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Prayer for the Government of the United States of America, by Rabbi Norman Salit (1927)

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Our God and the God of our fathers,
we beseech you this day
to bless our adopted country,
Grant unto it the precious gift of Americanism.
Prevent it from losing its own soul.
Cause it not to wander in the paths of other peoples.
Make it ever loyal to those proud principles
of liberty
of thought,
of conscience,
and of action
with which it so bravely began its career as a nation.

In a world seeking desperately for deliverance
from the nightmare of passion and prejudice,
of oppression and bureaucracy,
make this country to be the leader of liberal thought
and of broad human sympathies.
Purge our land from every hate of soul,
from every lust of plutocracy,
from every intolerance of bigotry
and narrowness of vision.
Make our leaders conscious of the fact
that to be mindful of any group only,
instead of all our inhabitants,
is to be guilty of nothing less than treason
to the genius and to the people of our country.

Restore to this country, O Lord,
its dearest possession, namely:
its pure reliance,—
not upon might or upon power,—
not upon the might of the sword or the power of gold,—
but upon Thine own spirit—
and cause all Thy people Israel within this country’s borders
to remember and to understand
that we need not be less the Jew in order to be more the American,
but rather that we can never be more American
than when are most the Jew.

This prayer is the fourth in “Prayers for the Country and Government” in Rabbi Jacob Bosniak’s collection of tehinot, Likutei Tefilot (1927). I have replaced most archaisms (Thou, hast, etc.). –Aharon Varady



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