As I move into 2013, I ponder the clean slate of the secular new year while attempting to reckon some of the tragedies of 2012. I especially think of Newtown, Connecticut. I know there are others like myself sending prayers to the families of all those involved. Maybe it prompted you to send donations, to take a new stand on gun control, or become an activist. There are many issues to consider in addition to guns–school safety, mental illness, and community, for instance.
Are you, also, like me, trying to manage your daily life, the jobs, studies, housework, staying connected to others, prioritizing, as you integrate the lessons, whatever they are for you, as we begin to move into 2013, from the darkest of the year to increasing light. I tend to write for my healing process and I offer this prayer to you. As I reflect and integrate Newtown with my present, for the future, I called out to Gd in my attempt to understand the tragedy, reflecting on the horror, the questions, the unknowns, ultimately asking for healing. May it offer some solace to you. If it touches your heart, then without planning, the prayer has gone beyond my initial intentions of helping myself.
Please give us strength in this time after such a horrible tragedy when our own innocence was further eroded while the twenty children, their six teachers and administrators died for what we do not know, for what we cannot fathom.
Please give us courage to know You were there and please give us a heart of compassion, to offer an appropriate prayer for the families of the victims and heroes and their friends in Newtown, Connecticut, and for the father and brother of the killer and his family, and beyond.
How do we also make a place in our hearts for the troubled young man who killed for what reason we do not know, his mother, those at the school, and then himself? How? Why? This is very hard. Please give us understanding, for we do not.
Dear Creator, Power of the Universe we call out to you, we weep, and we pray for Your guidance, to lead us to serving You best, to learn what we can from this tragedy, from mental illness, and guns. Teach us, guide us in the ways we can help avoid this repeated horror in our future if it is our role to do so. Tell us what you want us to teach Your, our, children. I know we are not meant to understand, that we cannot see the greater picture of the whole you and we and we are creating together. Please let us see more of the answer. Please humble us, we ask for answers.
In Peace, in healing, we cry out to you asking for Your prayers and tears in return, as we pray to You, longing for Your help, longing to know You really are there.
And, please, an Amen.
Yonina Andrea Foster, Ph.D. is anALEPH Rabbinic Student and Founder, Zra’eem (Seeds), a Jewish Renewal Havurah in Germantown, Maryland. SHe can be contacted at www.yoninatorahseed.com