Rabbi Jim Kaufman:
Nightmares. Not for me tonight.
Time to sleep, I get into bed, between clean soft sheets on a mattress that molds itself to my body, with the AC temperature set to a comfortable 72 degrees. Sweet dreams. I hear my child utter a 300 year old bedtime poem:
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my soul my God will keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take.”
But it is 2020 and for thousands, this bedtime moment is more like my rewrite:
“Now I lay me down to sleep, hard ground, cold night, I’ll hardly sleep. I’m sick I’ll die before I wake, others, not God, did me, forsake.”
O God, we cannot forsake those whose night dreams are not sweet but bitter, fearful. Indeed…..Nightmares.
We go to sleep with confidence in waking up to our safe and comfortable homes.
They go to sleep confident that their death is imminent.
We go to sleep with our story written by ourselves.
They go to sleep with their story written by us.
And our indifference writes a cruel ending to their story.
If they were capable of rewriting their own stories, they would.
We are capable of rewriting their stories, if we would only care.
So we pray tonight for the wisdom that leads to definite action, And we pray for the will to persevere against institutional racism , these weeks painfully overt, all the other weeks, insidious. We must daily reignite our passion and our outrage until justice, tonight housing justice is real. Then, will our fellow unhoused human beings , like us, lay their heads down to sleep on soft clean pillows and dream …..safely and…. sweetly.
O God, we know It is up to us.