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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Mara Nathan on 19 January 2018

https://opensiddur.org/?p=20000 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Mara Nathan on 19 January 2018 2018-04-29 01:08:39 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 19 January 2018. Text the Open Siddur Project United States Congressional Record United States Congressional Record Mara Nathan https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ United States Congressional Record https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/105 United States of America Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies Prayers of Guest Chaplains תחינות teḥinot 21st century C.E. 58th century A.M. English vernacular prayer House of Representatives 115th Congress

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Mara Nathan, Temple Beth-El, San Antonio, TX
Sponsor: Rep. Joaquin Castro, (D-TX)
Date of Prayer: 01/19/2018

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. CASTRO of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize our congressional prayer leader today, Rabbi Mara Nathan, and thank her for being here.

Rabbi Nathan began her tenure at Temple Beth–El in San Antonio in July 2014, where she was the first woman to serve as senior rabbi of a major congregation in the State of Texas.

At Temple Beth–El, Rabbi Nathan spent her time contributing to her congregation through community building, worship innovation, and teaching Torah to learners of all ages.

Prior to being ordained in 2000 by the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, she received a bachelor of arts degree in history as well as certificates in Jewish studies and women’s studies from Northwestern University in 1993.

During her studies, she was a recipient of the Steinhardt Fellowship, a scholarship awarded to rabbinical students to further informal education with teens and college–age students, and received academic awards for Hebrew, history, and Talmudic studies.

Before coming to San Antonio, Rabbi Nathan served almost 20 years at Larchmont Temple in New York, from 1994 to 2014, playing an instrumental role in all aspects of congregational life, including spiritual worship, ritual, and teaching.

We are happy to have Rabbi Nathan; her husband, Larry; and their children, Isaac, Solomon, and Miriam, in the San Antonio community.

Thank you, Rabbi, for your words of inspiration.


Contribute a translation Source (English)

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Holy One of blessing,
You are the source of all.
Regardless of our faith traditions,
we recognize a force in the universe
calling each of us to fulfill our potential.

We challenge ourselves
to compensate for our shortcomings
and emphasize our talents and energies
for the greater good.
We dedicate ourselves,
each in our own way,
to a life of service and meaning.
Committed to the ideals of our great Nation,
we are ever working towards the promise
of what is still yet to be.

Therefore,
we pray that You bestow
the blessings of foresight,
compassion,
and patience
upon the women and men of our Congress.
May they be united in working for the good of our Nation,
and may they recognize
the spark of holiness
in every human being.[1] Possibly a reference to the tselem elohim — the divine likeness in Genesis 1:26-27. The scholar Rabbi Louis Jacobs (1920-2006), on the history of the popular belief in innate divine sparks within all of us: “The belief that there is a special mystical ‘spark’ in every human breast can be traced back, in western mysticism, at least to Jerome in the fourth century. Both Bonaventura and Bernard of Clairvaux speak of this mystical organ; the latter, calling it scintillula, a small spark of the soul, and speaking of the nearness of God, said: ‘Angels and archangels are within us, but He is more truly our own who is not only with us but in us.’ However, both these mystics are anxious to prevent an identification of this mystical spark with the divine. Eckhart, on the other hand, embraces the identification, calling the spark, among other endearing names, das Kleidhaus Gottes, ‘the house in which God attires Himself ’. This and other pantheistic tendencies in Eckhart’s thought were condemned in the papal Bull of 1529…” (in “The Doctrine of the ‘Divine Spark’ in Man in Jewish Sources” Studies in Rationalism, Judaism and Universalism, ed. Raphael Loewe (Humanities: 1966) 87-114.) Belief in this innate divine spark in each person is important in the theology of George Fox (1624-1691) and presents an important point of connection underscoring social justice movements among both Jews and Friends (i.e., Quakers). 

Bless our leaders
with strong minds
and open hearts,
ever ready to serve
with integrity,
purpose,
and honor.
Amen.

Source(s)

115th Congress, 2nd Session
Issue: Vol. 164, No. 12 — Daily Edition (January 19, 2018)

Link: https://chaplain.house.gov/chaplaincy/display_gc.html?id=2672

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Notes

Notes
1 Possibly a reference to the tselem elohim — the divine likeness in Genesis 1:26-27. The scholar Rabbi Louis Jacobs (1920-2006), on the history of the popular belief in innate divine sparks within all of us: “The belief that there is a special mystical ‘spark’ in every human breast can be traced back, in western mysticism, at least to Jerome in the fourth century. Both Bonaventura and Bernard of Clairvaux speak of this mystical organ; the latter, calling it scintillula, a small spark of the soul, and speaking of the nearness of God, said: ‘Angels and archangels are within us, but He is more truly our own who is not only with us but in us.’ However, both these mystics are anxious to prevent an identification of this mystical spark with the divine. Eckhart, on the other hand, embraces the identification, calling the spark, among other endearing names, das Kleidhaus Gottes, ‘the house in which God attires Himself ’. This and other pantheistic tendencies in Eckhart’s thought were condemned in the papal Bull of 1529…” (in “The Doctrine of the ‘Divine Spark’ in Man in Jewish Sources” Studies in Rationalism, Judaism and Universalism, ed. Raphael Loewe (Humanities: 1966) 87-114.) Belief in this innate divine spark in each person is important in the theology of George Fox (1624-1691) and presents an important point of connection underscoring social justice movements among both Jews and Friends (i.e., Quakers).
 

 

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