My “I Have a Dream Speech”

 of Shabbat Shalom

( In memory of Rabbi Edwin H. Friedman )

Rabbi Friedman of blessed memory is my main rabbinic mentor. In his final book, A Failure of Nerve, the good rabbi challenges each of us to have our own “I have a dream speech.” With Kings Speech in front of me I now take up the challenge. Following the example of Jewish liturgy, this “I have a dream” speech is also a “We have a dream” prayer, an individual dream voiced by the community.

I have a dream

of every body sanctified, of

every heart and mind a Temple,

and every person a rabbi, priest ,and minister

and prophet.


The dream of Shabbat Shalom a revelation of Peace,

in our hearts, homes, and on Earth, and in heaven!


O Lord our God who we proclaim to be One

we still stand at the base of your Mountain

afraid to ascend, so we send our Moses’

or our Jesus, or our King, our Edwin’s,

but they now proclaim:


Time for you to ascend, lace up your hiking boots,

The dream is on the peak, from the Arête, A

vision of excellence and virtue, from the leader within,

holding The Tablets, lit by Menorah, anointed, a prophet

unafraid of the thunder and lightening, ready, also, for the descent,

for what goes up

The A Mountain

must come down

The A Mountain,


When, and where, we declare

We will be One Nation

On God’s good earth

making all land holy

on earth when it is heaven.


We have a dream

that every citizen shall be a sage,

universal education from kindergarten

till old age


We have a dream of the political

functioning as a healthy body

a tranquil organization.


We have a dream of religion

unfettered, living the hallowed Name

fed by our  daily bread.


We have a dream of freedom ringing

in the Temples of our mind

as we order our thoughts and emotions

to true teachings,

and the greatest commandment,

hearts circumcised, homes sanctified

by intelligent conversation

a prayer for Peace

on everyone’s lips,

a dream of loving our neighbors

and domestic tranquility.


We have a dream that Peace in the Home

will bring Peace on Earth,

and bring Freedom

to the streets and markets

of every city and nation.


We hear in our dream a freedom that rings

not from chaos, but from order

a world renewed in united vision.


We shall be One

as our God is One.






Rabbi Laurence Aryeh Alpern