On what should ordinarily be a joyous evening--the penultimate night of Hanukkah--we are instead facing a horribly grievous tragedy. As of this writing, twenty-seven people are dead, eighteen of them children after a crazed gunman opened fire in a Connecticut elementary school.
In Judaism, when someone dies, we mourn them with the Mourner's Kaddish. Whether or not you are Jewish (or even theist), I invite you to join me in mourning the deaths of the victims.
Per the Jewish Virtual Library: "The Kaddish is a prayer that praises God and expresses a yearning for the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. The emotional reactions inspired by the Kaddish come from the circumstances in which it is said: it is recited at funerals and by mourners, and sons are required to say Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a parent.
"The word Kaddish means sanctification, and the prayer is a sanctification of God's name. Kaddish is only said with a minyan (prayer quorum of ten men), following a psalm or prayer that has been said in the presence of a minyan, since the essence of the Kaddish is public sanctification. The one who says Kaddish always stands. Whether other worshippers sit or stand depends on the congregation. It is customary for all the mourners in the congregation to recite Kaddish in unison. A child under the age of thirteen may say the Mourner's Kaddish if he has lost one of his parents. Most religious authorities allow a daughter to say Kaddish, although she is under no religious obligation to do so. The Mourner's Kaddish is recited for eleven months from the day of the death and also on the yahrzeit (anniversary of a death). A person may say Kaddish not only for parents, but also for a child, brother, or in-law. An adopted son should say it for adoptive parents who raised him. The Rabbinical Kaddish, Half Kaddish, and Whole Kaddish may be said by a chazzan (cantor - prayer leader) who is not a mourner and has both parents living."
Transliteration of the Hebrew:
Yit-gadal v'yit-kadash sh'may raba b'alma dee-v'ra che-ru-tay, ve'yam-lich mal-chutay b'chai-yay-chon uv'yo-may-chon uv-cha-yay d'chol beit Yisrael, ba-agala u'vitze-man ka-riv, ve'imru amen.
Y'hay sh'may raba me'varach le-alam uleh-almay alma-ya.
Yit-barach v'yish-tabach, v'yit-pa-ar v'yit-romam v'yit-nasay, v'yit-hadar v'yit-aleh v'yit-halal sh'may d'koo-d'shah, b'rich hoo. layla meen kol beer-chata v'she-rata, toosh-b'chata v'nay-ch'mata, da-a meran b'alma, ve'imru amen.
Y'hay sh'lama raba meen sh'maya v'cha-yim aleynu v'al kol Yisrael, ve'imru amen.
O'seh shalom beem-romav, hoo ya'ah-seh shalom aleynu v'al kol Yisrael, ve'imru amen.
English:Indeed, please let He who makes peace in the heavens, grant peace to all of us. Maybe one day we'll make sense of this tragedy.
Magnified and sanctified be God's great name in the world which He created according to His will. May he establish His kingdom during our lifetime and during the lifetime of Israel. Let us say, Amen.
May God's great name be blessed forever and ever.
Blessed, glorified, honored and extolled, adored and acclaimed be the name of the Holy One, though God is beyond all praises and songs of adoration which can be uttered. Let us say, Amen.
May there be peace and life for all of us and for all Israel. Let us say, Amen.
Let He who makes peace in the heavens, grant peace to all of us and to all Israel. Let us say, Amen.