By Rabbi Rick Sherwin

IT’S CALM… As I write this, the sun is shining, the blue sky is dotted with white clouds, a few people are out walking… Everyone’s cars are filled with gas, the pantries are filled with canned goods and bottled water, the phones, tablets, and external batteries are charging. Pun intended, images of Harvey flood our minds as Florida waits to witness the wrath of Irma.

I have been drawing inspiration and strength from Alden Solovy’s poems and prayers through recent experiences ranging from Charlottesville to Harvey. I found this 2012 prayer from Alden Solovy and adapted it for Hurricane Irma with my own theological perspective.

Creator of heaven and earth,
Hurricane Irma approaches,
A reminder of Creation’s force.
The world began in chaos, and the winds of Irma remind us
That chaos continues to blow with the wind.

What destruction will strike?
Who will suffer? Who will stay secure?

God of mystery and awe,
We pray for safety as this hurricane threatens
To interrupt thousands of lives
Causing stress to those in its path
And worry to concerned families and friends
Living beyond the hurricane’s path.

And when the winds subside and the rain begins to dry,
Grant food and clothing, warmth and shelter to those in need.
Bless emergency and rescue workers
With the patience, tools, and skills they need
As they risk their lives for the sake
Of our families, communities and friends.
Grant healing to those who are sick or injured.

Bless us with common sense
Through the high winds and torrential rain
And with kinship and cooperation
When Hurricane Irma passes.
God of awe and wonder,
See us through the gale and be with us through the night,
For comfort, security and well-being.

ברוך אתה יי סומך נופלים
We praise You, Eternal God,
the Oneness that uplifts our spirits in times of need.


Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.





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