JUFJ is partnering with immigrant organizations and other Jewish organizations on local Lights for Liberty events on Friday, July 12 in DC and Baltimore.
At 6:00 PM at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (1313 New York Ave NW), join us for a Kabbalat Shabbat service before the Lights for Liberty rally. Click here to RSVP for the DC service.
At 7:00 PM at Baltimore City Hall (100 Holliday St), join us for rally. We will then march to McKeldin Plaza, and have a candle lighting before the vigil and march to Baltimore’s ICE headquarters. Click here to RSVP for the Baltimore vigil.
JUFJ member Virginia Spatz prepared these readings and prayers for those who want to join us in their Shabbat observances at home or in their own congregations or minyans. Feel free to use these texts in your Shabbat observance in whatever way makes sense to you.
It is not permitted to fast, to entreat, or to plead asking mercy from heaven on Shabbat. Even those terrible times when a public fast would be decreed and the shofar blown, one does not fast or blow the shofar on Shabbat or on holidays. If a city is besieged by a foreign force or endangered by a flood, or if a boat is threatened with capsizing at sea, then an exception is made and one sounds the alarm in order to help those who are in danger, and one prays and asks for mercy for them.
— Maimonides (1135-1204 CE), Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Shabbat 30:7-8, 12
Siddur Lev Shalem, Rabbinical Assembly 2016, p.33
wherever lamps are burning,
tables set, and seating arranged on Sabbath Eve,
nurture those gatherings;
inspire all who experience this sanctuary in time
to renewed effort toward safety, nourishment, and comfort for all.
Hear this, too, Holy One —
wherever light is lacking,
food sparse, and conditions rough this week,
accept no prayer — angel or human — on our behalf for a continuation of suffering.
Let no appearance of indifference, helplessness, or political confusion
be understood as a plea in our name for the perpetuation of evil.
Holy One, we welcome the Sabbath
in gratitude for its peace and blessing
and we dedicate ourselves, and beg Your help,
to extend that peace and blessing to those most in need.
Help us, as we work to end the horrors perpetuated in our name.
May this week’s lamps and tables and seating persist and multiply.
And we all say: Amen
— Virginia Spatz (http://songeveryday.org), in support of Lights for Liberty
Prayer must not be dissonant with the rest of living. The mercifulness, gentleness, which pervades us in moments of prayer is but a ruse or a bluff if it is inconsistent with the way we live at other moments…
We do now know what to pray for. Should we not pray for the ability to be shocked at the atrocities committed by man, for the capacity to be dismayed at our inability to be dismayed?
Prayer should be an act of catharsis, of purgation of emotions, as well as a process of self-clarification, of examining priorities, of elucidating responsibility. Prayer not verified by conduct is an act of desecration and blasphemy. Do not take a word of prayer in vain. Our deeds must not be a refutation of our prayers…
Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods.
— Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-72). “No Man Is An Island”
Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays. NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1996. p.261-262.
Strengthen us, please, for this night
Help us, guide us, to unite
Too many crying far too long
Cleanse us of hatred, angers, wrong
Amplify what’s good in our song
With mighty hand all bonds untie
Release all captives, hear our cry
— Virginia Spatz, inspired by, but no attempt at translating, 42-word mystical prayer, Ana, B’khoach