Developing the Negative

There is an old and odd traditional prayer said at the beginning of the New Year—it is found in the Sephardic liturgy and it’s refrain is: “Let this year and its curses (come to an) end.” In the past we have heard of murders and rapes, we have listened to people’s accounts of atrocities and have created in our minds eye the accompanying images. All that has changed—and evolve even more. The promise of technology is a camera on every phone and soon to be on every head. Our awareness of the suffering of humanity and all other creatures on the planet will be in pictures, some of which we are unable to look at. At our Kabbalah Experience Rosh Hashanah service, entitled “From Despair to Hope” we started by creating a common bond of our despair in all the sad and sometimes horrifying events of this past year—all that carry images—seen or imagined. The traditional prayer concludes: “and now let the New Year and its blessings begin!” I would suggest that as a community we share images of kindness, generosity, courage, healing and community.

 

Here is the 2014 version of “Let this year and its cursed images conclude.”

 

The beheading of Foley, Sotloff and Haines

 

The bodies of Ya’acov Fraenkel, Mohamed Khdeir, Gilad Sha’ar, Eyal Yifrach

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

The police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner

 

The police beatings of Marlene Pinnock, Victor Hernandez, Kollin Truss

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

Ukranian dissidents: Yuriy Verbytskyi, Pavlo Mazurenko, Mikhail Zhyznevskyi

 

Yazidi men lying lifeless in mass graves

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

Bodies of Indian girls hanging from trees

 

A knock-out punch of domestic violence

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

Drowning victims Billy Kim, Jim Woo-hyuk, Park Suyehon on the Sewol ship

 

Thousands of corpses of the Ebola virus

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

Hate crime victims Reat Griffin Underwood, William Lewis Corporon and Terri LaManno

 

Hate crime victims of mental illness Veronika Weiss, George Chen, Christopher Michael-Martine

 

Hate crime victims Leroy Henderson, Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

The deaths of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

Rape and murder victims: Sister Bernadetta Boggian, Sister Lucia Pulici and Sister Olga Raschietti

 

Newlyweds Sajjad Ahmed and Muawia Bibi murdered by her parents in family honor killing

 

Let this year and its cursed images conclude

 

And here is an image of kindness:

 

 

In our Denver community Dependable Cleaners has been cleaning prayer shawls (talis) for free for many years (it is a different type of interview).