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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Morris M. Shapiro on 8 April 1975

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Morris M. Shapiro, Jewish Center, Huntington Station, Long Island, New York
Sponsor: Rep. Jerome Ambro (D-NY), Rep. Jack Kemp (R-NY)
Date of Prayer: 8 April 1975

Mr. AMBRO. Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to introduce to the House of Representatives Rabbi Morris M. Shapiro, the spiritual leader of the South Huntington Jewish Center.

It is particularly appropriate for Rabbi Shapiro to deliver the opening prayer today, because on this day, 30 years ago, Allied troops began their liberation of Hitler’s concentration camps revealing to the world the horrendous extent of the Nazi holocaust. Unfortunately, Rabbi Shapiro was both a tragic witness to and a refugee from Hitler’s terror. Rabbi Shapiro was just 22 years old when the Nazis started rounding up the Jews of his town of Lublin, Poland, for liquidation. He and his sister hid in the attic above Gestapo headquarters for 4 days and then ran off through the woods where they were eventually found by a Christian farmer who, in exchange for money, hid them in a crawlspace cave for 2 years.

If Rabbi Shapiro’s early manhood stands in mute testimony to the extent of man’s inhumanity to man, his life in the United States—to which he emigrated in 1948—is an example of the basic civilization of the Jewish people and of this country’s traditional and honorable role as a haven and land of opportunity for the oppressed.

Upon his arrival in America, Rabbi Shapiro had no secular education whatsoever, and could speak no English. Within 6 years, he had satisfactorily completed elementary school, high school, received a bachelors degree and a masters degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Dakota. This is clearly a record of achievement that most native-born Americans cannot match and must admire.

Rabbi Shapiro, his wife, Rochelle, and their three children, Holli, Jerome, and Simcha have been residents of Huntington for the past 9 years. I am pleased to have them as constituents and proud to call them friends.

Rabbi Shapiro’s presence here today must serve as a reminder to us that we cannot, we must not, forget the atrocities committed in the name of ideological and racial purity by one nation against its citizens while the rest of the world community stood idly by, and that we must not allow those survivors of the holocaust who have settled in the State of Israel to be threatened with extinction of their homeland, and we must never permit another such holocaust by any nation against any segment of its population to take place again.

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

Mr. AMBRO. I yield to the gentleman from New York.

Mr. KEMP. Mr. Speaker, I join in the remarks of the gentleman from New York (Mr. Ambro) concerning Rabbi Morris M. Shapiro.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Almighty God,
as we commemorate the holocaust
where six million of Thy children
were sacrificed as burnt offerings
on the altar of human bestiality,
we pray to Thee
to make us cognizant
of this awesome reality
that Thou hast granted man free will
and that every man has the potential
to use this power to create an Auschwitz.
We pray to Thee
that this day may serve
as a challenge
to every Member of this Chamber
to question himself—
What am I, who represent
the most powerful Nation in the world, doing
to prevent another holocaust
from reoccurring?
For anything that has happened once
can happen again.
The same events that took place in Germany
can take place again in the Middle East
and in the Soviet Union.
O God,
help us to face this grave challenge
that it is in the hands of these United States of America
that the survivors of the ashes of Auschwitz
have placed their destiny.

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the fourth month of the first session of the 94th US Congress in the Senate, and published in the Congressional Record, vol. 121, part 8 (8 April 1975), page 9201.


Congressional Record, vol. 121, part 8 (8 April 1975), p. 9201




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