Three Prayers for This Strangest of New Years


This strangest of years, in which expectations of any kind couldn’t possibly have predicted our reality, we find ourselves – at least I do – craving the sound of the shofar and the sway of fellow daveners. Has there ever been such a year?

Leaders of Jewish communities of every kind are working overtime to meet these every-year needs in a blend of tradition and innovation that would fill our ancestors’ hearts to overflowing. Look at the Jewish passion and spiritual creativity flooding the internet – has there ever been such a year?

Praise: To all those whose intense leadership became even more intense with the launch of the High Holidays at last week’s Selichot services. To you all — rabbis, cantors, educators, executive directors, youth professionals, volunteer leaders, fundraisers — you are giving everything you’ve got to lift the whole world up, screen by screen, community by community. We see you, we honor you, we bless you. Amen.

Request: May we learn/remember how to open up our hearts and minds and souls. May we reclaim the headlines with the shocking good we’ll do. May our children inherit some good decisions we’ll make to offset our countless mistakes. May we take really good care of each other and heal this fragile world. Amen.

Gratitude: For the blessing of one more year, one more day, one more breath, may we be ever thankful. And may we channel all the emotions coursing through our bodies to make this a year worth praying for. Amen.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor serves as the Pearl and Ira Meyer Scholar in Residence at UJA-Federation New York and founder of Rabbis Against Gun Violence.