God of Israel and of America, God of Africa and Asia and of every place named and un-named, hear my prayer. There have been times I failed in love for others and for myself. May I grow stronger in love; may I forgive myself and others as I seek to be forgiven.
I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts with a lot of Jewish families. My childhood friends Craig, Peter, Rob, Debbie, Kim, and Heidi were all Jewish, and many more. I went to bar-mitzvah ceremonies for my friends when we were in junior high; in college I went to a Friday evening seder at a friend’s apartment in Manhattan. Later I lived in a different part of the state, where very few Jews lived, and I was surprised to encounter ignorance and negative stereotypes of Jews there.
No longer does it surprise me when I see anti-semitic vandalism or even violence on the news. Today’s report of a shooting at a synagogue in Germany feels like more of the same—and yet it can never be normal. We must all pay attention, again, to the rise of hate crimes in America and abroad. We must all denounce violence and hatred, and voice our support for the victims. And we are all victims. A world where Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques are targets of violence is a world where I am less safe, and where my values are under attack.
On this day of Yom Kippur may we celebrate our connection to our Jewish brothers and sisters and siblings. May we seek to be more like the angels: forgiving and forgiven; loving; and working for a world of peace and justice.
Andrew (Drew) Frantz
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan