An Unetaneh Tokef for Troubled Times

This year, I thought about the Unetaneh Tokef differently, using it as a jumping off point to reflect some of the key questions I have in this post-Roe era.  I wrestled with this in late stages of pregnancy and this came to me late at night in early September. I gave birth to a baby boy, Noam, two weeks ago. Feel free to tweak as you see fit.  If it sounds dire and serious, it is because that is how somber this reality is:

How many will pass away from lack of adequate prenatal and postnatal care; how many will be born to a birthing parent unable to care for them

Who by hemorrhage, who by suicide

Who by criminalization of miscarriage, who by acts of intimate partner violence 

Who by interstate travel seeking health care, who by having to beg their doctor that they are close enough to death to deserve care

Who will die not a physical, but a psychic death

Who will be humbled, and who will be raised up

 ~ ~ ~ 

[Editor’s note: See also Rabbi Danya Rutenberg and Imani Chapmans’s variations on the theme.]