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Prayer on the Anniversary of Temple Israel, by Rabbi Roland Gittlesohn (ca. 1960)


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Our God and God of Our Fathers:
We stand before Thee gratefully and humbly
on this anniversary of our congregation’s existence.
We are thankful for so much.
For the vision and courage
of those intrepid men and women
who foresaw the need for such a congregation as this
and the possibility of its growth.
For the devotion and strength
of those whose leadership and labor through the years
have brought the dream of our founders to abundant fulfillment.
For the generous support
of all who have provided the sinews and substance
without which our achievement would not have been possible.
But we do not boast of our accomplishment, Lord, God.
We do not pretend that our strength
or the power of our hand alone
has brought us this success.
It is Thy spirit
which has inspired us
and Thy great strength
which has moved and sustained us.
We pray that it may ever be so.
May we overcome
whatever obstacles and discouragements
obstruct the path upward toward Thee
as the Goal of our lives.
Like Aaron and Hur of old,
who upheld the weary arms of Moses
that the people of Israel might triumph,
so may we the members of this congregation
ever uphold the hearts and hands of all who lead and guide us.
Grateful for the accomplishment of the past, O Lord,
we pray that in the future too
we may continue to merit the success
which can come only through Thy blessing.
May the ties between Rabbi and people
be deepened and strengthened.
And may love unite us more firmly:
the love of each other here;
the love of our fellow-Jews everywhere;
the love of all humanity;
and above and beyond all that, O Lord,
the deathless love of Thee.

“Temple Anniversary Prayer” by Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn was written sometime between 1953 and 1962, likely for Temple Israel (Boston, Massachusetts), where he served from 1953 until 1977. Unfortunately, no more information was provided by Rabbi David Bial in his anthology, An Offering of Prayer (1962), p. 52, from where this prayer was transcribed. If you know more, please leave a comment or contact us.






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