By Reb Zalman Schacter-Shalomi
May the Holy One who blessed our ancestors
and us over these many centuries,
helping us to get through the many tragedies
and the great pain we have known,
bless all those whose lives
have been changed by this violence.
May those who witnessed these events
find reconciliation and an inner peace
which allows them to live without fear.
May those who suffered injury
find healing and recovery.
And may those who have lost loved ones
find comfort and consolation
in the presence of family, friends, and community.
Our Mother, who is the source of our very being,
please gather the souls of those who passed on
in this tragedy under Your wings
and close to Your heart.
Keep them close to us who live on,
that they inspire us to seek peace,
to be peace, and to end the curse of killing,
hatred, and fear which blocks us
from becoming the compassionate beings
which You created us to be.
May the souls of those who were lost today
be bound up with those who live on
that we not forget the love they shared
and the love we all need to share.
May they rest in peace.
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, better known as "Reb Zalman," was born in Zholkiew, Poland, in 1924. Raised largely in Vienna, his family was forced to flee the Nazi oppression in 1938. After almost three years without roots, they finally landed in New York City in 1941, settling in Brooklyn, where young Zalman enrolled in the yeshiva of the Lubavitcher Hasidim. He was ordained by Lubavitch in 1947. He later received his Master of Arts degree in the Psychology of Religion in 1956 from Boston University and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree from Hebrew Union College in 1968.
Throughout his long career, Reb Zalman has been an unending resource for the world religious community. He is the father of the Jewish Renewal and Spiritual Eldering movements, an active teacher of Hasidism and Jewish Mysticism, and a participant in ecumenical dialogues throughout the world, including the widely influential dialogue with the Dalai Lama, documented in the book,The Jew in the Lotus. One of the world's foremost authorities on Hasidism, he is the author of the new book, A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters (co-authored with Netanel Miles-Yepez). Reb Zalman currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, and continues to be active in mentoring his many students the world over.