בסיעתא דשמיא

סידור עבודת ישראל | Siddur Aḅodath Yisrael, 2nd revised edition (1873) arranged by R’ Benjamin Szold and translated by R’ Marcus Jastrow

The siddur, Aḅodath Yisrael was first prepared for Temple Oheb Shalom (Baltimore, Maryland) by Rabbi Benjamin Szold (1829-1902). Before Szold’s arrival in 1859, the congregation had adopted for use in its Shabbat service the Minhag America by the Reform rabbi, Isaac Meyer Wise. After much discussion with his congregation Szold introduced Aḅodath Yisrael, which hewed more closely to traditional Ashkenazi custom. The first edition of this prayer-book appeared in 1863 with German translation, and was widely adopted by congregations in the United States. New editions were published in 1864 and 1865 (the latter with English translation), and another, revised edition in 1871, by Rabbis Marcus Jastrow of Philadelphia (1829-1903) and Henry Hochheimer of Baltimore (1818-1912). . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for Donald Trump by Rabbi Marvin Hier (2017)

Rabbi Marvin Hier offered this prayer of blessing for “President” Donald Trump and the United States of America on January 20, 2017 at the inauguration day ceremony. . . .

Prayer for the United States Government by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz (2017)

Because of my commitment to the integrity of prayer, starting this week, I can no longer recite or say amen to the Shabbat prayer for the success of the U.S. President.

So I have drafted a new prayer that I will plan to recite each Shabbat morning. If you also feel it’s important to pray . . .

Prayer at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by Rabbi Uri Miller, August 28, 1963

Prayer delivered by Rabbi Uri Miller, President of the Synagogue Council of America, at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963 . . .

MLK Day | Readings from the Speeches and Letters of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Selections from speeches and letters by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. read in ecumenical services for Martin Luther King Day in the United States. . . .

Benediction at the Democratic National Convention by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld (2016)

The full text of Rabbi Julie Schonfeld’s benediction offered at the end of the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25th, 2016. . . .

תפילה לשלום המלכות | Prayer for the Welfare of George Washington, George Clinton, and the 13 States of America by Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen (1784)

Prayers recited on special occasions and thus not part of the fixed liturgy offered America’s foremost Jewish congregation far greater latitude for originality in prayer. At such services, particularly when the prayers were delivered in English and written with the knowledge that non-Jews would hear them, leaders of Shearith Israel often dispensed with the traditional prayer for the government and substituted revealing new compositions appropriate to the concerns of the day. A prayer composed in 1784 (in this case in Hebrew) by the otherwise unknown Rabbi (Cantor?) Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, for example, thanked God who “in His goodness prospered our warfare.” Mentioning by name both Governor George Clinton and General George Washington, the rabbi prayed for peace and offered a restorationist Jewish twist on the popular idea of America as “redeemer nation”: “As Thou hast granted to these thirteen states of America everlasting freedom,” he declared, “so mayst Thou bring us forth once again from bondage into freedom and mayst Thou sound the great horn for our freedom.” . . .

A Prayer for Justice, Blessing, and Praise on Shabbat Shoftim by Virginia Spatz

“Does joy come in the morning, where weeping has not tarried for the night? Can we dance together, if we have not yet joined in lament?” This prayer is a kavanah for the morning blessings, using language and images from the prayer “Mah Tovu” [how lovely are your tents] commonly recited in the early morning blessings. Offered with special intention for the healing of Congress Heights, Capitol View, and other neighborhoods in Washington, DC, rocked by persistent violence. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin (1969)

This prayer by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1969. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Lyndon B. Johnson by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel (1965)

This prayer by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel, Congregation Beth Israel (Houston, Texas), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1965. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Ronald Reagan by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk (1985)

This prayer by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk at the second inauguration of President Ronald Reagan was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 21, 1985. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Seymour Siegel (1973)

This prayer by Rabbi Seymour Siegel at the second inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1973. . . .

Inauguration Day Benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck (1961)

This benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1961. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein (1957)

This prayer at the second inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein, chancellor, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1957. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver (1953)

This prayer by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, of Cleveland, Ohio, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1953. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Harry S. Truman by Rabbi Samuel Thurman (1949)

This prayer by Rabbi Samuel Thurman, of the United Hebrew Temple (St. Louis, Missouri), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1949. . . .

Pew Study of American Jewry: A Few Grains of Salt by Dr. Samuel Klausner

We are honored to share a paper of the eminent sociologist of American Jewry, Dr. Samuel Klausner. In this paper, Dr. Klausner presents his observations of the Pew Study of American Jewry (2013). Dr. Klausner writes: “Why have so many of my sociologist friends and leaders of the American Jewish community accepted the Pew report findings at face value? A Portrait of Jewish Americans has received wide attention. An article appeared in the Forward and Arnold Eisen discussed it in his blog. My list serv from the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ) has had a running discussion of both findings and methods. Recently, I received a Board Briefing from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture which describes the report as “important and impartial.” The subtext of “impartial” may account for some of the uncritical impact of the findings. Pew has published ‘raw’ numbers, unexplained summaries of interview responses. The results evoked skepticism in this reader. An examination of how these results were obtained, a methodological critique, confirmed my skepticism.” . . .

