed…

• From the bondage of torture and genocide,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom of respecting and reverencing
the dignity of every human being…

• From the forgetting that leads us to repeat the sins of the past,
deliver us, O God,
and give us the freedom to remember, lest we ever forget…
-Austin Fleming
And here's Alden's prayer:
After the Horror

Hold fast to the breath of life.
Hold fast to the song of life.
Hold fast to the soul of life.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As survivor, as witness, as a voice of history and truth.

Why else did I live when so many died?
Why else do I stand when so many were put to rest?
Why else do I hope and yearn when so many were silenced?

Hold fast to awe and wonder.
Hold fast to radiance and light.
Hold fast to mystery and majesty.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As mourner, as testimony to horror and destruction.

What else remains? What else endures?
What more can You ask of me,
But to choose life in the shadow of death?
© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved. 
 
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