A Selichah for Ourselves and Our Country on Yom Kippur
by Aryeh Cohen
We stand here ashamed, mortified, confronting the shattered dream. We cannot avoid admitting our guilt, our sins, our crimes.
When we stood on the sidelines, without intervening when we saw the evil.
When we sat serenely cocooned, without attending – for we were not directly targeted by the hatred, the oppression.
When we saw our neighbors attacked, bound and caged, crushed and trampled, and we spoke our pain – but did not publicly rail.
Because we trusted our founding institutions, we did not fiercely oppose the man who wanted to dominate and destroy, abuse and hate, distort and lie.
Because we believed in a dream, that has always been a nightmare for our neighbors and family whose skin is darker than our own.
That we procrastinated – delayed expressing our rage, and screaming as if we our very lives depended on it.
That in our silence we were complicit.
We have sinned, O Our Rock, forgive us Our Creator.
We beg you, Mistress of Mercy, seed us with the spirit to do right/kindness, the desire to work for righteousness, the passion to protest injustice, the conviction to build a country, a city, a community founded upon these values – righteousness, truth and justice.
As it says in your Torah: “Zion shall be redeemed with justice; and those who return to her with righteousness.”