Breaking Bread on Broad Prayer by Ellen Poster

From Psalm 11 – a Sukkot Prayer for Breaking Bread on Broad Families
Inspired by Rabbi Eli Freedman’s Sukkot sermon for 2020

There is a catastrophe happening.    

The foundations have crumbled and lie like broken bricks on the sidewalk.

Every Wednesday morning, a line of families straggles from the door of Rodeph Shalom to Green Street.  They arrive on foot, pushing empty carts.

Parents with babies and young children, grandmothers and grandfathers, patiently waiting for food, diapers, and menstrual pads. The occasional toy.

We ask them to please wait longer, we are still filling bags, loading the tables with bags of food.  Please don’t sit on the curb we tell them because cars are coming through.

Children in line for a bag of food.

A single mother of a disabled child says she is about to lose her apartment and has no money.

A smile stretches wide on a young girl’s face in delight at receiving a toy, but there are no toys for next week.

Where fathers hold up fingers, one through six, to tell us what size diapers they need for their children, because we don’t understand the languages they speak.    

When we choose on Tuesday how much food to put in the bags they receive on Wednesday.

Where no one in line speaks English.

When the people leave their carts to mark their places in line and come to help us unload the food from the truck.

A mother and daughter have driven from Delaware to Philadelphia to deliver menstrual products from their small non-profit and stay to help pass out food.

Each precious one created in Your image, those in need and those who help.  HaShem, may I see that sometimes those in need are passing out the food and those who help are in the line. Hosha na.

HaShem, please give me the spine to stand with our guests, the vision to see the divine spark shining in each one, the words to speak with them, or to find someone who can. Give me the heart of a repairer of the breach. Hosha na.

May Rodeph Shalom be a place of shelter. Hosha na.

May the foundations be rebuilt, may no one experience food insecurity, and may light break forth as the dawn. Hosha na.

For information on Breaking Bread on Broad, click here