Refugees: An Elul Prayer

Our God and God of all people:
God of the rich
God of the poor;
God of the wretched
God of the impoverished;
God of the diplomat
God of the refugee;
God of those who have no god.

We are crying, God.
Are You crying too?
We, who see babies washing up on the shores of nations;
We, who see nations washing their hands of the blood of your babies;
We try to fill our eyes, our ears, our mouths our thoughts with distractions – but the familiar cadence of denial no longer brings us relief.

Millions upon millions of terrified men, women and children caught up in the never-ending death machines that feed on hatred, greed and power-lust crowd our consciousness.

Our fences and our borders mean nothing to the terrified.
Theirs is a desperate march towards the unknown.
They throw themselves into a sea of humanity – looking for compassion and hope in the dark recesses of a history
that repeats
and repeats
and repeats…..

They cry out to the tormentors – but nothing stops the blood-lust.
They cry out to You – but get no answer.
They cry out to the wind and their pleas are carried to our doorsteps where they rattle about like dried leaves on a blustery autumn afternoon.

We cannot sweep them away.
We cannot halt their death-dance.
When will we open our arms instead of manufacturing arms?
Where is the hope?
Who has the will to stop the madness?
Why are we silent?

For the sin of indifference;
For the sin of callousness;
For the sin of our inaction;

We beg Your forgiveness.image

About the Author
Joe Black serves as Sr. Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, a large Reform synagogue in Denver, Colorado. He also is a husband, a father, a musician, a limericker and a skier. You can follow Rabbi Black's congregational blog at You also can find out more about his music at Rabbi Black's latest book - There Once Was A Man From Canaan: The Five Books Of Limerick - is available at
Related Topics
Related Posts