Skip to main content "A straight's prayer for young Israelis shot for being gay" "A straight's prayer for young Israelis shot for being gay"
By Bradley Burston

For Liz Trobishi, 17, and Nir Katz, 26, of blessed memory, and for the recovery of the 15 young people wounded late Saturday by a gunman in a Tel Aviv club for gay teens.

Lord, teach me to stand naked before you
And, in so doing, learn the meaning of modesty.

Let me stand naked, which is to say, stripped to my humanity,
And mourn these young people shot
For having chosen to practice
Their own humanity.

Cause me, Lord, to shed this defective armor,
Which we call clothing, respectability, convention,
The mask which we mistake for loyalty to tribe.
The mask which keeps me from seeing the face behind the mask of the tribe we have come to call enemy.

At the close of this dark anniversary, this time when tradition tells us, the worst of calamities were wrought by sinat hinam, hatred unbound, hatred for its own sake, teach me what I need to know about my true enemy.

Force me to see that what I am so certain that I hate, the clear, familiar targets of my fury, are already inside me.

Help me heal of this contagion, this cruel disease which scars and hardens the soul, which cores and blackens and blinds the heart, this affliction which feeds on self-righteousness and the conviction that God plays favorites, that the person whose behavior and appearance, and ways of speaking and dancing and loving are foreign to me, has less right to a true self than I.

Rock me awake, O Lord who invented the mosaic, the patchwork, the universe.
Force me to see the miracle of every life on the threshold
Of what we have come to know as
Real life.

Let me know that in the beginning, real life is created through ahavat hinam, love unbound, love unfiltered, love unselfish, love shorn of armor and unkindness and judgment and ancient rage.

Lord, whose business it is to give life, shock us, cajole us, manipulate us, bring us to heel, force us in this terrible moment to know the enormity and the necessity of chesed, lovingkindness.

Lord, whose great gift and whose most murderous creation was the human being, help us find the human in the Other, hated from habit and from afar. Help us up, the mourning, the remnant, those whom tragedy has in cruelty and in lovingkindness left alive. Teach us to honor the slain by honoring the living, their own behavior and appearance and speech, the dancing and the loving of those doing nothing more banal and nothing more extraordinary, than living a genuinely real life.

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Sometimes, it isn't about nuance.
Sometimes it just comes down to facing the storm,
calling God out,
standing at the center of a whirlwind
holding your ground.

No cathedral is immune to agony,
no soul impervious to life itself no nation purely noble.
If it were any other way,
there would be no need for cathedrals
in the first place.

Kneel,  stand,  sit,  rise up.

To kneel is
to submit  to lower oneself  to step down  to pause.
To kneel is to call attention  to touch the Earth's face to listen to those  whose blood saturates  the very roots of our story.
To kneel is to step aside  to step outside  to invite others to come closer  to remember.
To kneel is not to stand not to stand not to stand idly by.
Speak your truth,
God damn it.

That's what God wants most of all.

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