Office of the President
October 11, 2023
Tags Speeches/Remarks

Jewish Community Solidarity & Prayer

From the President

**Remarks as prepared for delivery**

This past weekend, we witnessed the awful terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel.  

Thanks to the internet, we saw the horrors of the attacks up close. The terrible images of violence and death. Human beings, including elderly women and young children, being taken as hostages.  A joyous music concert of young adults—people about the same age as Brown students—turned into a nightmare of terror. Accounts of families huddled in “safe rooms” in houses, as armed terrorists searched for them, or waiting for warning sirens to stop. What happened was utterly unjustifiable.

And now, only a few days in, some are looking to shift blame from the people who perpetrated these atrocities to the circumstances that may have propelled them to act in this dreadful way.

This is not a time for blame. It is a time for empathy.

The situation in Israel and Gaza is awful. We are heartbroken for the people of Israel who have been terrorized by the recent events, and who have loved ones who are dead or unaccounted for.  We also feel for the families, and especially for the children who were born into lives in the Gaza strip, who are now living in a war zone for reasons beyond their control.

It is likely that the coming weeks and even months will be difficult, with more loss of life and hardship. It feels impossible to see a clear path to a truly lasting, peaceful resolution of this conflict.

At moments like this—when there are no words to convey our anguish, and when all possible ways forward seem blocked—it’s time to pray. 

And, so, I offer a prayer for peace. The Hashkiveinu is usually said at the beginning of evening—a prayer to let us—and all humans on this earth—sleep in peace:

Hashkiveinu Adonai Eloheinu l’shalom

Lay us down to sleep in peace, Adonai our God, and raise us up, our leader, to life; spread over us the shelter of your peace.

Guide us with your good counsel, and save us for the sake of your name.

Shield us from foe, plague, sword, famine and anguish. Remove wrongdoing from before us and behind us, and shelter us in the shadow of your wings.

For it is you, O God, who protects and rescues us; it is you, O God, who are our gracious and compassionate leader.

Safeguard our coming and our going, to life and to peace from now to eternity. Blessed are you, Adonai, who spreads a shelter of peace over all of us.


Thank you, and God bless you.