Ki Anu Amecha / I am, You are, We are

Ki Anu Amecha – Responsive Reading and Song

This new liturgical piece fits directly into a very traditional slot in the High Holiday liturgy – the singing of “Ki anu amecha / because we are your people.” The original is a top-down theology, while the new setting uses reflexive theology, especially as the “we” and “you” are reversed in the second verse of the song. There is a complex, interdependent relationship here between people and divinity, one which, when expressed through the strong emotional tug of the familiar melody, lets us dwell within the old and the new simultaneously.


I am, You are, We are
from Rumi, translated by Barks, “Put this design in your carpet”
and from Jane Kenyon “Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks”
compiled by Elliott batTzedek


I am the blossom pressed in a book, found again after two hundred years. . . .

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper. . . .

You are wind. We are dust blown up into shapes.

When the young girl who starves sits down to a table, she will sit beside me. . . .

I am food on the prisoner’s plate. . . .

I am there in the basket of fruit presented to the widow. . . .

You are spirit. We are the opening and closing of our hands.

I am the patient gardener of the dry and weedy garden. . . .

I am water rushing to the wellhead, filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .

You are water. We are the millstone.

I am the stone step, the latch, and the working hinge. . . .

You are the clarity. We are this language that tries to say it.

I am the heart contracted by joy. . .
the longest hair, white before the rest. . . .

I am the musk rose opening unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .

I am the one whose love overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name. . . .

You are joy. We are all the different kinds of laughing.


Ki Anu Amecha
words compiled by Elliott batTzedek
can be set to any traditional tune

We are blowing dust, You, our wind. We are open hands, You, our spirit.
We are the millstone, You, our water. We are fertile ground, You, our gardener
We are the search for words, You, our clarity. We are every kind of laugh, You, our joy.

You are blowing dust, We, your wind. You are open hands, We, your spirit.
You are the millstone, We, your water. You are fertile ground, We, your gardener.
You are the search for words, We, your clarity. You are every kind of laugh, We, your joy.