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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Karl Applbaum on 26 February 1970

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Karl Applbaum, Avenue “M” Jewish Center, Brooklyn, New York
Sponsor: Rep. Joseph P. Addabbo (D-NY), Rep. Seymour Lionel Halpern (R-NY)
Date of Prayer: 26 February 1970

Mr. ADDABBO. Mr. Speaker, the House of Representatives was honored today by the presence of Dr. Karl Applbaum, rabbi of the Avenue M Jewish Center in Brooklyn, New York, who delivered the opening prayer. Rabbi Applbaum is a resident of Flushing, New York where he is a highly respected leader of the Queens community.

Our distinguished colleague from New York (Mr. Hatrern) had the privilege of inviting Dr. Applbaum to be with us today and I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of the Queens delegation and of my other colleagues in the House for his appearance.

Rabbi Applbaum was born 60 years ago in a small town in Hungary. The Applbaum family—then Apfebaum—boasted a long line of distinguished rabbis, scholars, authors, and philosophers, and Karl began his study of the Bible at the age of 5. In 1930 the family moved to Brooklyn and today three Applbaum brothers are practicing rabbis while the senior Rabbi Emanuel Applbaum, age 84, continues his work as rabbi of the Avenue M Jewish Center, an outstanding orthodox pulpit in Flatbush.

Dr. Applbaum is an attorney admitted to practice in the State of New York and since 1938 he has served as a supervisor to the Department of Social Services of the City of New York on a number of assignments. Rabbi Applbaum has been quite active in a number of veterans organizations. He has served the Jewish War Veterans as Queens County chaplain since 1962 and has served in a similar capacity to the American Legion, Queens County chapter.

Rabbi Applbaum has been national chaplain to the Reserve Officers Association of the United States after serving the Queens chapter for 20 years. In addition Dr. Applbaum is now serving as president, Long Island chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army.

The list of Rabbi Applbaum’s other activities on behalf of Judaism and on behalf of the Queens community is too long to enumerate. I deemed it a privilege and pleasure to have worked with Rabbi Applbaum on a number of community projects during these past 12 years. I have the greatest respect for him and I congratulate him on the completion of 35 years in the rabbinate.

Mr. HALPERN. Mr. Speaker, the House has just been privileged to have its opening prayer delivered by Rabbi Dr. Karl Applbaum, an outstanding spiritual leader, a noted constituent, a vigorous and effective community leader in Queens, New York, and my beloved friend.

Dr. Applbaum is celebrating his 35th anniversary in the rabbinate this month, and has been honored to deliver the invocation on three previous occasions in the House of Representatives, each time marking an anniversary of Israel.

He is the spiritual leader of the Avenue M Jewish Center in Brooklyn, whose pulpit he has shared for many years with his father, Rabbi Emanuel Applbaum, the senior rabbi of the congregation, who this month is celebrating his 60th anniversary in the rabbinate. This learned spiritual leader, who is honoring us this morning, is also marking his retirement as chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserve this month, after devoting 25 years to this valuable public service.

It is significant to note that this learned rabbi comes from a family of dedicated rabbis. Indeed his brother Sidney has also had the honor of delivering an invocation in the other body. I should add a meaningful note that this event was simultaneous with the delivery of the opening prayer in this House by our guest today. This unique event of two brothers opening both Houses of Congress with prayers on the same day occurred most significantly on the 18th anniversary of the State of Israel. A third brother, Rabbi Martin L. Applbaum, is the highly respected spiritual leader of the Garden Jewish Center in Flushing.

Under special order later today further tribute will be paid to Dr. Applbaum by me and other colleagues. I will ask unanimous consent that all Members be granted five legislative days to include their remarks.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Almighty God,
ruler of the universe
and creator of mankind,
I deem it a great honor and privilege
to invoke Thy name in this august body,
the Members of the House of Representatives
of these United States of America.
As these men and women are assembled here
to legislate for our country
and provide for its welfare,
bless them I pray Thee,
for they have been selected by their peers
to enact the laws by which we live
and by which our great democracy functions.
Bless them with strength of character
and perseverance of purpose
to work on behalf of peace, justice, and prosperity.
May they ever be guided by altruistic motives and sincerity.
Bless further, I pray Thee, O God,
the President of these United States
upon whom rests a heavy burden
to satisfy all diverse elements
in his constituency.
The task which he has undertaken
is most demanding.
He needs Thy help, O God,
so that he might steer our ship of state
through the turbulent waters
of conflict, misunderstanding,
war, and inflation,
and bring it to the shores
of love, understanding,
and happiness.
And lastly, O God,
bless and guide the inhabitants of this land,
unite them all,
on the Right and the Left,
the young and old,
the rich and poor,
the sick and well,
into a brotherhood of man,
to appreciate the beauty of freedom,
the greatness of our American heritage
nurtured in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
May we reject conflict and strife
and dwell together in peace and harmony
for the betterment of all.
הִנֵּה מַה־טּוֹב וּמַה־נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אַחִים גַּם־יָחַד׃ (תהלים קלג:א)
May we in our own day
see the fulfillment of that ancient Hebrew dream
Hinei mah tov umanoim shevet aḥim gum yaḥad
“How good and sweet it is for brethren to dwell together in harmony.” (Psalms 133:1)
May this decade see the fulfillment of all our dreams—
the maturity that is capable of receiving the light
and fully assuming the responsibility
that Thou dost entrust to us.

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the second month of the second session of the 91st US Congress in the House of Representatives, and published in the Congressional Record, vol. 116, part 4 (1970), page 5985.


Congressional Record-House, vol. 116, part 4, (26 February 1970), p. 5985




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