The carnage and bloodshed in Syria continue without end. Men, women and children are being slaughtered, and it is difficult to remain indifferent to the horrendous sights. We must raise our voice in protest, send letters to our representatives, reach out and support organizations which are on the ground helping the victims. Click here for a list of ways to help.
I invite you to join Masorti (Conservative) congregations across Israel and recite the following prayer. Perhaps you would like to include this prayer as part of the ceremony you share with family and friends when you light the Hanukkah menorah? I am not sure what setting will be most meaningful for you, but I think the prayer itself will be meaningful to you. May the day come when Israel's neighbors will be able to experience peaceful times once more.
Prayer for the Well-being of the Citizens of Syria and Aleppo (Halab/Aram Tsuba)
Our God in Heaven,
Creator of all flesh and maker of wonders,
Keep not Thou silence; hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God.
For a fire has been kindled in the wall of Damascus,
Brother has risen upon brother in the cities of Syria
And men, women and children are falling by the sword.
All its people sigh, they seek bread; for there is not a house without one dead. Our eyes constantly behold the sights yet despair, and in the words of Thy prophet: "Behold, Damascus is removed from being a city, and shall become a ruinous heap."
And Thou, who commanded us with your holy words, saying "Thou shall not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor: I am the Lord", say now to the destroyer "Cease!"
We implore you, the God of the Spirits of all Flesh, employ your mighty power to halt the bloodshed and atrocities among our neighbors, and bestow peace in the land of Aram Tsuba (Aleppo) and everlasting joy to all of its inhabitants.
And the words as they were written shall be fulfilled:
"The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and in Damascus shall be His resting-place; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace unto the nations," "And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
And let us say: Amen.
Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz, PhD