Western Wall on Yom Kippur AP File 2008
Ultra-Orthodox men praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur. Photo by AP
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Lord, prepare me to fast.

Help me turn this life around.

Help me look anew at people whom You made perfect, and whom life has made like me: wounded, nasty, guarded, bile-driven, vengeful, resigned, cynical, uncertain that what is broken, rust-bound, wrong-headed, can be turned around.

Pound on my heart. Find the list I have lost in there. Read it back to me, so I can't claim not to have heard.

This is the list: This is the year the war ends. This is the year I change the vocabulary of my blood. This is the year of pride in peace. This is the year when the world begins to turn around. This is the year when people, whoever their parents, are one color. The way You made them. Perfect.

Lord who created the brothers Ishmael and Isaac, Lord who makes victims to teach lessons, Who sustained them in expulsion and exile and binding and the shadow of murder, prepare me to detox from the war inside. Lord who created my ancestors, who left them as children with poison in the blood from fates they did not deserve, save me as you saved them.

On this day when we boycott the pleasures and distractions and feuds and art which medicate and blunt and crutch, cleanse us of the disappointments and the failures of this year, which we have come together this day, this fast, to bury.

This is the list:

Asham'nu - This is our confession. It is written that we will seek You out only when we admit that we have done wrong.

Bagadnu - We have betrayed You. We have made gods of stone and tile and asphalt.

Gazalnu - We have stolen, and called it reclaiming.

Dibarnu Dofi - We have learned to say one thing to the world, and something different to one other.

He'evinu V'hirshanu - We have caused others to sin. We have warped our tradition to suit the politics of the moment.

Zadnu - We have allowed our anger to overrule our judgment, our values, our compassion.

Hamasnu - We have been violent, and blamed the wrongdoing of others for our wrongdoing.

Tafalnu Sheker, Ya'atznu Ra, Kizavnu - We have lied to ourselves and others in order to justify our actions. We have given poor advice in order to serve our own ends. We have altered the truth to serve our aims, and spread the lie as if absolutely true.

Latznu - We have made light of the suffering and the humanity and the dreams of those who are unlike us.

Maradnu, Ni'atznu, Sarar'nu, Avinu - In the name of land, we have sanctified rebellion against leaders, our own and those of our allies. In our anger, we have taken vengeance against innocents, and sinned against nature.

Pashanu, Tzarar'nu, Kishinu Oref - We have committed crimes, we have persecuted others. We have been stubborn to an extreme, unbending and insensitive.

Rashanu, Shichatnu, Ti'avnu - We have engaged in wickedness, corruption, abhorrent acts.

Ta'inu, Ti'tanu, Sarnu M'mitzvo'techa - We have gone astray, we have been led astray, we have lost our way.

Lord of Ishmael and Isaac, for their sake if not for ours, heal our children and our childrens' children. For their sake if not for ours, grant them life, inscribe them for health, seal them for joy.

May our children see each other for what they are, sisters and brothers. And after all that they've gone through, for their sake if not for ours, inscribe them for a year of peace.