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October 9, 2015 | 26th Tishrei 5776

Prayers for the victims of the terror in Mumbai

Gathered from congregations across the Union for Reform Judaism

Tonight, before we begin our celebration of Shabbat, we take some time to grieve for the losses in Mumbai, India.

We feel grief over the deaths of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, Rivka Holtzberg, Bentzion Kruman, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, Yoheved Orpaz and Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich, all at the Chabad House in Mumbai. 

Their loss alone feels more than enough to bear.  

As Jews, our pain feels more intense, since that family was targeted as Jews.

Then, we grieve for all of those who were targeted as Westerners.

And, we grieve for those Indian workers, caught in the cross-fire of battles, which do not involve them.

As you know, we do not compare tragedies. Each loss of life involves an infinite loss, the potential of another image of God living in our world.
Yet, the closer we feel, the tougher the loss.

We offer comfort to mourners with the words -- Hamakom y’nachem etchem betoch shaar avlei zion virushalayim—May God comfort you among all those who mourn in Zion and Jerusalem. Amen

Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman, Temple of Israel, Wilmington, North Carolina

Merciful God, author of all life, we ask Your blessing for those whose lives were forever altered by the events in Mumbai, India this past week.

For world leaders and the governments of nations: May they set aside petty concern and work together, ensuring justice and peace for all men and women.

For those who perished in these terrorist assaults: May they rest in peace, and may peace be the tribute that we build in memory of their lives.

For those who continue to grieve, for the wives and husbands, the parents, family and friends: May their hearts saddened by the loss of loved ones be strengthened with courage, and come to know the immortal promise of life renewed.

For the children, for those left without a parent, and for the children who witnessed the attacks: May they flourish in the embrace of loving hearts, and the promise of life well-lived and love unceasingly given.

Our most fervent prayer is that we find newer and better ways to fashion a future of freedom and peace. We pray for courage, wisdom and strength of heart to live every day in hope for a world in which every human being can truly say of each one of its inhabitants: This person too is a child of God.

God of the ages, before Your eyes all empires rise and fall yet You are changeless. Be near us in this age of terror. Uphold those who work and watch and wait and weep and love, and by Your Spirit give rise in us to broad sympathy for all the peoples of your earth. Strengthen us to comfort those who mourn and to work in ways both large and small for those acts of braveness, honor and human decency that make for peace. Bless all nations so that terror and warfare might one day only be found in our history books. All this we ask in Your name, and in the name of peace. Amen.

Rabbi Billy Dreskin, Woodlands Community Temple, White Plains, NY

As we gather this Shabbat, each in our own communities, we are united by the grief and anguish we feel over the violence this past week in Mumbai, India. So painful and devastating is this most recent attack of terrorism. We mourn the loss of life; those who were targets and those who were caught in the crossfire. May their families and communities draw courage and faith from the knowledge of Your presence.
We pray for those who were wounded. El na rifana la. Please God, heal them. Sustain them with Your strength.  Watch over them with your love. Grant them a refua shleima - a complete healing of body and soul.

But we are weary from grieving:  Grieving for a lost sense of safety in this world that has been forever shattered.  Grieving for communities that bear witness to the unbearable and must somehow go on.  Weary of feeling helpless to change the course we are on.

Makor haChaim -- Source of Life, give us the will to transform our prayers into action. 

May our prayers inspire us to work with members of our global community to counter the culture of violence which has been allowed to grow throughout the world.

And may our prayers lead us to treasure every moment with those we love.  For those moments are too few and too precious to waste.

Rabbi Sue Ann Wasserman
Director, Department of Worship, Music and Religious Living
Union for Reform Judaism


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