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Dear God, Protector of Children,
Guardian of All:
We haven’t the words.
We are worse than witnesses.
We are complicit in the abuse of children.
We sin this very moment.
The horror of children torn from parents
sends shockwaves through our very souls,
so we turn away,
remembering when children were taken to “baths,”
never to see their parents again.
So, Holy One,
what could we possibly show You to be worthy of the comfort we seek?
There is little we can show You today.
We show up with tears and signs,
protest songs and prayers.
While our children sleep in cages.
the pain and sadness You must be feeling,
as Your image is locked up and abused,
as Your children are torn from their children,
as cruelty inhabits the seat of American power.
What rage You must feel at our wanton sinning.
Our country is actively sinning,
quickly distracted by callous clothing
and damned by a short attention span.
It would be easy, God,
to blame one person in one office for this evil.
But we know better.
We’ve witnessed entire societies stand idly
by the misuse of legal systems to oppress others.
We’ve seen refugees damned to death by quotas and rules.
It would be easy, God,
to give up.
Scattershot hatred is in the air.
Where to turn. How to help.
And, O God,
we know there is little chance these poor children,
newly huddled tender masses,
will be reunited with their parents,
little chance these terrorized parents will hold their children again.
God, what would You have us do now?
Perhaps there is hope.
If we would but cry Your Tears,
burn with Your Rage,
act with Your Tender Mercy,
and vote with an eye toward Eternity.
Please God, protect us from numbness.
Keep our children’s pain present in our hearts.
Encode our next deeds with Your Love.
There will come a better day. If.
This plea to God that we avoid the desensitization that follows the callous cruelty of government policies declared in our name, for our safety, was first published to Rabbi Menachem Creditor’s website and Facebook page, and then shared with the Open Siddur Project via its Facebook discussion group.
“Newly Huddled Tender Masses: A Prayer for Children, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor (2018)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Lawrence Sernovitz on 4 June 2019
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Mark Schiftan on 20 June 2018
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Hannah Spiro on 24 September 2018
תְּפִלָּה לְמַעַן אַרְצוֹת הַבְּרִית בְּעֵת נִסָּיוֹן | A Prayer for the United States at a Time of Trial, by Rabbi Joe Schwartz (2019)
תְּפִלָּה בְּעַד מֶמְשֶׁלֶת שָׁלוֹם | Prayer for a Government of Peace, by Zackary Sholem Berger (2019)
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner on 24 October 2017