A Prayer for our fallen Australians

August 31, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Synagogues throughout Australia will recite a prayer especially penned to honour the five members of the Australian army who lost their lives in Afghanistan this week.

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence at Sydney’s The Great Synagogue had prepared a prayer for Legacy Week. Legacy is an organisation committed to providing financial relief for the widows and children of fallen servicemen.

He told J-Wire: “When I heard the news about the five members of the Australian army who lost their lives this week, I changed the prayer to honour their memories. This week sees the anniversary of the arrival in 1940 of the Dunera from the UK with its human cargo of alien refugees most of whom were Jewish. Records show that in spite of maltreatment by the British Army, the Dunera boys were treated magnificently by the Australian Army and their welcome in Sydney was very warm. Going forward, I pray for the safety of those Australian military men and women serving overseas in harsh conditions and fighting a difficult war.”

Peter Wertheim, executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry added: “We have distributed the prayer throughout the country and requested that it be recited in every Shul. We have received many calls confirming that this will be done and not one saying that it will not. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have so tragically lost their lives in Afghanistan this week.

On January 4, 2009, Private Greg Sher from Melbourne was killed in a rocket attack in Afghanistan.

39 Australians have now lost their lives in Afghanistan

Here is Rabbi Lawrence’s prayer:

Our God & God of our fathers, who sits on High.

Protect those members of the Australian Defence Forces who guard our shores and safeguard our freedoms; who serve overseas and bring relief to the victims of strife and disaster.

Remember this day, the souls of our brethren, who fought for our freedom, for liberty, democracy and for justice. We remember this day their heroism, their courage and their fear.

We thank them and we honour them.

We pray for the safety and wellbeing of all those who continue to serve our forces with pride – bringing peace and relief to hotspots of distress and conflict. They bring honour to our country, to our flag and the values we hold so dear.

Today we remember in particular the members of the Australian forces who have lost their lives in Afghanistan:

Private Galagher

Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald

Private Nathanael Galagher


Lance Corporal McDonald

The Australian Special Forces soldiers from 2nd Commando Regiment were killed when an ISAF helicopter crashed in Helmand province. The Australian Special Forces and their partnered Afghan National Security Force unit were participating in a targeted mission at the time of the incident.


May their souls find repose in life eternal and may their memory be cherished. May their widows and their orphans be comforted.

May we and our children be spared the horrors of war. May we yet live to see a better world of peace and understanding. And may we ever remember those who fought and those who perished to make it so.

And let us say, Amen.



2 Responses to “A Prayer for our fallen Australians”
  1. Sally Phelps says:

    Thank you Rabbi Lawrence for such a beautiful prayer. I am Nathanael Galagher’s mother & by chance came across this site today, 11 & a half years after we lost our son in Afghanistan. Our prayers today are for Israel and the safe homecoming of the remaining hostages.

  2. Rita says:


    I wonder though, will there be prayers in the many mosques?

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