A prayer for the people of the land

by Rabbi Judy Schindler and Rabbi Micah Streiffer

As Jews, today we celebrate the anniversary of the secular date on which Israel’s Independence was declared, May 14, 1948.

On this day, seven decades ago, a modern day miracle was born. On this day, our people danced in the streets and cried tears of joy. “At last, we have come home: a people free in its land.”

On this day, once again, we rejoice in the success of the Jewish state. Her culture and technology; her wisdom and learning; the entrepreneurial spirit that inspires her to continue to build and grow.

And yet, we lament that our people’s joy has come at the expense of another people’s suffering. What Jews witnessed as a nes, a miracle, Palestinians called nakba, a catastrophe.

The Midrash records that when the Israelites were freed from Egyptian slavery, as the advancing army drowned in the sea, the angels rejoiced. God called out to them, “How can you sing for joy when My creatures are suffering?”

Today, once again, we look upon our homeland with mixed emotions.

Joy commingled with sadness
Hope commingled with fear
Excitement commingled with trepidation.

An embassy moves. A country celebrates its milestone.
A people protests. Borders are threatened. Casualties mount.

Healing is longed for.

Mi shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu

     May the one who blessed our ancestors


               Hajar and Sara

                    Yitzhak and Isma’il

Hu y’varech et kol toshvei eretz kodsheinu

     Please bless all the people who share our holy land

          From Dan to Beer Sheva

               From Ramla to Ramallah

                    From Al-Quds to Hevron

                         From Yerushalayim to Al-Khalil

May they live in freedom.

May they know security.

May they enjoy sovereignty.

May they taste peace.


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