Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Mark Schiftan on 20 June 2018

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Mark Schiftan, Congregation Ohabai Sholom, Nashville, TN
Sponsor: Rep. Jim Cooper, (D-TN)
Date of Prayer: 06/20/2018

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, the opening prayer today was given by Rabbi Mark Schiftan of Nashville, the senior rabbi of the oldest and largest Jewish congregation in middle Tennessee. The congregation dates back to 1851, when the Vine Street Temple began worship services in downtown Nashville, even before the Civil War.

Rabbi Schiftan has led today’s temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom, for nearly 20 years and is well known and beloved in our community.

His family escaped the Holocaust from Vienna, Austria, fleeing first to Shanghai, China, and then to San Francisco.

Rabbi Schiftan was educated at San Francisco State University, the Hebrew Union [College] of Los Angeles, and then was ordained at the Hebrew Union [College] of Cincinnati.

Under Rabbi Schiftan’s leadership, the temple has been the indispensable religious and cultural institution for all of middle Tennessee.

I would like to personally thank the rabbi for his strong leadership in our community, for our personal friendship, and for opening the House with prayer today.


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Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

God
bless this land
and all its inhabitants,
this land built on foundations we may call our own,
pledged to law and freedom,
to equality and harmony,
haven for the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

We and you who lead us
are a nation of immigrants.
Each of us,
all of us,
are here
because of the individually and mutually inspired hopes and dreams
of those who came before us,
those who often fled persecution
to find safe haven on this Nation’s shores
for them
and for future generations that follow them,
including each and every one of us.

More than any other instruction in the Bible
is the sacred reminder to embrace the stranger,[1]See Rachel Farbiarz, “Treatment of the Stranger: Our existential relationship to our ancestors and how we learn empathy
to love the newcomer
as much or even more than the native born.
May we,
may you who lead us,
do just that.

Help us, O God,
to fulfill the promise of America.
May we and you who lead us
be true to this land and its traditions.
Renew in all of us a zeal for justice,
tempered always with mercy.
Awaken within us compassion
so we may enter upon the future
with restored vision
and dedicated afresh
to a proud destiny for all.

Amen.

Source(s)

115th Congress, 2nd Session
Issue: Vol. 164, No. 103 — Daily Edition (June 20, 2018)

Link: https://chaplain.house.gov/chaplaincy/display_gc.html?id=2751

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