Prayer for Thanksgivukah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

May the next Thanksgivukkah be a time of health and abundance for all of you who will receive the world from our hands. May we together find away to make sure that there is health and wealth and beauty not just for our family, not just for the Jewish people and humanity, but for all living creatures who share this planet with us. May the One bless us with the power and wisdom to birth a society that shows love to the world around us, that lives with love towards all beings. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Prayer for United States Military War Veterans by Hinda Tzivia Eisen

May He who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless [names of veterans present, and] all those who have fought in the military on behalf of our country, the United States of America, in every time and era, in every place. Bless all of our soldiers that they should be successful, for good, in all of their endeavors; strengthen them and invigorate them. May it be Your will, YHVH our God and God of our ancestors, that our land should be a blessing to all the inhabitants of the world. Immerse us in friendship and freedom, and foster among us true peace, that we might bring about the words written by the hand of Your prophet: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” And let us say: Amen. . . .

על הניסים | Prayers for Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day in the United States

With this in mind, I want to invite all Jews in North America that celebrate the secular/national holiday of Thanksgiving to consider what might be a thoughtful prayer on this day. For the few hundred years that our people have been here, as refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and as immigrants simply seeking better fortunes in a safer land, this Land has been a sanctuary. At the same time, even through the storied travails of our immediate ancestors, we cannot ignore the suffering endured by the indigenous peoples of this land who, first by devastating plague, and later through intentional acts of dispossession were murdered, massacred, forcibly displaced, and assimilated (forbidden to speak their language, separated from their families, made ignorant of their traditions) — experiences that must resonate with our own historical experience in the Diaspora. It seems immoral and obscene to me to be thankful without also being mindful of this complexity — how the fruits we enjoy in this Land have a rotten and dramatic history that we, now as residents of this continent, must at least consider in our prayers of thanksgiving. . . .

Prayer for the Government in honor of George Washington, First President of the United States of America by K.K. Beit Shalome (1789)

The following prayer for the government was composed by Congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia in 1789. Please note the acrostic portion of the prayer in which the initial letters of the succeeding lines form the name: Washington. . . .

Memorial Prayer for Abraham Lincoln by Isaac Goldstein the Levite (1865)

Exalted are you Lincoln. Who is like you! You were highly respected among Kings and Princes. All that you accomplished you did with a humble spirit. You are singular and cannot be compared to anyone else. Who among the great are like Lincoln? Who can be praised like you? . . .

תפילה ל-11 בספטמבר | Memorial Prayer for those whose lives were lost on September 11th, 2001 by Rabbi Gilah Langner

Avinu she-ba-shamayim, our Parent in heaven, v’Ruaḥ kol basar, the Spirit of all that lives, We turn toward You as we recall today with sorrow and honor those who lost their lives ten years ago, and those who gave their lives -– as passengers, firemen, and rescuers –- so that others might live. Grant their souls continuing rest in the shelter of eternity. And grant to us peace and fortitude in the years ahead, that we may restore a sense of trust and security to this great land, that we may be guided not by fear or terror, but by strength and understanding, holding fast to our ideals and upholding our highest values. Guard our comings and our goings in peace, now and always, Amen. . . .

תפלה בעד שלום המדינה | Prayer for the Welfare of the State by Avraham Hyman Charlap (1916)

Please, God Adonai, Who creates the skies and drapes them over the earth, Who spreads out the earth and its descendants, Who grants life to its nations, and vigor to those who walk upon it, You positioned borders on earth and sustained sovereigns and states. These United States, too, Your hands arranged. They began in distress, but through Your great and abundant kindness, have grown like a cedar in Lebanon, adding vitality, strength, and success with each generation. America’s wings stretch from sea to shining sea, and over far islands. Like the sun at its zenith, it lights the world and its inhabitants with laws and ordinances good and upright, righteous and fair. . . .

A Prayer for Voting by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This prayer is broadly speaking a prayer that we learn to work together to create a better future, and it incorporates a pledge to do one thing for healing the world, for tikkun olam, that will make this future a reality. It’s not a prayer about winning or getting other people to see things our way, like some of the others I’ve seen. Whomever we support (I am supporting Obama), we need to pray for strength for the next president, and for the whole country, to face what will be challenging times. . . .

תפלה בעד הממשׁלה | A Prayer for the Government by Louis Ginzberg (1927)

Our God and God of our ancestors: Accept with mercy our prayer for our land and its government. Pour out your blessing on this land, on its President, judges, officers and officials, who work faithfully for the public good. Teach them from the laws of Your Torah, enlighten them with the rules of Your justice, so that peace, tranquility, happiness and freedom will never depart from our land. God of all that lives, please bestow Your spirit on all the inhabitants of our land, and plant love, fellowship, peace and friendship between the different communities and faiths that dwell here. Uproot from their hearts all hate, animosity, jealousy and strife, in order to fulfill the longings of its people, who aspire for its dignity, and desire to see it as a light for all nations. . . .


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