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Kenosha's Rabbi Offers Prayer For Her City

Rabbi Dena Feingold offering a prayer at an Interfaith Prayer Service organized by Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) in Kenosha, Wisconsin

On September 1, Rabbi Dena Feingold, of Congregation Beth Hillel in Kenosha, WI, offered a prayer at an Interfaith Prayer service along with about twenty other local religious leaders organized by Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) on the day of the visit of President Trump. The faith community has been active in offering spiritual and community organizing to respond to the violence and destruction that has affected the Kenosha Community. The following is Rabbi Feingold’s prayer, published with permission.  

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains. From where will my help come?”  Who among us has not asked this question from Psalm 121 during the past nine of tragedy and horror in our community?   

Eternal One, Well of Justice, Balm of Divine Healing:  As we gather this afternoon, we implore You with all our hearts to be with us as we attempt to recover and move forward from the shocking and troubling events of the past week.  

Blessed One: Be with Jacob Blake and his family and with the families of those gunned down in the street just blocks from where we stand now:  Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum.  Be with all those who are injured physically and emotionally from the trauma of these past days. 

Eternal Source of Tranquility:  Today, as President Trump visits our city, we pray that his presence will not fan the embers of an already charged atmosphere, enflaming further violence, destruction, and bloodshed.  Spread over this city and all of its inhabitants Your shelter of peace and tranquility.   

God of Courage:  We stand just feet away from businesses that were burned and broken, and some of our own houses of worship were desecrated in nights of the rampage.  We decry the loss of property, livelihood, and homes.  But we ask You to give us the strength we need to constantly hold up to those focused solely on repair and rebuilding that our city will not be reborn without a deep commitment to tearing down the rotted-out structures of racial injustice and reconstructing a community with fairness and equality at its core. 

In these weeks preceding the Jewish New Year, we Jews take stock of our lives to prepare for the task of repentance that the High Holy day season requires.   This season of Kenosha’s unrest demands that our city and our nation, indeed all of us, engage in soul-searching and self-reckoning.   

Eternal Beacon of Clarity and Compassion:  We ask you to help us see our moral failings, found in the blindness and self-centeredness that keep us from confronting the truth that we live in a society built on systemic racism. In doing so, may we repent and find Your mercy as we seek forgiveness. We pray that You might help us discern a path forward from the darkness into which we have been plunged.  

May our efforts and our actions allow us to say with confidence as does the Psalmist: “My help comes from the Eternal One, Maker of heaven and earth.”    

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.