For Our Children

Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East have dominated news headlines recently.

As women of faith -- Muslim and Jewish -- we have grown increasingly alarmed, and have been saddened, by the escalation of violence and brutality.

Myriad reports of alleged kidnappings, murders and beatings -- of children, no less -- reminds us of how easily we can lose sense of morality and sight of our shared humanity in the midst of hate, fear and anger.

For the sake of our children, we speak in unity to demonstrate the power of friendship, empathy and peace.

Together, we mourn the continued tragic loss of of young and innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives.

Together, we draw upon our respective faith traditions to convey our heartfelt condolences to all grieving families whose lives have been irreversibly altered due to the Middle East conflict, irrespective of their faith, race, nationality or origin.

And, together, we write to share our prayers for peace -- we hope you join us:

Baruch dayan ha-emet (blessed is the truthful judge) for all of God's children whose lives have been senselessly lost. May their souls be bound up in the everlasting wings of the Shechinah (God's presence). As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now a part of us; as we remember them. Strengthen the spirit of friendship among people of various faiths and increase mutual understanding between us. We look to a time when greater knowledge of God and God's word shall bind all who serve God into one holy fellowship.

Various Jewish Prayers, including a prayer from the liberal Jewish prayerbook.

From God do we come, and unto Him is our return. May God reconcile with love and understanding between our hearts. And resolve our broken affairs. And guide us toward peace and paths of guidance. And take us out of the darkness of falsehood, ignorance and evil to the light of truth and guidance.

The Quran, 2:156 and a supplication from a Prophetic tradition.

Amen. Ameen. So be it.

Engy Abdelkader and Sheryl Olitsky, who helped craft this piece, serve with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a nonprofit devoted to enhancing relations between Muslim and Jewish women across the U.S.