Robin Amy Bass


“Alliyahs… “my mother says –
“Tomorrow is the day
Your nephew is Bar Mitzvah
We all must go and pray

“And watch him turn from boy to man
We pray and celebrate
So make sure you wear some nice
And do not show up late

“The synagogue will fill up fast
With all your family.”
I must admit – the pressures on
Our crazy family tree

Is filled with critics – watchful eyes;
They never miss a trick
The Alliyahs… such a demand
My God they went so quick

For those of you, still unaware
Alliyahs are worth more than gold
They’re given out to special folks
Some joke, they’re bought or sold

The rabbi calls the name out loud
The person must ascend
And read a prayer or close a door
I guess it all depends

On what the said occasion is,
Depends who call the shots
Sometimes there just are not enough
Alliyahs we ain’t got.

Alliyahs are the honor rolls
While, Mitzvahs are good deeds,
And if you do enough of them
Then you won’t have to plead

Or ask or bribe or beg for one
Relax – it just will come
At times it’s like a double play
You might get more than one

If what you’ve done’s exceptional
If you’re known as mench
That chances are, you’ll hear your name
You won’t sit on the bench

I tell my mother, I suppose
There is no part for me
Alliyahs must have all gone out
This time I will be free

To sit and watch my nephew sing;
Critique my cousin’s dress
I’ll watch my brother work the crowd
I’ll blend in with rest

Oh no – you have a part to read
They picked one just for you
This weekend is Memorial Day
Your brother gave to you

A Prayer For Our Troops to read
That’s what you’ll get to say
I feel the tears spring my eyes
I turn my face away

The gift my family gives to me
The honor that they chose
They picked the one prayer that’s in my heart
And in my blood it flows.

So after my nephew is done
And before the rabbi starts
His sermon for the Sabbath morn
I get to do my part

And hopefully the prayer is heard
By those who need to hear
A prayer for our troops is my alliyah
Who we honor and hold dear.

Author’s Note: I wrote the above poem because my brother and nephew did indeed make sure that “A Prayer For Our Troops” became part of the Saturday Morning Service at our temple. I was honored to participate in the service. This is the Prayer that I read.

Prayer for the Troops

Almighty God on High, omnipotent King, look down from Your Sanctified Abode, and bless the valiant soldiers of the Coalition Forces who risk their lives to protect the welfare of all Your creation.

Benevolent God, be their shelter and fortress, and to not allow them to falter. May harmony dwell in their ranks, and victory in their battalion. Fill their hearts with faith and courage to thwart the evil schemes of our enemies and to abolish every rule of evil.

Protect them on land, in the air and in the sea, and destroy their adversaries. Guide them in peace, lead them toward peace, and return them speedily to their families alive and unharmed.

Grant us true peace in fulfillment of the prophecy: “Nation shall not lift up sword against another nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.”

Let all the inhabitants of the world know that Dominion is Yours, and Your name inspires awe upon all that You have created. May this be Your will, and let us say, Amen.