Mi Sheberach: A Healing Prayer for Us All

Rabbi Lawson performing with a guitar

Rabbi Sandra Lawson received ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2018. She holds a Master’s degree in Sociology with a focus on environmental justice and race, is an Army veteran, and an Interfaith America Racial Equity Fellow.  

 

“Every one of us is a cantor; everyone of us is called to intone a song, to put into prayer the anguish of all.” - Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

When my journey to becoming a rabbi began, I found musical inspiration in Jewish prayer, which started me on a musical journey of singing, writing, and playing music. Songwriting allows me to express my joy, grief, and sadness of the world around me. 

Today I find myself in a pretty unique position. I'm a rabbi, a Jewish faith leader, a sought-after public speaker, and in subtle and often not so subtle ways, people still treat me like an outsider in the Jewish community. No matter what I do, I am often not seen as Jewish or seen as less than Jewish, or our community is not ready for a Black rabbi. These are constant reminders that I live in a society that sees my blackness before seeing me or getting to know me.

For almost four years now, the leader of our country is a man who expresses racist, xenophobic and misogynistic views making people who look like me fearful. And he has led a racist environment that harkens back to the good ole days with the phrase Make America Great Again. This phrase can only mean a time in America when white people felt they were the dominant culture and group in our society. Black people were either enslaved, suffered under Jim Crow in the south, and redlining throughout the rest of the country.

When CNN announced the winner of the 2020 presidential election, I cried. I cried, and I felt like I had been holding my breath for days waiting for the results; today, I am hopeful our country is moving in the right direction

In Judaism, we offer a Mi Sheberach prayer for those who are ill or recovering from a sickness. I offer this song as a prayer for healing for all of us. Our country is sick. We are sick from an actual pandemic, and we are sick from a society that values some more than others. And we need healing from COVID-19, and America is waking up to the idea that we are also sick from racism, sexism, antisemitism, homophobia, and xenophobia.  Now that we know we are sick we can begin to heal and after almost four years I Am Hopeful Again.

 

 

Transcript

Even though I don’t spend every waking hour thinking about my identities, I am well aware that I live in a world that sees my blackness before they see me or get to know me, and my Jewishness often represents a threat.


Mi Sheberach Avoteinu Avraham, Yitzkhak v’Ya’akov

Mi Sheberach Imoteinu Sara, Rivka, Rachel v’Leah,

Hu y’varekh v’yirapeh et kol ha-holim,

Hu y’varekh v’yirapeh et hakol.

Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu yimalei rachamim aleihem,

 

May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

May the one who Blessed our ancestors Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah,

bless and heal those who are ill. May the Blessed Holy One be filled with compassion for them


 

MIsheberach Avoteinu

Misheberach I’moteinu

Please bless those in need of healing

HaKadosh Baruch Hu

  

May the one who Blessed our Mothers

And who Blessed our Fathers

We need you to hear our cry

HaKadosh Baruch Hu

 

The God of Wholeness

The God of Wonder

Please teach me and give me strength

HaKadosh Baruch Hu

 

El Shaddai Adonai

I need you to heal the world

And make it right

 

I want to live in a world full of song and hope

Where my children can play  and not have to cope

Please bless us and give us healing

HaKadosh

HaKadosh

HaKadosh Baruch Hu

 

 

Special Thanks to:

Susan Hurrey, Elon University Truitt CenterUnsplashJohn Cameron  Glen Carrie Chris BoeseMarcus SpiskeBreanna Louis Melany RochesterMiko GuziukKatie MoumAussieActiveKyle Cleveland Nathan DumlaoMi Pham

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

"We know through surveys that people are more likely to like Muslims if they know one personally. But because only about 1% of Americans practice the Islamic faith, many people just don’t come into contact with any Muslims."
Purim tells the tale of Esther, an orphaned girl-turned-queen, how she married King Achashverosh, then saved the entire Jewish community in the ancient Persian city of Shushan, through her bravery and wit.
Higher education remains highly unequal and racial divides persist. How can these realities be explained in a context defined by wokeness?
There are so many forces that pull people apart from one another. Institutions and systems and ways of thinking that want us to feel separated, broken, helpless, and quick to capitalize on moments of weakness. The very thing that brings out...
Others noted Rihanna chose to display Ganesh on Feb. 15, the day Hindus celebrate as Ganesh's birthday, or Ganesh Jayanti. The god of beginnings, Ganesh is honored before starting a business or major project.
Until this year, most schools, states and national high school athletic associations had typically forbidden religious headwear, citing safety concerns, unless a student or coach had applied for a waiver. No waiver, no play.
Do a quick Google or YouTube search for tarot, and you’ll find the two main things people tend to inquire about are love and money. Underlying these inquiries is a belief that a tarot reading can tell the future, which begs the question of whether...
The results are based on responses from some 1,800 Black American adults, including more than 800 who attend a Black church. The California research firm conducted the survey in the spring of 2020.
Asian Americans are suffering under the weight of these mounting incidents. Many, including those in our own circles, have expressed concern about leaving their homes to perform everyday tasks.
"Black residents make up a little under half of Washington’s population, but constitute nearly three-fourths of the city's COVID-19 deaths."
Can interfaith leadership foster greater equity for the health of communities of color? Four leaders in healthcare discuss racial health disparities in our nation and how interfaith leadership can be implemented in order to solve them.
“It's an invitation to be subversive by focusing on ourselves."
Across the state, nearly every major health care system has partnered with Black and Hispanic houses of worship to expand vaccine access, setting up mobile clinics in their parking lots and fellowship halls.
Gandhi organized a nonviolent protest on behalf of the farmers. That was when the word satyagraha was used for the first time in the context of a political protest.
Pierce, who is in her 40s and identifies as a Pentecostal, talked with Religion News Service about what she learned from her grandmother, the kinds of hymns she doesn’t sing and her expectations about the future of the Black church.
"We have to develop new approaches to politics that can turn the temperature down on our political conflicts and start bringing people closer together. So much is at stake"
Our nation's very foundation is built on mendacity hermeneutics of scripture and intentional omission of women, indigenous populations, and enslaved Africans from the protection under any of its laws, whether created by Man or divinely inspired.
Ash Wednesday is a time when persons are invited to face their mortality; to remember the limited time we have on this earth and reflect on who we want to be, and the path we want to travel; and who or what we live for.
They're part of the estimated 2 million residents of New York City facing food insecurity, a number said to have nearly doubled amid the biggest surge in unemployment since the Great Depression.
Thes team will work with "leaders of different faiths and backgrounds who are the front lines of their communities in crisis and who can help us heal, unite and rebuild."
From the importance of anti-racism curriculum all the way to the injustice of bananas, Dolores Huerta captivated us with her insights on grassroots organizing.

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.