Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan, Temple Beth Israel, York, PA
Sponsor: Rep. Todd Platts, (R-PA)
Date of Prayer: 02/07/2012
Mr. PLATTS. Mr. Speaker, I am honored to host our guest chaplain, Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan, to give today’s opening prayer. Rabbi Astrachan is here today to help honor the sacrifice of the four chaplains who gave their lives during the sinking of the troop ship Dorchester during World War II. This is especially significant because one of the four chaplains, Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, was once a rabbi with the same congregation in York, Pennsylvania, my hometown that Rabbi Astrachan now serves.
Along with the rabbi, I am pleased to take this opportunity to recognize the courageous sacrifice made 69 years ago by the four chaplains. The Dorchester was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland. Only 230 of the over–900 men on board survived. The survivors recounted the story of the heroic actions of the four chaplains of different faiths: Lieutenant Goode; Lieutenant John Washington, a Catholic priest; and Lieutenants George Fox and Clark Poling, two protestant ministers.
These four servants of God spent their last 18 minutes in this life helping their fellow passengers to safety. When there were no more life jackets to hand out, the chaplains removed their own and gave them to shipmates. They were last seen on the hull of the ship, arm–in–arm in prayer as the ship sank into the icy waters.
Chaplains Hill at Arlington National Cemetery is home to several memorials to chaplains. Last year, the United States House of Representatives adopted legislation to include a memorial to the 14 Jewish chaplains who gave their lives in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Today, we honor not just the four chaplains of the Dorchester, but the sacrifices and selflessness made by military chaplains of all faiths.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the incredible story of the USAT Dorchester’s four chaplains. The brave “immortal chaplains,” a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and two Protestant ministers, selflessly provided comfort and guidance to their interfaith community aboard the transport ship as it sunk into icy waters on February 3, 1943. These leaders of different faiths gave up their lifejackets and stood strong, singing prayers and hymns, sharing words of healing and peace as the ship went down.
We are so fortunate to have Rabbi Astrachan here with us today to help honor their sacred memory. Rabbi Astrachan currently serves the same congregation in York, Pennsylvania, where Rabbi Goode, one of the four chaplains, once served, continuing to honor his legacy.
The four chaplains, Reverend George Fox, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John Washington, and Reverend Clark Poling, serve as inspirations in their military service and their sacrifice for our country. Their quintessentially American tale of faith and courage now has an ending we can proudly commemorate, as all four of these men are honored and memorialized together on Chaplain’s Hill at Arlington National Cemetery.
For nearly 200 years, our Nation’s breathtaking military cemetery has been a place to honor all of America’s fallen soldiers, providing the sacred and majestic setting fitting to our Nation’s heroes. Thanks to the dedication of many of my colleagues, we now have monuments at Chaplain’s Hill to each of these faith groups, where we can honor their sacrifice together. This is a testament to the courage and commitment of all who have served our Nation in this way, and I am so honored to share in this observance with chaplains, members of the military, veterans, religious community advocates, family, and friends.
|Contribute a translation||Source (English)|
Almighty source of strength, peace and compassion,
I stand humbly before You
to ask Your blessing upon those who serve our great Nation,
to all who dedicate themselves to its prosperity and security.
Grant to each Member of this House
to look steadfastly
toward our future,
to labor earnestly
for the welfare of all,
and to consider wholeheartedly
of those who came before us,
who helped to preserve
the noblest ideals for which our Nation stands.
we consider the valor of those four Army chaplains
whose selfless acts of heroism 69 years ago
not only saved the lives of others,
but inspire us to serve in our own day
to continue our partnership
in Your ever–unfolding acts of creation on Earth.
May the memories of the four chaplains
and the ideals for which they lived
ever remain a blessing.
112th Congress, 2nd Session. Congressional Record, Issue: Vol. 158, No. 20 — Daily Edition (February 7, 2012)
“Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan on 7 February 2012” is shared through the Open Siddur Project with a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Steven Weil on 20 September 2012
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi David Algaze on 11 July 2012
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Joel Levenson on 10 July 2012
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Aaron Melman on 31 May 2012
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn on 24 May 2011
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Efrem Goldberg on 5 April 2011
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Irwin N. Goldenberg on 7 November 2007