I just came home from Transgender Remembrance Shabbat services at Sha’ar Zahav, and I just have to give it up again for Reuben Zellman, who reminded us that almost all Jewish ritual practice is filled with mixed emotions.

I wish I had this prayer to share with all of you yesterday, this fabulous prayer penned by none other than the fabulous Reuben. For those that do not have places where they can pray, for those that do not live in cities with services led by trans and gender non-conforming people, for those who in moments of communal and individual experience long for seeing their images reflected back, may this prayer be just one source, one source of finding a home for your experience.

For surely, our lives are a fierce and loving reminder of hope and survival.

Prayer for Transgender Day of Remembrance

God full of mercy, bless the souls of all who are in your hearts on this Transgender Day of Remembrance. We call to mind today young and old, of every race, faith, and gender experience, who have died by violence. We remember those who have died because they would not hide, or did not pass, or did pass, or stood too proud. Today we name them: the reluctant activist; the fiery hurler of heels; the warrior for quiet truth; the one whom no one really knew.

As many as we can name, there are thousands more whom we cannot, and for whom no Kaddish may have been said. We mourn their senseless deaths, and give thanks for their lives, for their teaching, and for the brief glow of each holy flame. We pray for the strength to carry on their legacy of vision, bravery, and love.

And as we remember them, we remember with them the thousands more who have taken their own lives. We prayer for resolves to root out the injustice, ignorance, and cruelty that grow despair. And we pray, God, that all those who perpetrate hate and violence will speedily come to understand that Your creation has many faces, many genders, many holy expressions.

Blessed are thy, who have allowed their divine image to shine in the world.

Blessed is God, in Whom no light is extinguished.

-Reuben Zellman