This morning I participated, along with other Tzedek members, in the interfaith vigil at the Broadview immigrant staging center - a sacred gathering that has been taking place for 13 years, thanks to a deeply committed interfaith community and the courageous leadership of the Sisters of Mercy. While I have attended the vigil off and on over the years, I am in awe of those who have taught me the true meaning of faithfulness - not a belief or a state of mind, but a readiness to show up, over and over again, for a deeply sacred cause.
It was my honor this morning to read a prayer I composed for the vigil in 2008 - and have repeated many times since. I encourage you to offer it alongside your Shabbat prayers this weekend.
May the day soon come in which we will no longer need to recite prayers such as these.
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Prayer for a Vigil at a Detention Center
Ruach Kol Chai – Spirit of All that Lives:
Help us. Help us to uphold the values that are so central to who we are: human beings created in the image of God. Help us to find compassion in our hearts and justice in our deeds for all who seek freedom and a better life. May we find the strength to protect and plead the cause of the stranger among us, to ensure just treatment for all who dwell in our land.
Guide us. Guide us toward one law. One justice. One human standard of behavior toward all. Move us away from the equivocation that honors the divine image in some but not in others. Let us forever affirm that the justice we purport to hold dear is nothing but a sham if it does not uphold basic human dignity for all who dwell in our midst.
Forgive us. Forgive us for the inhumane manner that in which we too often treat the other. We know, or should, that when it comes to crimes against humanity, some of us may be guilty, but all of us are responsible. Grant us atonement for the misdeeds of exclusion we invariably commit against the most vulnerable members of society: the unwanted, the unhoused, the uninsured, the undocumented.
Strengthen us. Strengthen us to find the wherewithal to shine your light into the dark places of our world. Give us ability to uncover those who are hidden from view, locked away, forgotten. Let us never forget that nothing is hidden and no one lost from before you. Embolden us in the knowledge that no one human soul is disposable or replaceable; that we can never, try as we might, lock away the humanity of another.
Remind us. Remind us of our duty to create a just society right here, right now, in our day. Give us the vision of purpose to guard against the complacency of the comfortable – and the resolve in knowing that we cannot put off the cause of justice and freedom for another day. Remind us that the time is now. Now is the moment to create your kingdom here on earth.
Ken Yehi Ratzon. May it be your will. And may it be ours.
And let us say,