If you are interested in making a sacred promise this Yom Kippur, I’m submitting one for your consideration. The Shomer Shalom Jewish Institute for Jewish Nonviolence has developed the following vow (or “intention”) for be recited daily or annually on Yom Kippur. (Frankly, I can’t think of a better supplement to Kol Nidre…)
G’mar Tov – and may we all walk in the path of peace this New Year.
I believe that the practice of Judaism and the practice of all religions is for the sake of peace. Therefore, I, _____________, for the sake of peace and for the purpose of fulfilling “hashomer akhi anokhi” (“I am responsible for safeguarding the life and well-being of my sister and brother”), disavow the use of any form of physical, emotional, verbal, spiritual or economic violence toward myself and others, and hereby accept upon myself the way of non-violence/shmirat shalom. I do this of my own free will and full realization of the commitment I herewith assume.
As a Shomer/et Shalom I, ___________ offer my diligence, devotion and dedication to the following principles and practices of Shmirat Shalom.
I choose to live by the principle that the study of Torah is intended to cultivate peace. I will study Torah as a Shomer/et Shalom.
I choose to live by the principle that prayer is intended to cultivate peace. I will practice prayer as a Shomer/et Shalom.
I choose to live by the principle that the Sabbath and Holy Days are intended to cultivate peace. I will practice Shabbat and Holy Days as a Shomer/et Shalom.
I choose to live by the principle that our capacity for love and nonviolence is necessary for peace. I will practice love and nonviolence for all people as a Shomer/et Shalom. As a Shomer/et Shalom, I am a conscientious objector to war.
I choose to live by the principle that the earth and all that is in it is sacred. I will practice environmental stewardship as a Shomer/et Shalom.
By offering this intention I, _______, accept the privileges and responsibilities of a steward of active nonviolence, a Shomeret Shalom. May peace prevail upon the earth quickly and in our day.