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Rabbi sums up sentiments at Dec. 3 peace vigil

Dee Eisenhauer, pastor of Eagle Harbor UCC on Bainbridge Island, was one of three local clergywomen—UCC, Episcopal and Presbyterian—who organized a peace prayers event on Sunday, Dec 3, by Pia the Peacemaker in Sakai Park.

Luminaria line the path to Pia the Peacemaker for vigil.

Photo courtesy of Dee Eisenhauer

“Representatives from Sufi, Jewish, Christian, Earth-based and Unitarian Universalist faith communities prayed from their traditions, and then invited everyone to voice prayers for peace while lighting battery candles,” she said.

Comments at the vigil spoke of peace in general, but Dee said there have been several other vigils in Kitsap County calling for a ceasefire in the Holy Land.

“There is lively interest to end this horrible war,” she said.

Dee has touched on the war in the Holy Land a bit in her preaching, condemning attacking civilians by both sides—but mostly critiquing our own U.S. military industrial complex that constantly invests so much in the machinery of war around the world.

“We spend more than the next eight high-military spending nations combined,” she said.

At the peace vigil, luminaria bags were set along the path is from the parking area to the troll, Pia the Peacekeeper.

Dee was moved by the words of Zann Jacobrown, the Pardess Jewish Community’s rabbinic guide, who raised questions, addressing the community who long for peace.

In this time of violence and needless suffering, when trauma after trauma is inflicted on a new generation, Zann asks, “How can this end?  How can the children of Palestinians and Israelis, Ukrainians and Russian, Syrians and other Syrians ever live together? How can the racism and lack of inclusion of all sorts in our schools, the pollution of our oceans and streams, the burning of fossil fuels ever end?” 

She said there is no way with current mindsets, habits and systems of power.

“This despair keeps us from coming together, trusting others, lifting our voices, feeling compassion for the suffering of the Palestinian as well as Jewish children—and parents.

“May we remember in times of despair that we are not made for perpetrating violence and cruelty,” she said. “We’ve only come into the world to encounter and know You.” 

Zann reminded that people are wired for compassion, so the brain “floods us with compassion before we’ve even thought about it. We did not come into this world for anger and bloodshed” or to “commit atrocities.  “

“I pray we will remember that healing can take place, that we know how to heal trauma, that we know how to transform the systems of oppression. This indigenous wisdom is within each of our lineages deeply buried, but it has been brought to the surface,” she said. 

Without healing and rebuilding, nothing is possible. With it, anything is possible. May we each in our own ways, through our own traditions and beliefs that have so much in common, find ways to encounter and know the Source of Healing,” she invited.

In Jewish tradition, song is prayer, and prayer is sung. I offer a traditional prayer in Aramaic.

Rachaman De Ani - Compassion One of those who suffer

Ananei na - answer us please

Rachmana de’ani l’tivrei libi - Compassionate one of those who suffer from a broken heart.

Ana nei na - Answer us please.



Pacific Northwest United Church News © Winter 2023-24


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