Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

For Those Who Die Young

Flower in IsraelYesterday in Colorado my daughter Nikki, her boyfriend Pro and their friends held a memorial service for a young man named Nolus. She wrote: “Nolus went missing several days ago during a dirt biking trip in the desert. His body was found this evening atop a mountain he’d dragged his broken leg up, under a tree, with his tee shirt rolled underneath his head and his hand on his heart.” Not much more to say, other than to offer a prayer. Here’s what I wrote a couple of hours ago. It’s raw and unedited. I welcome suggestions. Optional phrases and lines for customizing the prayer appear in [brackets]. Gender selections are identified with a slash (“his/her”).

For Those Who Die Young
G-d of secrets,
G-d of my heart,
Source and shelter,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To ______________________ (name),
My [father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / dear one/ friend]
Whose life was cut off too soon,
[In his/her prime / just a child / before we were ready],
[Without warning / after a battle with deadly disease / after a tragic accident].
[We thought we had so much more time.]
[We saw this coming, yet this loss still cuts deep.]
Help us to remember his / her wisdom, talents and skills,
The joy, laughter and tears,
And our moments together.
Let these memories continue to bless us
Even as we pray for him / her to find peace
In the world to come.
May his / her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a related prayer “At the Hand of Violence,” which I wrote after my daughter Dana faced the murder of a friend. Here are links to two additional prayers: “For Bereaved Children” and “After Shiva,” as well as a link to more yizkor and memorial prayers.

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Photo Source: Alden Solovy


7 Responses to “For Those Who Die Young”

  1. ewhinston


    I am a huge fan of you’re prayers and meditations. Every time I lead our lay led Minyan for Shabbat services, I always use at least 3-4.

    I am also the chair of the book selection committee for the San Diego Jewish Book Fair. As such, I would like to include your book. Please let me know the ISBN as well as the publisher and the date of publication.

    Best regards, Eric

    • tobendlight

      Eric, thanks for your kind words and for the opportunity. I’ve sent a response via standard email. Warmly, Alden

    • tobendlight

      Rebecca, I agree, that is a beautiful line. Many of my memorial prayers end with this: “May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of life, a living blessing in our midst.” It is the translation of the Hebrew ending for the Yizkor (memorial) prayers found in the High Holiday Prayer Book, the Prayer Book Press of Media Judaica, 1978.


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