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Prayers and Songs for Israel

From Flames to Heaven by Debbie Perlman

For Jerusalem

Builder of Jerusalem,
Reconstructor of the City of Shalom,
Where can your people rest
Amid the fury that strangles the towers?

Stone on stone and cracks between,
Grasping for the quiet
That echoes of peace,
Gasping at the pain of discord.

Where are you in the Old City?
Why have you hidden from the marketplace?
I circle above, climbing the hills,
While below the riots persist.

High above, the colors merge,
The faces curve toward the sun
As it turns the stone of gold
And the stone reflects back its glow.

Turn back, and lift again Your trowel,
Gather the mortar and the stones
To reassemble the City,
And invigorate the people.

Restore again Your City, O Builder,
Renew Your people (editors gloss: I'd change this to “peoples”) in its harmony.
Clear the rancor from the alleyways,
And the hatred from the streets.

After the Marketplace Bombing

Gather my scattered thoughts, Holy One,
Open my tight held fist,
Loosen my tension, leaning on You,
Dreams calming, days again bright

As I wake to behold the Land's splendor
Shutter my fears with sweet recall,
Heal wounds of witnessed terrors.

Invent me again for you blessing;
Renewal and strength, comfort and peace
As I rise to affirm your glory


In the Wake of the Violence in Israel: For Yizkor

(courtesy of the Reform Movement website)

As we gather to observe this last day of Pesach, each in our own communities, we are united in our grief and pain over the recent violence in Israel. There has been no time to heal from attack to attack. We weep, as our mother Rachel wept:

A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping! Rachel is weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for them, for they are no more. (Jeremiah 31:15)

To our personal prayers of yizkor (remembrance) we add a moment of silent prayer for those whose lives have been taken, for their families and friends. We pray for peace to come to them and to the land of Israel.

We add a prayer for Medinat Yisrael - The State of Israel and for her people, our brothers and sisters.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may those who love you prosper!
Let there be peace in your homes, safety within your borders.
For the sake of my people, my friends, I pray you find peace.
For the sake of the house of the Eternal our God, I will seek your good.

Psalm 122:6-9

Eternal God, grant blessing to the State of Israel, created to fulfill an age-old dream and to be a haven for the oppressed. Protect them with Your grace, shelter them with Your peace and grant them deliverance from the violence which surrounds them. May they live in harmony with one another and with their neighbors. May the bonds of faith and fate which unite the Jews of all lands be a source of strength to Israel and us all.


From Songs of Zion the Beautiful

by Alex Lazarus-Klein

Oh Jerusalem

A great love,
I feel for you, Oh Jerusalem.
Your stones fill my pours, and over your many hills glides my soul
But, still, I hate you
You pull me from myself
Making me weak with arguments I can't answer
You are everything I want, but nothing I can have
Yet, without you, my reflection is of a different person
Cold and withdrawn
It is only on your raised streets
That I can dance like King David
Before the Temple was even built
And the center of the world was reserved for the letters of your name

Seeds of Peace

In a bunker we discuss peace
At the edge of the green line, we stress cooperation
At this time of war, seeds of peace lie hidden
Everyone longing for them, but clasping the two fingers of the peace sign into a fist,
We try to pound them into submission

In the tiny community of Hahat Al-Salam, just south of Jerusalem, two people argue over independence
Nabka and Yom Ha'atzmaut
Occupation and Security
Peace and War

I read last year about how the current situation has destroyed many intermarried couples
And here, even in the ground sand of the Negev,
There are people asking what happened to the rocks


Songs

Harachaman

Music and English words by Juliet I. Spitzer

I have a dream...
Harachaman hu yivarekh otanu kulanu kulanu yachad
Bevirkat shalom, bevirkat shalom

May we see the day when all fighting will cease
And everywhere blessed with peace.

Eden

Words and music by Margot Stein, based on “Merger” by Judy Chicago

And then, and then both men and women will be gentle
And then and then both women and men will be strong
And then all will be so varied, rich and free
Then everywhere will be called Eden once again.

Psalm 122 – Interpretation

Copyright Rabbi Shawn Zevit, 1998

I rejoiced in my heart when they said to me
Let us go to the House of God
And now my feet are standing
Inside your gates, oh, Yerushalayim

L'man achai v'reyai adabrah nah shalom bach
L'man beit YHVH Eloheynu, avaksha tov lach

Pray for the Peace that holiness brings
May those who love you prosper
Pray for the freedom beyond all walls
And the hope security offers

L'man achai v'reya adabrah nah shalom bach
L'man beit YHVH Eloheynu, avaksha tov lach

For the sake of my brothers, my sisters and friends
I call out “peace be with you”

For the sake of the name of the One our God
I wish the best for you

L'man achai v'reyai adabrah nah shalom bach
L'man beit YHVH Eloheynu, avaksha tov lach
Type: Text Compilation