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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum on 8 February 1977

https://opensiddur.org/?p=54093 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum on 8 February 1977 2024-02-04 15:17:50 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 8 February 1977. Text the Open Siddur Project Irving Usher Kirshblum Irving Usher Kirshblum United States Congressional Record https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Irving Usher Kirshblum https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies United States of America 20th century C.E. תחינות teḥinot 58th century A.M. English vernacular prayer U.S. House of Representatives Prayers of Guest Chaplains 95th Congress
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum, Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills, Flushing, New York
Date of Prayer: 8 February 1977
Sponsor: Rep. Benjamin Stanley Rosenthal (D-NY)

Mr. ROSENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, it is a great honor for me and for the people of my district that today’s prayer was offered by Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum of the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, N.Y.

Rabbi Kirshblum is serving his 31st year as spiritual leader of the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills and as a leader of the Queens community. His synagogue is an active and respected focus of religious as well as secular activity.

A graduate of Brooklyn College, he was ordained by Dr. Stephen S. Wise of the Jewish Institute of Religion in 1944. He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1971 from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

He is past president of the Queens Rabbinical Assembly and of the Long Island Zionist Region. Six times he was a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, in 1951, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972.

The Jewish National Fund has honored Rabbi Kirshblum by dedicatng a forest in his name in Israel, and in 1963 the Kew Gardens Hills chapter and lodge of B’nai B’rith named him Man of the Year.

He serves the Queens region of the National Conference of Christians and Jews as a member of its board of directors and cochairman of its religious advisory committee. He also is the current president of the Queens Interfaith Clergy Council.

In recognition of Rabbi Kirshblum’s community leadership, Mayor Abraham Beame, like all New York mayors since William O’Dwyer, has reappointed him to the Queens Borough Public Library board of trustees. He is also a former president of the library.

Then Governor Rockefeller named Rabbi Kirshblum to the advisory committee of the Office for the Aging in 1971, a year after Mayor Lindsay appointed him to the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Committee. He also is a member of the Queens Committee for Juvenile Justice.

I wish to thank Rabbi Kirshblum for his prayer and for his appearance here today. Throughout his life, this dedicated man has given of himself fully and selflessly to his faith, to his congregation, and to his community. I am proud that I can call him not only my constituent but also my friend.

Mr. ADDABBO. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. ROSENTHAL. I yield to my colleague from New York.

Mr. ADDABBO. Mr. Speaker, I wish also to commend Rabbi Kirshblum, who has done so much, as the gentleman in the well has pointed out, not only in spiritual matters in our community, but also for all our people no matter what their religion might be.

With his great warmth and feelings for people, he has made our community a better place in which to live.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Heavenly Father,
before we begin our deliberations,
we bow our heads in prayer to Thee.
We thank Thee
for the opportunity and privilege
to serve our country.
May Thy spirit
of wisdom and understanding,
of counsel and might,
of knowledge of and reverence for Thee
rest upon us always.
May we always
feel the emotions,
think the thoughts,
and perform the deeds
that are befitting to us
as Americans.
Help us keep our country true
to the principles upon which she was founded,
to her passion for freedom and democracy,
and her love for the downtrodden and forlorn.
May hate, strife, and godlessness
cease to divide the family of mankind
so that justice and love
may reign supreme in the world.

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered near the beginning of the first session of the 95th US Congress. The source images of the prayer were copied by Howard Mortman and shared via his @CongressRabbi Twitter account. All credit to Howard Mortman for his research in digging up this prayer. Unfortunately, neither the source images nor his tweets provide an exact citation reference to the volume, issue, and page number of the Congressional Record in which the prayer was published. If you know, leave a comment, or contact us.


Prayer of the Guest Chaplain (I. Usher Kirshblum, 8 February 1977)




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