Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Lawrence Sernovitz on 4 June 2019

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Lawrence R. Sernovitz, Nafshenu, Cherry Hill, NJ
Sponsor: Rep. Madeleine Dean, (D-PA)
Date of Prayer: 06/04/2019

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Ms. DEAN. Madam Speaker, I am delighted to welcome to this Chamber my close friend, Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, whom we have just heard offer us a beautiful, wise prayer.

I first met Rabbi Sernovitz in Abington, in my home district, where he served Temple–Beth Am. When I was first elected to public office as a township commissioner, it was Larry, it was the rabbi, who offered a powerful benediction that evening on the importance of education, social justice, humility, and courage. Larry has been a close friend and counselor ever since.

Through Larry’s rabbinical work, he has lifted his devotion to community, faith, and family. Larry lives the creed, “Love the stranger.”

As a founder of Nafshenu in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, he seeks to create a community that places people and their hopes and their dreams first.

Most importantly, Larry is a dedicated husband to Rebecca and a loving, steady dad to Sam, Daniella, and Eden, who join him today.

It brings me great joy to welcome my good friend Rabbi Larry Sernovitz and thank him for his wise prayer.


Contribute a translation English (source)

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Dear God,
benevolent, compassionate, and gracious;
abundant in loving kindness and truth;
forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin,[1]Cf. Exodus 34:6-7, Numbers 14:18.
be with us as we open this session
of the United States House of Representatives.

Guide these courageous individuals
to create holy space
where healthy debate is encouraged,
and the dignity
and autonomy of human beings
is respected
and loved.

Dear God,
let us remember that the world is not complete.
We are completing it.[2]Cf. Statement of Rabbi Tarfon in Pirqei Avot/Mishnah Avot, chapter 2.
In our brokenness, give us hope.
Let us build the world with love.[3]Psalms 89:3 part.
May the angels around us
open our hearts,
lift our spirits,
and give us the ability
to see ourselves in the other.
As our tradition teaches,
love the stranger as yourself.[4]Leviticus 19:34 part.

Dear God,
bless these Representatives with enough foolishness
to believe that they can make a difference in this world,
that they can do what others claim cannot be done,
bringing justice
and kindness
to our Earth,
to our children,
and to humanity.
The whole world is a narrow bridge.
The essence is not to be afraid.[5]ודע,‏ שהאדם צריך לעבור על גשר צר מאד מאד,‏ והכלל והעיקר שלא יתפחד כלל.‏ — רבי נחמן מברצלב, ‏ ליקוטי מוהר”ן ח”ב מ”ח “And know: a person must cross over an exceedingly narrow bridge; but the most essential thing is not to frighten yourself at all.” ~Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav, Liqutei Moharan II:48.

 
אָמֵן׃
And we say together,
amen.

Source(s)

116th Congress, 1st Session
Issue: Vol. 165, No. 93 — Daily Edition (June 4, 2019)

Link: https://chaplain.house.gov/chaplaincy/display_gc.html?id=2921

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Cf. Exodus 34:6-7, Numbers 14:18.
  2. Cf. Statement of Rabbi Tarfon in Pirqei Avot/Mishnah Avot, chapter 2.
  3. Psalms 89:3 part.
  4. Leviticus 19:34 part.
  5. ודע,‏ שהאדם צריך לעבור על גשר צר מאד מאד,‏ והכלל והעיקר שלא יתפחד כלל.‏ — רבי נחמן מברצלב, ‏ ליקוטי מוהר”ן ח”ב מ”ח “And know: a person must cross over an exceedingly narrow bridge; but the most essential thing is not to frighten yourself at all.” ~Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav, Liqutei Moharan II:48.

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