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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Laurence A. Kotok on 2 May 1979

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Laurence A. Kotok, North Country Reform Temple, Glen Cove, New York
Sponsor: Rep. Jerome Ambro (D-NY)
Date of Prayer: 2 May 1979

Mr. AMBRO. Mr. Speaker, it is my great privilege and pleasure this afternoon to introduce Rabbi Laurence A. Kotok to my colleagues here in the House of Representatives. Rabbi Kotok is the spiritual leader of the North Country Reform Temple in Glen Cove, N.Y.

A native of West Orange, N.J., Rabbi Kotok received his B.A. degree from Rutgers University in 1967. He then attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati where he received his ordination and an MHL degree in 1972. He served as an assistant rabbi in Temple Sinai in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., before coming to the North Country Reform Temple in 1974.

Active in the Long Island religious community, Rabbi Kotok is the incoming president of the Long Island Association of Reform Rabbis, vice president of the Long Island Board of Rabbis, chairman of the Glen Cove Jewish Presidents Council, and a board member of the National Religious School Committee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations’ Commission of Jewish Education, among many other affiliations.

Rabbi Kotok has a long history of involvement in the social concerns of the secular community dating back to his student days and continuing to the present time. Since coming to Long Island, he has immersed himself in the totality of the community, serving first as the vice president of the Roslyn Ministerial Association, and then as president of the Glen Cove Inter-Agency Council—an umbrella agency for numerous social action and human needs organizations—as a board member of the Senior Health and Counseling Inter-Agency Council, on the Glen Cove Community Development Advisory Board, just to name a few. In all of these positions, Rabbi Kotok has worked with unceasing and selfless dedication to add dignity and hope to the lives of the less fortunate citizens of his community.

Mr. Speaker, there is not a Member of this House who is not aware that today we celebrate the 31st anniversary of the modern State of Israel. That celebration, both joyous and solemn, has been fittingly initiated this afternoon by Rabbi Kotok’s meaningful and inspiring invocation. I know that as the session unfolds, many of my colleagues will join me here on the House floor to commemorate this auspicious occasion and to wish a hearty “Mazel Tov” to our good friends in Israel during this birthday celebration.

At this moment, as we begin the day’s session, I am proud, on behalf of all of the Members of the House of Representatives, to welcome Rabbi Kotok, his charming wife, family, and the members of his congregation to our midst.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו
Our God and God of all generations.
God of peace and understanding,
source of life and blessing.
We stand this day
torn between conflicting emotions,
between sorrow and joy.
Sorrow as we have just observed Yom HaShoah—
the day of memorial
for the six million Jews
and five million Christians
who were the victims of the Holocaust.
And yet we feel joy
as today we celebrate Israel Independence Day,
this the 31st anniversary of the State of Israel
reborn out of the ashes and destruction of the Holocaust.
We pray this day
that our world will never again allow
the horror of the Holocaust.
That Israel and her people
may experience the blessings
of peace and security,
shared within the community
of democratic ideals and dreams.
May we as members of a world community
have the strength and understanding
to not only speak of peace,
but truly take an active role
in the creation of peace.
We pray that these United States
will continue to be a beacon of hope and peace,
and that we might have the fortitude and commitment
to sacrifice and to strive for that freedom
that allows peace to exist in our world.
כן יהי רצון
Thus may it be so.

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the fourth month of the first session of the 96th US Congress in the House of Representatives, and published in the Congressional Record, vol. 125, part 8 (2 May 1979), p. 9527. The prayer was delivered in the context of the 31st anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.


Congressional Record, vol. 125, part 8 (2 May 1979), p. 9527




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