10 Ways to Save the Lives of Abraham’s Children-Mourners’ Kaddish in Time of War
A prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life
Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all the children of Abraham. Now they are dying at each others’ hands – in Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine as well as Iraq. Last week a rabbi wrote me asking for ten suggestions on how to protect lives in the present Middle East explosion. I wrote this list – which can be used by individuals or by religious congregations of any tradition.
Just beneath it you will also find a Mourners Prayer – Kaddish – for Use in Time of War. It is rooted in a Jewish prayer, but the English interpretive version could be used by anyone.
Please pass these on to anyone who might want to use them. Early tomorrow (Wednesday, July 26) morning I will be arraigned in NYC with 25 others on charges of refusing to disperse, for our protest opposing the use of torture as US policy and demanding the closure of Guantanamo. I’ll let you know how it goes.
With blessings of shalom,
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The Shalom Center
10 WAYS TO SAVE THE LIVES OF ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN
1. Ask your US Senator to urge an immediate cease-fire and the creation of a strong UN force guarding against attacks in either direction across the Lebanese-Israeli boundary. For convenient letter-writing, go to – http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/tsc/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=4668
2. Send money to support Physicians for Human Rights in Israel in their work to take medical supplies to Palestinian hospitals in crisis. You can click to – http://www/shalomctr.org, then click on the blue “Donate Now” button and be sure to write “Hospitals” in the “On behalf of” box.
3. Send money to two trustworthy Lebanese relief organizations struggling to deal with the disaster:
Bank name: Audi Bank, Bab Idriss
Account number: 841500
(the money will be wired from the US to Lebanon;
the foundation honors the Lebanese statesman who opposed Syrian domination and was assassinated.)
Bank Name: Citibank
8001 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
Account #: 240 70249
4. Donate to Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, to heal those wounded in attacks on Israeli cities. Go to – http://www.magendavidadom.org/
5. Start receiving information from at least one of the American Jewish organizations dedicated to seeking peace through achieving a secure Israel, a viable Palestine, and an independent Lebanon. This list represents a wide spectrum of approaches within that understanding. Even if one disagrees with some aspects of their policy positions (and The Shalom Center often does), they carry valuable information.
6. Read two quite different Israeli news sources:
7. Subscribe (free) to the on-line news service of Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), a Jerusalem-based source for a wide variety of news, analysis, and ideas. IPCRI is rooted in concern for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Go to – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IPCRI-News-Service/ and click on “sign up.”
8. Donate to support independent Israeli grass-roots organizations through the New Israel Fund. http://www.nif.org/
9. Use the book The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Muslims, and Christians (Beacon Press, 2006) as a guidebook to bringing American Jews, Christians, and Muslims together for discussion and after deep connection, possible action for peace. You can buy the book at 10% discount and free shipping by clicking to – http://www.beacon.org/tentofabraham/
10. Begin planning now for the shared sacred seasons in the fall of 2006 that include the Jewish sacred month of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot); the Muslim sacred month of Ramadan; the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, and Worldwide Communion Sunday for Protestant and Orthodox Christians – bring the three Abrahamic communities together in prayer, learning, conversation, and if possible shared action. Look at – http://www.shalomctr.org/node/1117 and http://www.tentofabraham.org
11. (Like a baker’s dozen:) Pray for peace, making explicit that you mean not only peace in general but also specifically peace among the families of Abraham. For example: In the Jewish prayer of the kaddish, the last sentence traditionally asks for peace “among us and all the people of Israel.” Some communities have been adding also “for all the children of Ishmael and all those who love upon this planet,” thus – Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom alenu – v’al kol Yisrael, V’al kol Yishmael, V’al kol yoshvei tevel – v’imru Ameyn!
MOURNERS’ KADDISH IN TIME OF WAR
This kaddish includes changes in the last line of the Hebrew text. The interpretive English addresses the meaning of “shmei rabbah,” the “Great Name,” which is interpreted as that name which includes all the names of all beings in the universe; it addresses why in the midst of saying we cannot praise, celebrate, or sing to God enough to meet the Reality, we also say we cannot CONSOLE (nechamot) God enough; it focuses the next-to-last paragraph of the Sh’ma on the loss of Jewish life, in our own family; and in the last verse prays for shalom for us and for the children of Ishmael and for all peoples. – AW
Yitgadal V’yit’kadash Shmei Rabah May the Great Name,
through our expanding awareness and our fuller action,
lift Itself to become still higher and more holy;May our names,
along with all the names of all the beings in the universe,
live within the Great Name;May the names of all whom we can no longer touch but who have touched our hearts and lives,
remain alight within our memories and in the Great Name;May the names of all who have died in violence and war
be kept alight in our sight and in the Great Name,
with sorrow that we were not yet able
to shape a world in which they would have lived.Congregation: AmeinB’alma di vra chi’rooteh v’yamlich malchuteh b’chayeichun,
u’v’yomeichun, u’v’chayei d’chol beit yisrael, b’agalah u’vzman kariv, v’imru: –
May Your Great Name lift Itself
still higher and more holy
throughout the world that You have offered us,
a world of majestic peaceful order
that gives life to the Godwrestling folk
through time and through eternity –
And let’s say, Amein.
Y’hei sh’mei rabbah me’vorach
l’olam almei almaya.
So therefore may the Great Name be blessed,
through every Mystery and Mastery
of every universe.
Yitbarach, v’yishtabach, v’yitpa’ar, v’yitromam, v’yitnasei,
v’yithadar, v’yit’aleh, v’yithalal – Shmei di’kudshah, – Brich hu,
Congregation: Brich Hu
May the Great Name be blessed and celebrated,
Its beauty honored and raised high;
may It be lifted and carried,
may Its radiance be praised in all Its Holiness – Blessed be!
L’eylah min kol bir’chatah v’shir’atah tush’be’chatah v’nechematah,
de’amiran be’alma, v’imru: Amein
Even though we cannot give You
enough blessing, enough song, enough praise, enough consolation
to match what we wish to lay before You –
and though we know that today there is
no way to console You
when among us some who bear Your Image in our being
are slaughtering others
who bear Your Image in our being.
Yehei Shlama Rabah min Shemaya v’chayyim aleinu v’al kol Yisrael,
Still we beseech that from the unity of Your Great Name
flow a great and joyful harmony and life for us and for all our family,
the Godwrestling folk;
Oseh Shalom bi’m’romav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol yisrael
v’al kol yishmael v’al kol yoshvei tevel – v’imru: Amein.
You who make harmony
in the ultimate reaches of the universe,
teach us to make harmony
within ourselves, among ourselves –
and peace for the Godwrestling folk,
the people Israel;
for our cousins the children of Ishmael;
and for all who dwell upon this planet.