Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

After the Horror

YomHaShoahCandleThis prayer can be used as part of a liturgy for Yom HaShoah, specifically for reclaiming life in the shadow of death. Since the wording is general, it can also be used as a meditation after any event in which many die and others live. Another prayer in my Yom Hashoah liturgy is called “Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass,” calling on the imagery of Kristallnacht. Click here for the entire Yom HaShoah liturgy. To listen while you read, click on the triangle in the bar below (website only). The text follows.

After the Horror
Hold fast to the breath of life.
Hold fast to the song of life.
Hold fast to the soul of life.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As survivor, as witness, as a voice of history and truth.
Why else did I live when so many died?
Why else do I stand when so many were put to rest?
Why else do I hope and yearn when so many were silenced?

Hold fast to awe and wonder.
Hold fast to radiance and light.
Hold fast to mystery and majesty.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As mourner, as testimony to horror and destruction.
What else remains? What else endures?
What more can You ask of me,
But to choose life in the shadow of death?

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: After the attacks in Toulouse, France, I wrote “At the Hand of Anti-Semitism: A Yizkor Prayer.” Yom HaShoah also reminds me of my gratitude and love for Israel, reflected in this piece, “Israel: A Meditation,” which is also part of my Yom HaShoah liturgy.

If you like this prayer, post a link to your Facebook page, your blog or as part of a tweet. And don’t forget to click “like” on this page. Please subscribe. Thanks. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see Share the Prayer!

Photo Credit: Highland Park Conservative Temple


2 Responses to “After the Horror”

  1. Austin Fleming

    Dear Alden,
    As you’ll see when you follow this link: I was asked to offer a prayer at our town’s annual Yom HaShoah service this evening. As you’ll also see, I continue to be indebted to you and your fine work. Our prayers, yours and mine, were well-received and I’m grateful to you for yours.

    • tobendlight

      Dear Austin,
      I enjoyed reading your prayer and seeing our prayers together on your site. Thanks for supporting this important commemoration, both by leading public prayer and by encouraging Catholics and all your readers to participate in memorial events. As your prayer reminds us, we must never forget.


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