In the silence,
Even in the tumult of our daily lives, Eternal God,
may we find our true voice.
In the depth of our introspection,
May we discover our humanity.
May we sense the shape of the words we utter on this day.
May we hear the declarations of our achievements
Acknowledging that we human beings sometimes succeed
In acting with honor and respect
In practicing fairness and justice
In proclaiming equality for high and low
Rich and poor and people of moderate means
In listening intently to the needs of people
Who call for Your help, O God,
And in extending a hand that gives selflessly and generously
to enable those who have fallen
to stand on their own feet and to walk forward with pride and hope.
We do, with You as our guide and inspiration, remember
that the teachings that can direct our way are in our mouths and hearts, and we can do them;
We can, when we truly try, choose life and good.
Hear also the sound of our confessions,
God of Forgiveness,
As we declare that we fail
We disrespect based on definitions we set
so as to limit the scope of our concern for others.
We shut out people whom we deem undeserving of our care and aid.
We sometimes trust those in power who say they have our best interests at heart,
who claim that their beliefs are like our beliefs.
They assert that their faith resonates with the teachings
which we learn from Your Torah, O God.
Yet we know, Eternal One, what our rabbis have declared:
“Beware of those in power, for they bring people close
only to fulfill their own needs; they act friendly when it benefits them,
but they do not stand by someone in the time of their need.”
In our fasting, God of all Ages,
as we focus on what is inside of us,
on how we will become exemplars of Torah in the coming year,
Make our hearts and souls a wellspring of compassion.
Turn us away from death and evil towards life and good.
Do not let us forget the darkness
in which our ancestors once walked and lived,
the hunger and poverty they knew,
the expulsions that upended their already fragile existence,
the prejudice and hatred they endured and that we still endure.
Direct us, O God, to apply the memories and experiences
Which our people has accumulated
of defeat and then triumph,
of accusation and then enlightenment,
of genocide and then rebirth,
so that we can see reflections of ourselves
in the eyes of those
who are now seeking freedom, equality, and a secure life
in communities that will offer calm rather than violence, security rather than constant threats to their well-being, understanding and acceptance of difference rather than rejection because of difference.
Remind us not to build walls but to tear them down
So that when hands are extended in friendship
We can reach back in love
Leading us not necessarily to full agreement
But to informed cooperation that can enable us
to walk side-by-side along a path of peace.
When our hearts and souls are a wellspring of compassion,
then our light will shine in the darkness
Midnight will be as bright as the sun at noontime.
We will be Repairers of the Breach that has kept us apart,
Restorers of the paths that will lead us to godliness
Connecting our hearts one to another.
May we reach beyond divisions
that prevent us from seeing our commonality.
May we sit down with one another
With nothing to make us afraid.
May our acts of righteousness and justice
lead us to peace
Bringing calm and confidence forever.
May this, Eternal One, be the light in which we will dwell
In this new year and in the years to come.