One of my favorite Jewish prayers. It was written years ago, but when I reread it this year, I saw how befitting it was of this past year of isolation, grief, loss and heartbreak. We stand now, on the precarious brink of change, praying for the turning.
Now is the time for turning.
The leaves are beginning to turn from green to red to orange.
The birds are beginning to turn and are heading once more toward the south.
The animals are beginning to turn to storing their food for the winter.
For leaves, birds and animals, turning comes instinctively.
But for us, turning does not come so easily.
It takes an act of will for us to make a turn.
It means breaking old habits.
It means admitting that we have been wrong, and this is never easy.
It means losing face. It means starting all over again.
And this is always painful. It means saying I am sorry.
It means recognizing that we have the ability to change.
These things are terribly hard to do.
But unless we turn, we will be trapped forever in yesterday’s ways.
Lord help us to turn, from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith.
Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you.
Revive our lives as at the beginning, and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.
Yom Kippur liturgy, Rabbi Jack Riemer, “Gates of Repentance” Machzor (High Holiday Prayerbook). Reform Judaism