Rabbi Dena Feingold led the prayer at an interfaith gathering at the steps of the Kenosha Public Library today, as President Trump visited the city in the wake of civil unrest after the shooting of Jacob Blake.
About two dozen spiritual leaders and others were present for the interfaith gathering. Feingold is the spiritual leader for Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha.
Feingold’s prayer was, in part: “Today, as President Trump visits our city, we pray that his presence will not fan the embers of an already charged atmosphere, enflaming further violence, destruction, and bloodshed. Spread over this city and all of its inhabitants Your shelter of peace and tranquility.”
The event was organized by Congregations United to Serve Humanity, a Kenosha-based alliance of local faith-based groups.
A representative of Congregations United To Serve Humanity read a statement at the interfaith gathering: “Surely you are aware, Mr. President, that your presence in Kenosha, a city that in the past nine days has keenly felt the pain of the nation’s racial divide and animosities, could become a catalyst to reignite passions, leading to more violence. Accordingly, we ask that your visit be about caring for the family of Jacob Blake, meeting with the grieving families of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum who lost their lives on our streets, and concern for the welfare of all of the people in this community who are in pain and shock over the devastation of our city.”
This was Feingold’s prayer at the event, in its entirety:
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains. From where will my help come?” Who among us has not asked this question from Psalm 121 during the past nine of tragedy and horror in our community?
“Eternal One, Well of Justice, Balm of Divine Healing: As we gather this afternoon, we implore You with all our hearts to be with us as we attempt to recover and move forward from the shocking and troubling events of the past week.
“Blessed One: Be with Jacob Blake and his family and with the families of those gunned down in the street just blocks from where we stand now: Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. Be with all those who are injured physically and emotionally from the trauma of these past days.
“Eternal Source of Tranquility: Today, as President Trump visits our city, we pray that his presence will not fan the embers of an already charged atmosphere, enflaming further violence, destruction, and bloodshed. Spread over this city and all of its inhabitants Your shelter of peace and tranquility.
“God of Courage: We stand just feet away from businesses that were burned and broken, and some of our own houses of worship were desecrated in nights of rampage. We decry the loss of property, livelihood and homes. But we ask You to give us the strength we need to constantly hold up to those focused solely on repair and rebuilding that our city will not be reborn without a deep commitment to tearing down the rotted-out structures of racial injustice and reconstructing a community with fairness and equality at its core.
“In these weeks preceding the Jewish New Year, we Jews take stock of our lives to prepare for the task of repentance that the High Holy day season requires. This season of Kenosha’s unrest demands that our city and our nation, indeed all of us, engage in soul-searching and self-reckoning.
“Eternal Beacon of Clarity and Compassion: We ask you to help us see our moral failings, found in the blindness and self-centeredness that keep us from confronting the truth that we live in a society built on systemic racism. In doing so, may we repent and find Your mercy as we seek forgiveness. We pray that You might help us discern a path forward from the darkness into which we have been plunged.
“May our efforts and our actions allow us to say with confidence as does the Psalmist: ‘My help comes from the Eternal One, Maker of heaven and earth.'”