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A Shabbat Reflection

As Shabbat is soon to descend, we pray for a sukkat shalom – a shelter of peace.

Our heart bleeds.

Tears flow.

For the lives lost. For the kids who were dancing. For the unimagined horrors of those taken captive. For those families, waiting for any news. Our rage is hot against the terrorist acts of Hamas and the murders, rapes, kidnapping and massacres of our people. For the fear sown in our schools and homes here in Britain.

Through our tears and our personal grief and fear, we look to those innocent civilians in Gaza who are suffering. We know that in recognising the suffering of others it does not diminish the reality of our own pain. We dare to hope that action is taken so that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not worsen, that children and innocent civilians can find safety and security and those taken captive are found safe.

As it says in our teachings – if one life is destroyed it is as if the whole world was destroyed. With so many worlds destroyed, may the horrors of the last few days mean that peace is now the only way forward.

Source of our life and our Sovereign, cause us to lie down in peace, and rise again to enjoy life. Spread over us the covering of Your peace. Be a shield about us, turning away every enemy, disease, violence, hunger and sorrow. God bring back our captives, like streams in a dry land; that those who sow in tears may reap in joy. Shelter us in the shadow of Your wings, for You are a God who guards and protects us, a ruler of mercy and compassion. Guard us when we go out and when we go in, to enjoy life and peace both now and forever, and spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Blessed are You God, spreading the shelter of peace over us, over Your people Israel, and over all the world. Amen.*

הַַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם ,וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ, וְהָגֵן בַּעַדֵנוּ, וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב, דֶבֶר, וְחֶרֶב, וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן,שׁוּבָה ה’ אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ כַּאֲפִיקִים בַּנֶּגֶב הַזּרְעִים בְּדִמְעָה בְּרִנָּה יִקְצרוּ: וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ
כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּמַצִּילֵנוּ אָתָּה, כִּי אֵל מֶלֶךְ חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם אָתָּה, וּשְׁמוֹר צֵאתֵנוּ וּבוֹאֵנוּ, לְחַיִּים וּלְשָׁלוֹם, מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם וּפְרֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ
יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל הָעוֹלָם

* Words from Hashkeiveinu prayer and Psalm 126.

• The above was written by the Chairs of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors and the Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors

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