Rabbi Writes Special Prayer For Newtown Anniversary

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

A police officer leads two women and a child from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, December 14, 2012. (photo credit: AP/Newtown Bee/Shannon Hicks)

A police officer leads two women and a child from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, December 14, 2012. (photo credit: AP/Newtown Bee/Shannon Hicks)

December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza murdered 26 students and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut before fatally shooting himself with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, legally purchased and licensed by his mother, whom he had killed earlier.

The shooting shocked the world and sparked an ongoing national conversation about gun control.

To mark the first anniversary of the tragedy, Rabbi Menachem Creditor of the Conservative Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, California has written a special version of El Malei Rachamim, the Jewish prayer for the dead, for the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting.

He hopes the prayer’s recitation by Jews and non-Jews alike will help heal the soul of the country. According to Creditor, a few dozen Jewish congregations and organizations have committed to reciting it.

Over the past year, tens of thousands of Americans have been killed by gun violence. The number varies depending on who is doing the counting and how. Slate has found 11,404 deaths by gunshot reported in the media, while information compiled by Centers for Disease Controlindicates that more than 33,000 people have been killed by guns since Newtown. Mother Jones reports at least 194 children have been shot in the last year.

“The attention of the Jewish community has waxed and waned when it comes to this issue. We’ve lost the Jewish passion to demand gun laws,” says Creditor, who has been very active in the campaign for more and better gun control laws.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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