For nine long days now, three Israeli teenage boys have been missing after they were kidnapped on their way home from school. Communities in Israel and around the world have been pouring their hearts out in prayer for the safe return of the students. I was particularly moved to read about an interfaith gathering that was held on Tuesday at the site of the kidnappings at the Alon Shvut Junction. Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, came together to pray for the teens and for their families. At a moment when pain and loss can so easily lead to more violence, it is comforting to know that there are people reaching out across divides. They are standing together and calling out to God to protect the children who are left vulnerable in the face of this ongoing and excruciating conflict.
As we turn to prayer in this time of uncertainty, I want to share the words of Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum, a Masorti Rabbi in Jerusalem.
God of Israel,
Beneficent sovereign of all Creation,
enable us now
to have true faith
and to pray and to call out to You
with plea after plea,
so that our cry might rise
to the very Gates of Mercy,
to Mercy itself.
And all reality shall be turned around
so that relief, rescue, and life
may be the lot of those young men,
Ya'akov Naftali ben Rahel (Frenkel),
Gil-ad Micha'el ben Bat-Galim (Shaar)
and Eyal ben Iris Teshura (Yifrach).
Act on their behalf, Lord,
take up their cause without delay,
and may You grant them life and blessing forevermore.
So may it be Your will, and let us say: Amen.
This Shabbat, as the light lingers in the sky, may all children everywhere be held with compassion. May they be protected from harm and violence. May the Holy One help us to bring about a world of mercy and peace.