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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Alex J. Goldman on 20 April 1961

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Alex J. Goldman, West Oak Lane Jewish Community Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sponsor: Rep. Herman Toll (D-PA)
Date of Prayer: 20 April 1961

Mr. TOLL. Mr. Speaker, today is the 13th birthday of the State of Israel. Traditionally in Jewish chronology the 13th birthday is the day marking the growth into adulthood. The State of Israel has attained maturity not only in years. The population has increased from 790,000 to 2,128,000. Industrial production is now over a billion dollars. Exports are over a quarter of a billion, and imports over a half a billion. Agricultural production is $183 million. In 1960 a fieet of 53 ships handled 445,000 tons of cargo. Elementary school education to 600,000 students, and Israel has now over 22,000 teachers.

In the House today a distinguished rabbi of my district, Alex J. Goldman, the spiritual leader of the West Oak Lane Jewish Community Center, has delivered the opening prayer calling attention to this anniversary. The Philadelphia Zionist Council, in conjunction with the city of Philadelphia, has scheduled a celebration luncheon at the Warwick Hotel on Sunday, April 23, in honor of His Excellency, Michael S. Comay, Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations. Immediately following the luncheon a public celebration will be held at Independence Hall. The members of the Philadelphia congressional delegation will participate in this observance, and the Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Honorable John Morgan Davis, will join with the Ambassador in commemorating Israel’s bar mitzvah anniversary.

The chairman of the Philadelphia Zionist Council is the distinguished spiritual leader of the Germantown Jewish Community Center, Rabbi Elias Charry, of my district. The chairman of the Independence Hall celebration is an outstanding leader of the Philadelphia bar, Herbert S. Levin, Esq.

I hope that at the next celebration of Israel’s birthday I will be able to include a statement that Israel has been able to establish peace with her neighbors.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Upon meeting great leaders we are bidden to say:[1] Find Berakhot 58a.8 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ
מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
שֶׁנָּתַן מֵחׇכְמָתוֹ
לְבָשָׂר וָדָם׃
Barukh attah
Adonoi Elohenu
melekh ha’olam
shenatan meḥakhmato
l’vasar vadam
Blessed art Thou,
O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
who hast shared of Thine divine wisdom
with mortal man.[2] lit. “flesh and blood” 
אַתָּה חוֹנֵן לְאָדָם דַּעַת
Atta ḥonayn l’adam daat:
O Thou who endowest man
with wisdom and understanding
we look to Thee
for knowledge,
and guidance in the work of our hands.
Gird us with strength,
courage, and determination
as we deliberate the destiny of our land.
Strengthen the chords of our hearts
that we may, with all our might,
strive to achieve the noble principles
upon which America rests.
Pour forth Thy manifold blessings
upon the President of these United States,
the Vice President,
the Speaker and Representatives
of this great House of service,
and upon all chosen to lead our Nation.
חָנֵּנוּ מֵאִתְּךָ
Ḥanenu meitkha [3] lit. “Endow us from your…” 
do Thou, Heavenly Father,
instruct and teach them
out of Thy law,
that they may continue to serve
Thee, our citizens, and all mankind
with distinction, glory, and honor.
Inspire our people,
all over the land,
to encourage,
and strengthen
the work of their hands
and their minds.
Unite us all, we pray Thee,
into a brotherhood of peoples—
a brotherhood true, sure,
and constant.
May all the nations of the world
perceive and know
the meaning and blessing
of peace.
May they,
with America at the forefront,
lead the effort
to bring peace and security,
freedom and understanding,
to all mankind.
May Israel,
as she celebrates her 13 years of independence this day,
ever cherish the principles
upon which democracy is founded.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord,
who wilt lead us to the day of peace.
In Thee we place our trust.

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the fourth month of the first session of the 87th US Congress in the House of Representatives, and published in the Congressional Record, vol. 107, part 5 (20 April 1961), page 6455.


Congressional Record, vol. 107, part 5 (20 April 1961), p. 6455

Congressional Record, vol. 107, part 5 (20 April 1961), p. 6456



1Find Berakhot 58a.8
2lit. “flesh and blood”
3lit. “Endow us from your…”



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