A Jewish Prayer for Juneteenth

Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor

Black liberation has never just been about Black people. It’s been about a fight for our humanity, for our dignity. – Patrisse Cullors

An illustrious history of Jewish and African American collaboration exists in our communities’ shared struggles. American Jews helped found and fund some of our most important civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and others. Jewish activists also made up a disproportionate number of white people involved in the Civil Rights Movement, including those who participated in the momentous Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964.

Although more work is needed, in the spirit of our communities’ long and fruitful partnership, Daniel Pearlman, Vice President of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Greater Toledo, offers the following “Jewish Prayer for Juneteenth” written by married Rabbis Hillel and Sharon Barr Skolnik:

Our G-d

Compassionate redeemer,


Liberator of the oppressed, downtrodden and enslaved.

You heard our ancestors’ cries as slaves in Egypt

Freed us from harsh labors with an outstretched arm,

Delivered us from bondage,

Took us to be your people,

And brought us to our Promised Land.

You heard the cries of Black slaves in this country.

Freed them officially on this day with an outstretched arm.

May you continue to:

Deliver us from the bondage of injustice;

Take us to be your people, treated by all with love and equity,

And bring us to a moment when this Land fulfills its Promises.

Ever-listening, attentive One:

Hear us now.

The journey has been long,

The steps arduous and ongoing.

But we celebrate freedom this day:

With love,



Resolve to be a force for positive change and fervent hope for freedoms still yet to be realized.

As you have shown us compassion, help us to be compassionate.

As you have liberated us, help us stand up against injustice everywhere.

As you have delivered us, help us fight for freedom for all still enslaved.

Remember us, hear us, and be with us always.


And let us say …. Amen.

Hillel Skolnik is the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus, Ohio. Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnik is the Program Director of Wexner Service Corps at the Wexner Foundation.


Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at drdlperryman@enterofhopebaptist.org