ROSH HASHANAH PRAYER
Rosh Hashanah, 5782
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 just born.
Let us begin by remembering the tragic and the hopeful.
We mourn the four million souls who have perished in the Covid pandemic worldwide; the 600,000 here in our own country; the 26,000 here in our small state of New Jersey.
Open the gates of healing for the bereaved and the bereft. There are so many mourners whose lives will not return to normal… even as most of us take those steps.
We bemoan the loss of lives and the loss of livelihoods⏤families shattered, businesses shuttered; jobs lost, dreams dashed… even as most of us regain our footing.
Open the gates of our compassion for the hungry and the homeless, for the dispersed and the displaced⏤for all those suffering economically and emotionally.
Yet at this New Year let us also recall the points of light that illuminated our way⏤the heroic healthcare workers, the valiant front-line workers, the bus drivers and the grocery clerks who went to work to save lives and to sustain lives; the scientists who developed the vaccines; the corporations that produced them; the businesses that distributed them, the aids who administered them.
Open the gates of our gratitude for all the essential people in our families and communities.
At this new year we are also witnessing the suffering from mother nature at her most ferocious and deadly.
Open the gates of recovery for those battered by flood and fire.
At this new year a great tragedy is unfolding in Afghanistan after twenty years of spilt blood and treasure.
Open the gates of refuge and peace for the forgotten and the forsaken, the oppressed and disposed⏤in that troubled place and in all lands.
At this new year unprecedented assaults on our voting rights and personal rights, and on democracy as we know it, continue in broad daylight.
We are compelled, too, to acknowledge the plague of racism that has never gone away in our country and still profoundly vexes us as Americans and as Jews.
We must contend with our collective sins of commission as well as our sins of omission… for have we not all stood idly by?
In a free society, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel reminds us, some are guilty, but all are responsible.
Open for us the gates of insight and courage for the hard work of reconciliation that lies ahead if we are to form a more perfect union befitting our country.
Open for us the gates of freedom and equality; the gates of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all of us, rich or poor, documented or undocumented.
Let us be grateful for a free and fair election of a new president, and for our democracy that grapples and survives in the pursuit of truth and justice.
In a nation so richly blessed make us more compassionate, more generous, more just.
In our own little community, we greet this New Year in deep gratitude for our milestone sesquicentennial anniversary⏤one hundred and fifty years of our “community of the faithful” gathering in fellowship, study and good deeds; fifty of them here in Leonia.
Our God; God of all generations: 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 forward, to peace and purpose.