Benediction for May 5, 2017

Adonai, our God, we give thanks for the freedom that is ours, and we pray for all who are persecuted and oppressed in the spirit of this week’s Torah portion, which commands us to embrace the stranger as ourselves.

Uphold also the dreams and hopes of our brothers and sisters in the land of Israel, that she may be true to our Torah portion and the Jewish values we treasure of freedom and justice, equality and peaceful co-existence.

Cause a new light to shine upon Zion and upon us all, so that here and in Israel, we will be the recipients of freedom of religion and freedom from religion, when it seeks to marginalize and disenfranchise the minority.

May the land of Israel and our beloved United States once more see that the sacred separation of religion and state protects believers from the State, and prevents the State from coopting the pulpit for political purposes.

May this bimah and this congregation uphold the separation of faith and State as intended by our founding fathers and as practiced in America for centuries.

And may our beloved Israel become a State supporting the right of every Jew to pray, teach, study, and live in accordance with our unwaivering support of pluralism.

May all people everywhere see our hearts and prayers as beacons of hope, acceptance, and love this Shabbat, and every day. May this house always be a house of prayer and gathering for all people.

Adonai Oz….