Alden Solovy
Blessings Abound

‘Blood Everywhere’

Grief, like blood, appears to be everywhere.

“There was blood, blood everywhere,” said one man who escaped the Pulse Club massacre in Orlando early Sunday morning. “It was chaos.”

Grief, horror and shock. And blame, like blood, is also seeping from this wound.

Some blame Islamic terrorism. In his Times of Israel essay, Adi Saleem Bharat notes that the attacker, “in murdering gay people for being gay, has followed the example of numerous Muslim countries that persecute and execute gay people.” But Bahrat goes a step further: “The dire problem of homophobia and dogmatism in mainstream Islam, which allows safe spaces for more insidious extremism to grow, must be tackled head-on and firmly.”

Others blame the lack of gun control in the U.S. “More than 32,000 Americans are shot to death every year, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,” writes John Horgan in Scientific American. “The U.S., which has more firearms per capita than any other nation, has rates of gun-related killings much higher than any other developed nation.” There have been more than 35 mass shootings in the U.S. since Columbine. The U.S. has failed to effectively deal with an epidemic of mass-shootings and gun-related suicides

It’s easy to hide behind Islamic terror to avoid addressing the issues of gun control. And it’s easy to hide behind gun control to avoid addressing the issues of terror rising from Islamic fundamentalism.

Be clear. Blaming the attack solely on a lack of gun control or on the rise of Islamic terror denies the faces of the victims.

Be clear. Violence against LGBT persons in the U.S. is flourishing. According to Wikipedia, “in 2014, the FBI reported that 20.8% of hate crimes reported to police in 2013 were founded on perceived sexual orientation; 61% of those attacks were against gay men.”

Be clear. The massacre must be understood as a targeted attack against the LGBT community. Daily Beast senior editor Tim Teeman writes: “What needs to be repeated over and over again, and interrogated, is that the largest mass shooting in American history was an attack on gay people, LGBT people — politicians and lawmakers must say that, confront that, call it by its terrible, rightful name.”

We must not fail to address all three dimensions of the Orlando massacre: hatred targeting LGBT persons; radicalization within Islam; and access to weapons in the U.S.

Grief, horror and shock. We must not deny the faces of the victims. We have denied both the rights of the LGBT — and the horrors perpetrated against them — for too long.

Here’s a prayer “For Orlando, For the USA,” followed by “Pride Wins: A Prayer after Homophobic Brutality.”

For Orlando, For the USA
There was blood everywhere.
Fifty dead. And blood everywhere.

Author of life,
Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under Your tabernacle of peace
To the victims of the massacre
In Orlando, Florida,
Fifty men and women whose lives were cut off by violence,
In a rampage of aggression beyond understanding,
Targeted by vehemence and hate.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.
May they rest in peace.

There was blood everywhere.
Fifty-three wounded. And chaos.

G-d of justice and mercy,
Send healing to those wounded in this assault.
Fifty-three men and women who were
Struck by brutality.
Remember all the survivors of this attack,
Witnesses of shock, horror and dismay.
Ease their suffering and release their trauma
So that they recover lives of joy and wonder.
Grant them Your shelter and solace,
Blessing and renewal.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
And courage to heal.

Yes, there is blood everywhere.
Columbine. Virginia Tech. Fort Hood.
How much more blood will be spilled?
Sandy Hook. Killeen. San Yisidro.
When will sanity return?
Aurora. Charleston. Washington Navy Yard. Red Lake.
When will the U.S. confront this scourge of violence?
There is blood everywhere.

G-d of love and shelter,
Remember the families and friends
Of all the dead and the wounded
In Orlando and throughout the U.S.
Remember them with comfort and consolation.
Grant them Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing.

Heavenly Guide,
Put an end to anger, hatred and fear
And lead us to a time when
No one will suffer at the hand of another,
Speedily, in our day.

Pride Wins: A Prayer after Homophobic Brutality
Pride will not be crushed by violence.
Pride will not be crushed by hatred.
Pride wins. Love wins.
Beauty and joy win.

G-d of healing,
Bless the LBGTQ community
With Your comfort and care
In the anguish and pain after yet another
Senseless and vicious attack against the innocent,
An act of calculated violence against Your children.
Bless the victims with healing and strength.
Bless their families with solace and support.
Bless the community with resolve and well-being.

Let the day be near when
Gender and sexual orientation
Are no longer used an excuse for brutality or cruelty.
Let the day be near when
Justice and righteousness prevail,
Guiding us all to delight fully in each other,
Our similarities and our differences,
A tribute to the vast wonder of Your creation.

For Orlando, For the USA” and “Pride Wins: A Prayer after Homophobic Brutality” are © 2016 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight. All rights reserved.

About the Author
Alden Solovy is traveling teacher, preacher, poet in the tradition of the piytan. The Liturgist-in-Residence at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, his teaching spans from Jerusalem to the UK to synagogues throughout North America. He's the author of six volumes of modern tefillot and midrash. His latest, "These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah," is a Silver Medalist in the 2023 Independent Book Publishers Awards. His work is anthologized in more than 20 volumes of prayers and meditations. Alden made aliyah in 2012. He is the founder of ManKind Project Israel. Read his work at
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