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Opening Prayer for the Inaugural Boston City Council Meeting, by Rabbi Victor Reinstein (5 January 2009)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
In the wintry winds of a year’s beginning,
help us, dear God, Compassionate One,
to find warmth in the presence of each other.
In Your oneness we are one, though we often forget that we are.
Open our eyes to see Your image in the face of every woman, man, and child.
Remind us at every turn of season and of year
that all are equal in Your eyes
and so let them be in our eyes,
each one beloved,
no one to You a stranger or illegal.
As Your image is the source of all the colors of the human rainbow,
and of every way of speaking Your name
and striving toward Your light,
and of every way of loving and of being,
so let us not put barriers among us
as shattered trees fallen across the road.
Harsher still than the winds that chill our bodies,
are the winds that freeze our souls,
the icy daggers of greed and indifference
that turn us from each other.
Help us not to lose our way in the blinding storms that come,
when vision is lost and the heart cannot see
those along the way who have no place to go.
Heating vents upon the sidewalk and stations underground
are not places to call home.
Do not let dreams be foreclosed upon
and homes snatched away,
giving us to know that none should profit
on the misery of others and their misfortune.
It is not a spirit of charity You seek to instill,
but the pursuit of justice that will give each one their rightful due.
Disabuse us of the notion
that coins dropped into a cup
are enough to say we’ve done our part.
Raise our voices to say enough of war,
its waste of life and wealth the abyss
that drains our cities of possibility
[a] backdrop for the violence that engulfs this land
and tears our young apart,
offering them no hope of spring and of blossoms yet to come.
In the uncertainty of beginnings
let us see the light of hope that twinkles among the stars in a crisp clear sky,
and help us to know for a certainty
that only if we walk and talk together,
even in the darkest of times,
shall the light grow brighter through the night.
As we go hand in hand into the year ahead,
renew our faith in the possibility of realizing the vision You have given us
of a caring and just society in a world at peace.
(If reference is made to fighting in Middle East, add here:
Help us to know the other’s pain
and cause each to recoil at violence done by those who share our name.
May we build bridges here in Boston,
between Jews and Muslims among all others,
not to be dissuaded or divided,
to span the chasm now exploding,
to pray together for Gaza and Israel.
Give us the courage to be peacemakers in Your name,
which is Salaam/Shalom.)
Gathered by the hearth in the home that is our city,
in the neighborhood that is our world,
let us sing of what might be,
and to each other say,
be strong,
be strong,
and let us strengthen one another.




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