אָנָּא בְּכֹחַ | Ana b’Khoaḥ, with Spanish translation by Rabbi Isaac ben Shem Tov Cavallero (1552)

An early printing of the 42 divine name letter acrostic piyyut, Ana b’Khoaḥ. . . .

מי שברך לעגונות | Mi sheBerakh to Support Agunot and Call Get Refusers to Account, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

This prayer, following the structure of the Mi Sheberakh supplications during the Torah service, is meant to call get refusers to account, by name, and make a statement that their behavior is evil and will not be tolerated. . . .

היום | TODAY: A Rosh haShanah Prayer to End Gun Violence, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

A prayer in English to end gun violence before Rosh haShanah, . . .

תפילה לעגונות | Prayer for the Liberation of Agunot, by Shelley Frier List (2005)

Creator of heaven and earth, may it be Your will to free the captive wives of Israel when love and sanctity have fled the home, but their husbands bind them in the tatters of their ketubot. Remove the bitter burden from these agunot and soften the hearts of their misguided captors. Liberate Your faithful daughters from their anguish. Enable them to establish new homes and raise up children in peace. Grant wisdom to the judges of Israel; teach them to recognize oppression and rule against it. Infuse our rabbis with the courage to use their power for good alone. Blessed are you, Creator of heaven and earth, who frees the captives. . . .

קדיש יתום בזמן מלחמה | Mourner’s Ḳaddish in Times of War and Violence, by Arthur Waskow

Jews use the Kaddish to mourn the dead, though it has in it only one word — “nechamata,” consolations – which hints at mourning. And this word itself is used in a puzzling way, once we look at it with care. As we will see below, it may be especially appropriate in time of war. The interpretive English translation below may also be appropriate for prayers of mourning and hope in wartime by other spiritual and religious communities. In this version, changes in the traditional last line of the Hebrew text specifically include not only peace for the people Israel (as in the traditional version) but also for the children of Abraham and Hagar through Ishmael (Arabs and Muslims) and for all the life-forms who dwell upon this planet. . . .

אחרי הסערה | A Prayer for Central Oklahoma After the Tornado, by Rabbi Abby Jacobson (2013)

Merciful God, a great and powerful windstorm has passed, and it has torn apart the buildings and shattered the rocks before You. You told Elijah, the prophet, that You were not in the windstorm. Please, then, be in the still, small voices of the children crying out to be found. Be in the voices of the rescuers calling out for survivors. Be in the cries of those who are lost and of those who have lost. . . .

תפילה לבאסטאן | Prayer for Boston after the bombing, by Rabbi Stephen Belsky (2013)

May the One who spoke the world into being, and who blessed humanity created in God’s image, and who brought about the miracle of these United States to promote freedom and peace among all people — bless, guard, and protect all the inhabitants of the Boston area, and strengthen and encourage their leaders, representatives, police officers, and detectives; bring them out from the shadow of death to light, and from danger to relief; and may the verse be fulfilled for them which says, ‘God is good to all, and shows mercy to all God’s creatures.’ And let us say: amein. . . .

תפילה לבאסטאן | Prayer After the Bombing in Boston, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (2013)

I wrote this a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing. It arose out of a meditation service which I led at my synagogue. The doors to our sanctuary were open, so we had the sounds of the nearby wetland in our ears, and I invited the meditators to join me in cultivating compassion and sending it toward Boston. The line “My heart is in the east and I am in the west” is adapted from the medieval Spanish poet Judah haLevi. . . .

עַל הַנִּסִּים בִּימֵי הוֹדָיָה לְאֻמִּיִּים | Al Hanissim prayer for thanksgiving on all Secular/National Days of Gratitude, by Aharon Varady

Opportunities to express gratitude on secular, nationalist days of thanksgiving demand acknowledgement of an almost unfathomably deep history of trauma — not only the suffering and striving of my immigrant ancestors, but the sacrifice of all those who endured suffering dealt by their struggle to survive, and often failure to survive, the oppressions dealt by colonization, conquest, hegemony, natural disaster. Only the Earth (from which we, earthlings were born, Bnei Adam from Adamah) has witnessed the constancy of the violent deprivations we inflict upon each other. The privilege I’ve inherited from these sacrifices has come at a cost, and it must be honestly acknowledged, especially on secular/national days of thanksgiving, independence, and freedom. I insert this prayer after Al Hanissim in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon on national days of independence and thanksgiving. . . .

קינה | Kinah/lamentation, by Aryeh Cohen (2004)

The yahrzeit of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin, assassinated on 4 November 1995, is י״א בְּמַרחֶשְׁוָן (11 Marḥeshvan). . . .

כעבור סופה | After the Storm: A Prayer to Choose Life by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The prayers for hurricane victims that are circulating through the Open Siddur Project and elsewhere are poignant and heartfelt, but they don’t speak an important piece of the truth that we need to hear. What about our collective responsibility for climate disruption that undoubtedly increases the harm caused by this and every major storm? And what about the Deuteronomic promise that God brings us recompense for our actions davka through the weather? Here’s an attempt at a prayer that incorporates a deeper understanding of our responsibility. For the final version of this prayer, I started with an anonymous Hebrew translation of my original English prayer, then I tweaked it and wove in scriptural references, and retranslated it back into English. . . .

והיה אם שמע | v’haya im shemo’a: a Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

A midrashic translation/ interpretation of the second paragraph of the Sh’ma. . . .

