In this season of renewal, self-introspection and forgiveness I wish to step outside the liturgy and ask God for absolution from sins our forefathers could never have imagined would be committed in His name. These transgressions were fixated solely at other individuals with cursory yet twisted regard to God’s teachings and questionable reasoning as to His motivation. I cast these aspersions not at us as a people in totality but at those very vocal and visible miscreants we tolerate within our midst. In Jewish service the requests are always in the plural so I continue in that tradition.
Please forgive us God for our arrogance in claiming to know your intent.
Please forgive us for tolerating religious leaders who censor and censure other religious leaders who find innovative ways to free chained women, tolerate others’ human sexuality and innovate Sabbath friendly light switches.
Please forgive us for those whom in Your name will allow family members to fend for themselves over these holidays just because they will not allow their relatives to travel to them for a festive, family meal. As a result they will be alone or with others.
Please forgive us for forgetting the lessons of the Holocaust by not doing nearly enough to protest the genocides taking place in certain Arab countries and large swaths of Africa. Forgive us for doing little to settle the refugees from those conflicts.
Forgive us for overreaching on the Iran deal and not offering an alternative plan.
Forgive us for turning support for Israel into a partisan issue. Please forgive us for hubris, taking sides and crossing political boundaries we may never be able to back pedal from.
Please forgive us for making following your traditions so prohibitive and so costly that many simply walk away and worse some commit crimes just to keep up.
Please forgive us for taking so long to address crimes like sexual and spousal abuse and for the many amongst us who still believe these issues are better left resolved “internally.”
Forgive us for leadership that so often gets it wrong when it comes to the abuse of power, for not seeing the signs as they unfold and for cutting and running when the truth comes out.
Forgive us for those who are more likely to judge their fellow Jew not by the content of their character but the width of their fedora and the color of their Sabbath tablecloth.
Forgive us for using social media to disparage, ridicule and humiliate people, even our own friends, who don’t buy into a narrow-minded view or don’t accept ideological purity. Forgive us for using the same medium over the past seven years to lie, distort and falsely accuse the President of the United States of being something he most definitely is not, our enemy. Forgive us for the damage our partisanship, hatred and racism will inflict upon us.
Please forgive us for having so many rabbis who claim to believe that You are the impetus to natural disasters and genocide and profess to know exactly for what sin you perpetrated them upon us.
Please, please forgive us for creating an environment where the term Jewish extremists (specifically those who commit acts of violence) is no longer shameful, rarely denounced and is sometimes lauded.
Forgive us for vowing to punish life long supporters of Israel with a 100% record of support for the Jewish State, over one vote we may not have agreed with.
Please forgive us for allowing whole school systems to teach children that Goyim are evil and for not teaching them life skills needed to be productive citizens.
Finally, forgive us for focusing our attention on things small, trivial or beyond our control and not concentrating enough on repairing the world.