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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Dr. Solomon Freilich on 18 March 1980

https://opensiddur.org/?p=54883 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Dr. Solomon Freilich on 18 March 1980 2024-03-18 03:43:42 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 18 March 1980. Text the Open Siddur Project Solomon Freilich Solomon Freilich the Congressional Record of the United States of America https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Solomon Freilich 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 96th Congress Iran hostage crisis
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Dr. Solomon Freilich, Brothers of Israel Congregation, Mount Vernon, New York
Sponsor: Rep. Peter Peyser (D-NY)
Date of Prayer: 18 March 1980

Mr. PEYSER. Mr. Speaker, I have been given this privilege of introducing our distinguished rabbi to the Members this morning because our colleague, the gentleman from New York (Mr. OTTINGER), is at the funeral services of our former colleague, Mr. Allard Lowenstein.

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Solomon Freilich, who is giving the invocation this morning, is the spiritual leader of Mount Vernon’s Congregation Brothers of Israel, the oldest synagogue of Westchester County, N.Y. He has served this congregation with distinction for over 27 years.

Rabbi Freilich is an ardent devotee of Israel, Jewish education, and humanitarian causes. He is the recipient of distinctive service awards by the United Jewish Appeal, Bonds for Israel, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and many other institutions. He maintains an abiding interest in higher Jewish education and is a member of the board of trustees of Yeshivat Ohr Hameir, a rabbinical school in Westchester. He served as president of the alumni association of his alma mater, the Rabbinical Academy of Brooklyn and as president of the Synagogue Council of Mount Vernon, N.Y. His dissertation on Biblical studies was recently published in Israel, a scholarly work for which he was awarded a doctoral degree at Yeshiva University.

Rabbi Freilich has had deep involvements in the work on behalf of Soviet Jewry. He was among the first rabbis to have visited the Soviet Union in 1957, and was the guest of the chief rabbi of Moscow, Rabbi Judah Levin. Rabbi Levin was the guest at Rabbi Freilich’s synagogue, the only visit in Westchester during his brief stay in America.

In July 1967, following the Six-Day War, Rabbi Freilich made a second visit to the Soviet Union, where he was detained for 3 days in Kiev by the Russian authorities who charged him with dissemination of Israeli propaganda. He was released and sent to Vienna where he was received by the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy.

The rabbi has a sensitive and ongoing concern for senior citizens and the elderly in his community. He has a course certificate from the Gerontological Institute at Yeshiva University.

His two married children and nine grandchildren reside in Israel. They head departments in American-sponsored Torah schools of higher Jewish education.

Rabbi Freilich serves as the chaplain of the Police Department of Mount Vernon, a position he has held for the last 20 years. He has won the esteem of his colleagues, the love of his congregation, and the admiration of the community, by virtue of his deep commitment to traditional Judaism, the Jewish people, and humanitarian concerns.


Source (Hebrew)Source (English)
הֱוֵה מִתְפַּלֵּל בִּשְׁלוֹמָהּ שֶׁלַּמַּלְכוּת (משנה אבות ג.ב)
[“Pray for the welfare of the government.”] (Pirkei Avot 3:2)
The sages of our tradition enjoined us to pray
for the welfare of governments and their rulers
so we may live quiet and peaceful lives.
Oh God, whose name is Shalom,
in this solemn moment
assembled in this hallowed sanctuary
of the American people,
we turn to Thee in prayer for Shalom—
eternal peace.
We pray for Thy blessings
upon the chosen Representatives of this Congress.
Grant them of Thy spirit of wisdom and understanding
and favor them with courage and insight
as they deliberate on the crucial issues of this day
in an effort to bring us ever closer
to that era of ultimate Shalom
when all the citizens of this great Nation
will enjoy peace—
peace of heart and mind,
peaceful communities
in a peaceful world.
Today is the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan
when my people are soon to usher in
the glorious Passover Festival of Freedom,
commemorating redemption,
and rebirth.
At this anxious hour
and on this day which has been declared
a national day of prayer,
our hearts go out
in love,
in hope,
and in prayer
for the innocent Americans
still being held hostage
in a distant land.
Oh Lord,
Thou who hast, from the heights of Sinai,
proclaimed through ancient Israel
the eternal law of human freedom,
we pray,
hasten the day when our fifty fellow Americans
speedily return to our shores
unharmed in body and spirit,
reunited with their families and loved ones.
As this day also marks the beginning
of the Hebrew month of spring,
with the rebirth of Nature
unfolding in all its renewed beauty,
may our hearts be uplifted
with a renewed spirit of trust and faith
in America.
Oh God,
warm the hearts of the men and women in this Chamber
to legislate with concern,
and compassion,
responsive to the needs of the depressed,
the deprived,
and the destitute.
Let us, at this moment, pray silently
for those to whom freedom has been denied,
and may we always be conscious
of what Thou, Oh Lord,
has taught us in Thy Sacred Scriptures,
“Love thy neighbor as thyself, I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18)
We are nearer to Thee
when we are closer to each other.

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the third month of the second session of the 96th US Congress in the House of Representatives, and published in the Congressional Record, vol. 126, part 5 (1980), page 5724. The short Hebrew text from Pirqei Avot was left untranslated in the Congressional Record, but I have provided a translation for it in brackets. –Aharon Varady


Congressional Record, vol. 126, part 5 (18 March 1980), p. 5724




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