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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Morris M. Hershman on 1 February 1983

https://opensiddur.org/?p=54335 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Morris M. Hershman on 1 February 1983 2024-02-19 15:10:04 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 1 February 1983. Text the Open Siddur Project Morris M. Hershman United States Congressional Record Morris M. Hershman https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Morris M. Hershman 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 98th Congress athletics gridiron football
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Morris M. Hershman, the Joliet Jewish Congregation, Joliet, Illinois
Date of Prayer: 1 February 1983
Sponsor: Rep. George Miller O’Brien (R-Il)

Mr. OBRIEN. Mr. speaker, the man who opened today’s session with that disturb-the-stars type of prayer is Morris Hershman, for 35 years Rabbi for the Joliet Jewish Congregation of Illinois. But he is more than just that, he is the Rabbi to all our congregations. He is Mr. Joliet. In every significant community or religious effort, he has been the razor’s edge.

When the Catholic diocese of Joliet was carved out of the massive archdiocese of Chicago, Rabbi Hershman was the chief organizer of the welcoming reception for Bishop McNamara, the newly named bishop for the newly named diocese.

When Joliet was nominated by a major magazine to be considered as one of the 10 most outstanding U.S. communities, Morris Hershman made our case and we won that honor, thanks to him.

Mr. Speaker, when Rabbi Hershman appears, as he always does, at major community events to open, to conduct, or to close or conclude the affair, as I sit in those audiences I have a curious religious recollection. Some years ago when Latin was in vogue and was the vernacular of the church, when a visiting prelate of great prestige would come to a cathedral or come to a church, he would be greeted by the choir and the choir would usher him in to the moving strains of a hymn called “Ecce Sacerdos Magnus,” something akin to “Hail to the Chief;” but the words really mean, “Behold, this good man who in his own day God saw fit to make a great priest.”

I can think of nothing better as a description of Morris Hershman. “Behold this good man who in his own time God saw fit to make a great priest.”


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Contribute a translationSource (English)
Our God and God of our forefathers:
Upon this august and illustrious body
representing the people of the United States
tackling the weighty matters before it,
we humbly invoke Thy divine benedictions.
As we meet in this Super Bowl[1] This prayer, delivered in the days following Super Bowl XVII, is replete with American football references. 
of governmental activity
that impinges on the life of every American,
help us to realize
that when an issue
becomes a political football
there can be many fumbles.
Penalize not, we pray Thee,
our country for our offenses
and may our defense ever be
honorable and justified.
Help us to pass to those
who come after us
a tradition unsullied and enhanced.
May our thoughts and our deeds
ever be commensurate
with the high honor and privilege
Thou has given us to serve Thee,
our country and our fellow men.
Bless Thou O God the work of our hands,
the work of our hands, bless Thou it * * *.[2] Cf. Psalms 90:17. The dinkus at the end of the line may indicate that this is a paraphrase of the verse, but I can only speculate. Perhaps it too is an oblique reference to the Super Bowl. In his following remarks, Rep. George O’Brien described the prayer given by Rabbi Hershman as a “disturb-the-stars type of prayer.” –Aharon Varady 

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the second month of the first session of the 98th US Congress in the House of Representatives, as published in the Congressional Record vol. 129, part 1, (1983), page 1219.

Source(s)

Congressional Record-House vol. 129, part 1, (1983), p. 1219

 

Notes

Notes
1This prayer, delivered in the days following Super Bowl XVII, is replete with American football references.
2Cf. Psalms 90:17. The dinkus at the end of the line may indicate that this is a paraphrase of the verse, but I can only speculate. Perhaps it too is an oblique reference to the Super Bowl. In his following remarks, Rep. George O’Brien described the prayer given by Rabbi Hershman as a “disturb-the-stars type of prayer.” –Aharon Varady

 

 

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