High Holy Days: Collective Sin, Collective Success

Within the liturgy of Yom Kippur, guilt is assumed to be collective, as we communally recite the sins. That being the case, then it is also appropriate – at this time of reflection and renewal – to acknowledge communally our triumphs and successes, as these efforts to sustain and strengthen Jewish identities and Jewish values too could not have been possible without the collective efforts of each and every one of us. Therefore, I offer the following prayer of supplication and thanksgiving for our collective success:

For the good we have done when fully aware,

And, for the good we have done even when unaware;

For the good we have done quite publically,

And, for the good we have done anonymously;

For the good we have done by using gentle comforting words,

And, for the good we have done using strong encouraging words;

For the good we have done by sticking to our principles,

And, for the good we have done through compromising them;

For the good we have done in random acts of kindness,

And, for the good we have done in not-so-random acts of kindness;

For the good we have done through passive non-violence,

And, for the good we have done through active confrontations of truth;

For the good we have done in the light of our successes,

And, for the good we have done even in our failures;

V’al kulam, Elohai ezra-ot, azor lanu, s’mach lanu, chazeik lanu,

For all these things, O’ God of our Help, aid us, support us, strengthen us.

In our work here at the ISJL, our partnerships with congregations throughout the South yield shared triumphs every single day. May this sacred cooperation continue, here in the South and throughout the Jewish world. For surely then we can say with great humility and appreciation to our Source of life and strength that while 5772 was remarkable, 5773 will be even better. L’shanah tovah, y’all!

What blessings are you giving thanks for during these 10 Days of Awe?

Note: Last year, I attended a CCAR webinar called “Prayformance and Prayticipation.” In it, Cantor Ellen Dreskin presented a positive approach to our Days of Awe, which inspired me to craft this piece.

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