אחרי הסערה | A Prayer in the Aftermath of a Devastating Storm, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Fixated as we are by incalculable losses in our families, our neighbors, human beings spanning national borders, we are pummeled into shock, barely even able to call out to You. We are, as ever, called to share bread with the hungry, to take those who suffer into our homes, to clothe the naked, to not ignore our sisters and brothers. Many more of our brothers and sisters are hungry, homeless, cold, and vulnerable today than were just a few days ago, and we need Your Help. . . .

אחרי הסערה | Prayer in the Aftermath of the Hurricane by Rabbi Samuel Barth

Your Power, God, Creator of the world, is manifest in the winds of the hurricane and the destruction they have caused. We turn to You to pray for the wisdom and strength of those responsible for preparation and rescue, for administration and co-ordination, the first and last responders. . . .

על חטא | For the Sin of Torture: A Communal Confession by Rabbi Ed Feld

For the sin which we have committed before You through diminishing the image of God. . . .

A Jewish Prayer for Nakba Day (يوم النكبة), by Rabbi Brant Rosen

A Jewish Prayer for Nakba Day, by Rabbi Brant Rosen. . . .

Scaling the Walls of the Labyrinth: Psalms 67 and Ana b’Khoaḥ

Psalm 67 is a priestly blessing for all the peoples of the earth to be sustained by the earth’s harvest (yevulah), and it is a petition that all humanity recognize the divine nature (Elohim) illuminating the world. Composed of seven verses, the psalm is often visually depicted as a seven branched menorah. There are 49 words in the entire psalm, and in the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l there is one word for each day of the Sefirat haOmer. Similarly, the fifth verse has 49 letters and each letter can be used as a focal point for meditating on the meaning of the day in its week in the journey to Shavuot, the festival of weeks (the culmination of the barley harvest), and the festival of oaths (shevuot) in celebration of receiving the Torah. Many of the themes of Psalm 67 are repeated in the prayer Ana b’Koaḥ, which also has 49 words, and which are also used to focus on the meaning of each day on the cyclical and labyrinthine journey towards Shavuot. . . .

תפילה לילדי עזה | A Prayer for Gaza’s Children, by Bradley Burston (2008)

Lord who is the creator of all children, hear our prayer this accursed day. God whom we call Blessed, turn your face to these, the children of Gaza, that they may know your blessings, and your shelter, that they may know light and warmth, where there is now only blackness and smoke, and a cold which cuts and clenches the skin. . . .

על חטא | For the Sin of Destroying God’s Creation by Rabbi Danny Nevins, adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (2007)

Eternal God, You created earth and heavens with mercy, and blew the breath of life into animals and human beings. We were created amidst a world of wholeness, a world called “very good,” pure and beautiful, but now your many works are being erased by us from the book of life. . . .

A Love Song to Arabs from a Jew, by Pesach Dahvid Stadlin (2011)

A song in English with Arabic translation, addressed from a Jew living in Jerusalem to his Arab neighbors, locally and regionally during the Arab Spring. . . .

תפילה ל-11 בספטמבר | Memorial Prayer for those whose lives were lost on 11 September 2001, by Rabbi Gilah Langner

Avinu she-ba-shamayim, our Parent in heaven, v’Ruaḥ kol basar, the Spirit of all that lives, We turn toward You as we recall today with sorrow and honor those who lost their lives ten years ago, and those who gave their lives -– as passengers, firemen, and rescuers –- so that others might live. Grant their souls continuing rest in the shelter of eternity. And grant to us peace and fortitude in the years ahead, that we may restore a sense of trust and security to this great land, that we may be guided not by fear or terror, but by strength and understanding, holding fast to our ideals and upholding our highest values. Guard our comings and our goings in peace, now and always, Amen. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Mi sheBerakh for Victims of Slavery, by Rabbi Joshua Boettiger (2009)

We are grateful to Rabbi Joshua Boettinger and Rabbis for Human Rights–North America (RHR-NA) for sharing the following petitionary prayer, A Misheberakh for Victims of Slavery. Originally published by RHR-NA on their website in 2009, the prayer attends to the desperate need to eradicate all forms of slavery that persist today, especially in advance of the holiday celebrating our Z’man Cheruteinu, the season of our freedom, every Spring, every Pesaḥ. . . .

אחרי הצונמי | Prayer in the Wake of the Tsunami by Rabbi Shai Held (2004)

A prayer composed by Rabbi Shai Held in the aftermath of the devastating 2004 Asian Tsunami. . . .

תְּפִלָּה לָעֵצִים עַל ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Prayer for the Trees of Erets Yisrael on Tu Bishvat, by Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel (2011)

In the wake of the continued uprooting of fruit trees and human settlements in the Land of Israel, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights shared the following petitionary prayer. . . .

אַ פּאָלףּ קדיש | A Ḳaddish by Reb Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, 1994)

Tired of people who can’t tell their kiddish (blessings for the Sabbath) from their kaddish (prayer for the dead)? Well, it sets Samuel L. Jackson off too! But he found a way of making a bracha (blessing) and mourning the dead at the same time. Now I can’t vouch for the origins of his nusaḥ (custom) but it sounds very effective! Most people haven’t noticed, the only real part from the Bible is that last section, the first part is actually his own spiel: . . .

תפילה למען תושבי/ות אל-עראקיב | A Thanksgiving Day Prayer for the Residents of Al-Araqeeb (قرية العراقيب), by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

How is it that El-Arakib sits alone and desolate, like a widow a seventh time? “The Daughter of Zion has lost her glory.” (Lamentations 1:6) For, while we had dreamed that our state would “Ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender,” (Israeli Declaration of Independence) our prayers have not yet been fulfilled. . . .


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