A prayer for the Greater Iowa City Church of the Nazarene, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

Holy One,
we stand together in pain,
and in our pain we stand closer together.
For warmth.
For comfort.

When we stand together,
we remember the truth of scripture:
when more human beings,
each an indelible Divine Image,
stand together,
it is a greater reflection of You, O God.

This is not a singular act of hatred,
nor is it limited to this sacred home.
By targeting a church with both antisemitic images and racist language,
these vandals accidentally pointed to a truth we know too well:
hatred against one is hatred against all.

We know what it is to be strangers.
Tradition reminds us
over and over and over again:
be kind and just to the stranger,
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

This message,
engraved in our very souls points the way forward,
out from the constricting confines of every Egypt we face.

We will know each other
and be strangers no more.
We will remember each other’s worth,
learn each other’s stories,
and testify that God’s children are capable of a love
that is stronger than the darkness.

On this day, the anniversary of Anne Frank’s passing,
we promise to remember her blessing to us all:
“We all live with the objective of being happy;
our lives are all different and yet the same.”[1]Cf. Anne Frank’s Diary 6 July 1944: “Wij leven allen, maar weten niet waarom en waarvoor, wij leven allen met het doel gelukkig te worden, we leven allen verschillend en toch gelijk.” (We’re all alive, but we don’t know why or what for; we’re all searching for happiness; we’re all leading lives that are different and yet the same.)

We are different and yet the same,
both aspects human reflections
of Your Infinite Presence.

Beloved friends,
we have work to do.
We do so gladly,
resolutely,
hand in hand.

May our friendships deepen,
and may God bless our fragile world
with peace.

Amen.

“A Prayer for Church of the Nazarene, Iowa City” was written by Rabbi Menachem Creditor in response to vandalsim of the church with hateful graffiti on March 2nd 2019. According to the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids Little Village Mag, “The building also houses IC Compassion, a faith-based nonprofit that provides services to immigrants.” The verse cited in the graffiti appears to be Proverbs 2:16 set next to a swastika. Clearly, the vandals had not read Proverbs 2:1-15 (emphasis on Proverbs 2:15). –Aharon Varady

The prayer was shared with the Open Siddur Project through its Facebook discussion group.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Cf. Anne Frank’s Diary 6 July 1944: “Wij leven allen, maar weten niet waarom en waarvoor, wij leven allen met het doel gelukkig te worden, we leven allen verschillend en toch gelijk.” (We’re all alive, but we don’t know why or what for; we’re all searching for happiness; we’re all leading lives that are different and yet the same.)

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