Sandra Geroux/Eye Em/Getty Images via JTA
(Sandra Geroux/Eye Em/Getty Images via JTA)

A rabbi and cantor from Los Angeles offer a confessional prayer focused on accomplishments, not shortcomings, to accompany the traditional liturgy.

Rabbi Jillian Cameron
Rabbi Jillian Cameron

Every year during the High Holidays, Jews recite a litany of ways we have fallen short in a confessional prayer. Known as a viddui, the prayer is a centerpiece of our Yom Kippur liturgy.

This year, we again will reflect on our shortcomings. But one takeaway from the past year is that even when we do our best, it may not be enough.

So many of us joyously awaited the return to in-person High Holiday services, only to have our plans undermined by the threat posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19. 

Cantor Juval Porat
Cantor Juval Porat

Against this backdrop, we recognized that our community would benefit from a communal expression of encouragement, comfort and balance. 

So, together we crafted a positive viddui for our congregation that we are sharing here. 

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of what would become Israel, once said that Jews should celebrate our good deeds as much as lament our sins. 

We hope you find this meaningful.

   We’ve acted authentically
   We’ve blessed
We’ve cultivated compassion
   We’ve delighted
We’ve engaged empathically
   We’ve favored fairness
   We’ve galvanized
   We’ve harmonized
   We’ve inspired
   We’ve joined
   We’ve kindled kindness
   We’ve laughed
   We’ve matured
   We’ve nurtured
   We’ve offered optimism
   We’ve persevered
   We’ve questioned
   We’ve released
   We’ve sympathized
   We’ve tried
   We’ve uplifted
   We’ve vivified
   We’ve welcomed
   We’ve x’d out excess
   We’ve yearned
   We’ve zoomed and zoomed in

For all these, Source of Life
inspire us, encourage us,
sustain our hope. 

Rabbi Jillian Cameron and Cantor Juval Porat are clergy at Beth Chayim Chadashim, a Reform synagogue in Los Angeles.

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