Rabbi Janine Schloss shares poem on Capitol riot

Rabbi Janine Schloss

Rabbi Janine Schloss

At every funeral at which I officiate, I begin by reminding us that words never seem adequate when we need to speak about loss or pain or love. Yet despite the inadequacy of our words, we need to try to speak, to listen, and to remember.

Many of us will remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard that the walls of the Capitol building were breached on Wednesday afternoon. I heard the news as I was preparing to say opening prayers at the funeral of Colonel (ret.) Harvey B. Meyer, father of our dear member Sue Koppel. As I watched him receive full military honors for his lifetime of service, the dichotomy between what was happening before me and what was happening in Washington, D.C., could not have been more stark.

No matter how hard we may argue over our politics, no matter how frustrated we may get, no matter how far we may feel from the “other,” we must give blessings every day for living in a democratic country. Dare I say that we must remember to love our country, even when we may not always love what it looks like. Because of this deep love, the loss and pain we feel when the country seems to be tearing apart is very real. It is a kind of grief and I believe that what we are feeling is very much like the mourning after a death.

I have struggled to find the words to respond to my feelings of loss and pain – and love. Our people have always turned to our ancient scriptures for comfort and hope in times like these. Today we are blessed to have modern prayers, as well, written in response to the agony of the moment and shared at the speed of light thanks to the miracle of modern technology.


Is it not bashert that Sue Fischlowitz pointed me toward a poem that has been published on Ritualwell by none other than Rabbi Stephanie Crawley, the daughter of our dear members Roxana and Grant Crawley? Rabbi Crawley is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Micah in Washington, D.C. Her poem is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful expression of our pain and an inspiring expression of our undying hope for our future. I am so grateful for those in our world who can express in words what I cannot.

Lady Liberty is Weeping: A Prayer for Our Country (on Jan. 6, 2021)

By Rabbi Stephanie Crawley

Lady Liberty is weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted

She cries –

Looking out at the city on the hill

overtaken by narrowness and violence by those who seek to mock her

She has been breached

the sacred steps of democracy trampled

the hallowed halls defiled, looted.

Lady Liberty is weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted

Her flag waved by the very people who seek to destroy everything it represents

Her marble cracks and crumbles as the flames of hatred and injustice are fanned

Our house is divided –

We pray it stands –

stands for what we hope it can be

what it has never been but always tried to reach toward

and what it has to be if it is to stand at all

We weep and cry out our impassioned prayer

God who is the shield of justice

who implores us to spread peace

We pray we are able to help our democracy stand

to represent more fully one more person

to right one more injustice

to spread one more truth

to establish one more hour of peace

We cry and we are not comforted but we are together

We are not comforted.

But we are re-dedicated.

We will re-dedicate our country and its hallowed halls once again –

This time through the steadfast commitment to every ideal we dream of

We will continue to bend our arc

toward justice – toward honesty – toward truth.

When the fire is out –

We will raise the flag,

Clean the steps.

Repair the breach.

And see our house stand, one house, one nation, in peace.

Such powerful words by Rabbi Crawley. May this Shabbat bring shalom to us, our country, and all the world.