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A Prayer for the Poor People's Campaign

A Prayer for the Poor People's Campaign

This blog post is adapted from the prayer offered by Rabbi Sachs-Kohen at the Maryland Poor People's Campaign on Monday, May 21st. 

Eloheinu v’elohai avoteinu v’imoteinu, God of our fathers and our mothers.

This is the way we begin some of our central Jewish prayers. Today I would begin this way:

Eloheinu v’elohai avoteinu v’imoteinu – God of our fathers and our mothers, God of Abraham, God of Sarah, God of Hagar. God of Isaac and God of Ishmael. God of dark skin, God of light skin, God of women, God of men, God of transgender people. God of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists, God of people, God of many paths to truth and God of the earth, guide us and remind us today.

God who teaches more than 36 times in the Torah, that when there is a person in our community who is somehow not like us, a person the Torah calls a stranger and we might call an immigrant, our job is to welcome that person, to protect and uplift that person, to make her one of us. God who teaches k’ezrach mikem yihyeh lachem hager hagar itchem v’ahavta lo camocha, “The stranger who dwells with you shall be to you as the one born among you and you shall love him as yourself.”  (Leviticus 19:33) Remind us, God, of what our human responsibilities are…one to another, of what you teach more than any other commandment in the Torah.

God who inspired Rabbi Hillel, your teacher in the first century before the common era, to tell us Im ein ani li mi li, uchsheani latzmi mah ani, "If I do not look out for myself who am I? But if I only look out for myself, what am I?"  remind us when we believe that being safe and strong as a community means looking only to our own narrow needs and not caring about the needs of all those other human beings around us.

God who teaches in the very first chapters of the Torah that we humans are all reflections of your holiness, created b’tzelem elohim, in the image of the Divine, remind us that the image of the Divine does not just look like the face we see in the mirror each morning. Remind us that we can only be reflections of Your holiness if we understand that the person standing next to us is a reflection of Your holiness as well.

Eloheinu, v’eilohei avoteinu v’imoteinu, God of our mothers and our fathers, remind us because it seems as if too many of us have forgotten. Remind us, God, and help us remember that we are all your creations.


Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen is a rabbi at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. To join the Reform Movement in the Poor People's Campaign, visit www.rac.org/poorpeoplescampaign.