Readers may have noticed a long silence on this blog. But I have not been entirely silent.

At start of June 2015, I began an additional blog, #SayThisName, to mark those lost to homicide and police action in the District of Columbia. Since then, I have personally typed out and said aloud the names of 95 individuals lost in our city in less than six months. The list includes friends of friends, a domestic murder-suicide a few blocks from my home, and a shooting on the steps of a church across from my work. I glimpsed a few seconds of the latter scene nearly three months ago, and the picture rarely leaves me for long. These are not statistics or abstractions. And this recitation has, it seems, captured a large part of my voice.

I am grateful to Temple Micah (DC), one of my spiritual homes, for their practice — several months old now — of listing the names of those lost to violence in the city as we rise to recite Mourners Kaddish. It is clearly having an effect on many in the congregation, including our new rabbi, Susan Landau, who is also new to DC. While guns are not behind every death in our town, they play a big role. And Rabbi Landau is joining with others nationally to address this problem.

Rabbi Landau spoke powerfully at the interfaith “United to Stop Gun Violence,” November 3, at the National Cathedral.

Project End Gun Violence activists with Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT 5th, Newtown-Sandy Hook) at the Cathedral 11/3/15

Project End Gun Violence activists with Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT 5th, Newtown-Sandy Hook) at the Cathedral 11/3/15

Rabbi Landau’s remarks begin at 23:00 above.
Imam Talib Shareef of DC’s Masjid Muhammad speaks at 28:00.
Film includes other local and national activists, prayers, and song.

Many national groups working on gun violence from one angle or another participated in the November 3 event. Some of the resources shared there appear on this page.

See also this blog with resources on childhood trauma, a big part of the situation.

Additional related sources: “Stragglers on the Road Away from Bondage” and “Honoring a Teacher,” and “Meditations on Morning Blessings.”

Prayer Draft

To support National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath, which is coming up December 10-14, 2015, I am crafting a prayer to be part of Temple Micah (DC) services on that weekend.

It is based on the prayer “for our country” in Mishkan T’filah, the most recent prayerbook of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. (Mishkan T’filah, NY: CCAR, 2007. This prayer is on p.258 here.)

[this blog originally shared a draft for comments]

Here is an updated version for considering, sharing, and, most importantly, for praying!

Prayer Amid Gun Violence Prayer Amid Gun Violence

Posted by vspatz

Virginia blogs on Jewish topics at "A Song Every Day" and manages the Education Town Hall and #WeLuvBooks sites. More at Vspatz.wordpress.com

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