The Amidah expresses our basic "wants" as a nation and as individuals. We are individuals, with individual strengths and needs. But it is through our firmly planted roots, intertwined and indistinguishable from the roots of our community that strengthen us further. We are nourished from the nutrients of our ancestors, and we grow from the seeds they produced and planted. It is through our peoplehood that we continue to flourish.

"Behold our affliction and deliver us. Redeem us soon because of your mercy, for You are the mighty Redeemer. Praised are You, Lord, Redeemer of the people Israel." Just as You saw good in Your people before us, may You find good in Your people now. Take a moment to think about the people who came before us, the people from which we came. What good qualities did they possess that we can emulate, to be good in the eyes of G-d? What good qualities can we pass on to the generations that follow us? Modern translation: "Recognize that we have human faults, and help us strive to be the best we can be. With Your help, may our lives serve good purposes. We praise G-d for helping the Jewish people have good intentions, good actions, and lives that contribute to the greater good. This is our redemption."

"Bless this year for us, O Lord our God, together with all the varieties of its produce, for our welfare. Bestow a blessing upon the face of the earth. O satisfy us with Your goodness, and bless our year like the best of years. Blessed are You, O Lord, who blesses the years."
It is a brilliant miracle that this world contains all we need for health and happiness. Help us to remember what we need to prosper in health and happiness, but help us refrain from excess. Let us pray that we are blessed with prosperity; living to our potential not as an individual, but as a community. May this year be the year that we remember this: whatever excess we take, we are denying another from their basic needs. We praise G-d for providing enough for all people, and for helping us achieve our highest potential as a global community.
Modern translation: "May this year be the year that we use our earth wisely, providing for every person and not taking more than we need. The earth provides, and we ask for the wisdom not to abuse this blessing for individual greed. Only if we smartly use our resources can we provide for all people. We praise G-d for a bountiful and resource-rich earth this year and every year."

Gathering exiles
"Sound the great shofar for our freedom, raise the ensign to gather our exiles, and gather us from the four corners of the earth. Blessed are You, O Lord, who gathers the dispersed of his people Israel." Throughout time, there have been forces trying to break apart the Jewish people and diminish their strength. The strength of the Jewish people is related to the strength of our communities. Let us not be second-class citizens in a country that that tries to diminish our strength; but call all of the Jewish nation to live in a place that allows the Jewish community to flourish and live freely. Modern translation: "Make it abundantly clear to all the Jews around the world that we reach our greatest potential within our community, and the Jewish people should not be complacent in allowing governments to oppress them where they live. Instead, let them be welcomed to places that do not prohibit the prosperity of the Jewish people. We praise G-d for allowing us to find communities to live in where we can openly and proudly be Jews."

"Let there be no hope for slanderers, and let all wickedness perish in an instant. May all Your enemies quickly be cut down, and may You soon in our day uproot, crush, cast down and humble the dominion of arrogance. Blessed are You, O Lord, who smashes enemies and humbles the arrogant." We pray that the meritless hate of bigots and anti-Semites be eradicated. We pray for the wisdom to act according to our values, and be a model for others. This way, the hateful dribble of these slanderers will meet deaf ears, and they will see the emptiness of their hate. Our actions should not be in reaction to their words, but in accordance with our values. This is the way to combat anti-Semitism. Modern translation: "Let us be a strong-willed and scrupulous people, and open the eyes of those who hate us to see our good intent and the hollowness of their hate. We praise G-d for helping people to see how unnecessary, unwarranted and all-consuming their blanket hate of Jews is. We praise G-d for equipping people with a mechanism for self-reflection and change."

"Return in mercy to Jerusalem Your city, and dwell in it as You have promised. Rebuild it soon in our day as an eternal structure, and quickly set up in it the throne of David. Blessed are You, O Lord, who rebuilds Jerusalem." Jerusalem represents the connection between today's living, thriving Jewish community, and our ancestors from ancient times. When you walk through the narrow streets of the Old City, you can allow yourself to feel the whole timeline of people who lived there. Modern translation: "Jerusalem is a symbol of strength for the Jewish people. We have thrived there in ancient times, and we thrive there today. We praise G-d for the gift and symbol to the Jewish people of a continually thriving Holy City."

"Speedily cause the offspring of Your servant David to flourish, and let him be exalted by Your saving power, for we wait all day long for Your salvation. Blessed are You, O Lord, who causes salvation to flourish." In all of the Jewish people, each individual is born with the potential to lead the people as King David lead his people. Each one of us can live to this potential, to be a leader within their own community, to serve in his or her greatest capacity. Modern translation: "As the offspring of our ancestors and of David Hamelech, may we all live to our greatest potential as leaders and kings and queens and messiahs in our own communities, families, and our own lives. Praise G-d for giving each individual potential and meaning."