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

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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.