we [include a prayer for our troops] every Shabbat and Yom Tovim when I lead services at our Parallel Minyan, I sometimes include a reading which is a letter home from a friend [Mickey] I served with in Vietnam It was included in a moving theater piece called "One Red Flower," a setting of letters home from Vietnam.
If You Are Able
If you are able, Save for them a place inside of you And save one backward glance When you are leaving For the places they can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say you loved them Though you may or may not have always
Take what they have left And what they have taught you with their dying And keep it with your own.
And in that time when men decide and feel safe To call the war insane, Take one moment to embrace Those gentle heroes you left behind.
March 24, l970, Mickey died trying to rescue eight soldiers. May his memory--may all their memories--be for a blessing. Mike
Dec 2005 Digest 191
our Ritual Committee discussed how we can respond to the resolution on Iraq by acknowledging the contribution of our military. Our lengthy discussion ranged from acknowledging the Iraqi civilians who have died each week to naming the soldiers or American civilians who have died each week. For the present, we have agreed to the rabbi inserting "for all those who have lost their lives in defense of our country" prior to reciting Kaddish Estherose 1050 family units
Dec 2005 Digest 191
In our congregation, we read the name of every soldier killed that week. This is important because every one of those soldiers represented a world unto himself or herself
The URJ resolution on Iraq calls on congregations to: "Adopt respectful and meaningful methods of acknowledging the contribution of our military such as the use of prayers for the welfare of service members, listing names of military personnel lost in the line of duty in Kaddish prayers or in temple bulletins, or other appropriate ways."
I urge you to do the following. The next time that there is a funeral of a man or woman killed in Iraq in your community, ask your rabbi to go to it and have some of your lay leadership go with him. It is an incredible experience and will be viewed locally as a show of support for the congregation and its families. I have done this and urge others to do so.
Second urge your rabbi to read each name each week. Do not accept as an excuse that "it will take too long." It will take a minute or less but is an incredible, powerful experience. We have been doing this since May 2005. This is one of the best ways for us to remind people of the terrible cost of this ill prepared and ill thought out war. Names may be accessed at www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_casualties.htm.
For the past few years we have been reading a prayer for the troops at every service. The prayer we read was written by a member of our congregation because we could not find exactly what we were looking for anywhere else Anyone is welcome to use it--please just give credit to the author [Mary Ingram]. Jo 30 Families
PRAYER FOR OUR SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES
Source of Life, Who instructed Moses and Your people to oppose oppression, yet forbade them to rejoice in the suffering of their foes, grant to our men and women in uniform the strength and wisdom to discharge their duties with courage and honor. Return them safely to their loved ones when their tasks are done.
Source of Life, Who cared for the needs of Moses and Your people in the desert, giving them manna from heaven and water from a rock, look with loving-kindness upon the families of those who are called away and grant them what they need to endure the hardships of these uncertain and troubling times.
Blessed are You, Source of Life.
Mary Ingram Synagogue of the Hills Rapid City, SD 2003
August 2007 Digest 160
The following brief prayer has been written by by US Navy Chaplain Rabbi Kaprow as appropriate for congregations to place in their Memorial Booklets. Marian
Eternal and Compassionate God whose mercies fill the earth, at this sacred time of remembrance our thoughts turn to all the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States who have given their lives in the defense of freedom for all people. Keep these pure souls, who shine brightly throughout Your creation, sheltered firmly beneath Your wings. May the memory of their lives serve as an inspiration to us and as a comfort to all their loved ones. May they rest in peace among all the righteous of our people. And let us say, Amen.