Exact matches only
//  Main  //  Menu

☰︎ Menu | 🔍︎ Search  //  Main  //   🖖︎ Prayers & Praxes   //   🌍︎ Collective Welfare   //   Sovereign States & Meta-national Organizations   //   Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies   //   Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun on 8 May 1991

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun on 8 May 1991

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun, Tree of Life Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of Prayer: 8 May 1991
Sponsor: Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA)

Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the presence of Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun, who just delivered the Senate’s prayer.

Rabbi Berkun is a Pennsylvanian. He has served as rabbi for the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh for the last 8 years. He is currently the Jewish chaplain for the Veterans’ Administration in Pittsburgh, and was a U.S. Navy chaplain during the Vietnam era. He is married and has two daughters and one son. I am pleased to note his daughter, Elizabeth, has just completed an internship in my Washington, DC, office.

Rabbi Berkun is a very distinguished rabbi. Therefore, it is with a great deal of personal pleasure to have heard his opening prayer this morning. I welcome him to the Senate, thank him for his contribution to the body, and thank him for his contribution to the national Jewish community.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Heavenly Father,
as we begin our day of deliberations in this,
the Senate of the United States,
we pause to acknowledge You
and to pray for peace.
According to the 2,000-year-old volume written by the ancient rabbis,
the Ethics of the Fathers,[1] a/k/a Pirqei Avot. 
the world rests on three things:
on truth,
on justice,
and on peace.
All three are connected and intertwined.
The goal of the first two is to bring about the third, peace.
To the Jewish sages of old, peace was God’s very name.
Peace—Shalom—is the ideal toward which we must all strive.
In Jewish tradition,
the word “Shalom,” has a much wider meaning
than does its English equivalent, peace.
In the Hebrew context, the word peace
touches on the work that is done here.
It refers to the welfare of all:
It implies a sense of security,
of contentment,
of sound health.
The prophet Isaiah taught
that Shalom would then be opposed
to the dissatisfaction and the unrest
that evil can cause.
May we be inspired by one of the greatest of the Jewish sages,
a contemporary of Jesus, Rabbi Hillel,
who said: “Love peace and pursue peace.” (Pirḳei Avot 1:12)
May the inspiration of our Judeo-Christian civilization
inspire all of us as we work together
to make of our Nation
a beacon of hope,
a symbol of freedom,
and a harbinger of peace for all.
During these days of concern for our President,
we join in prayer
to the Lord our God and God of our ancestors,
that our President, George Bush,
be blessed with good health and well-being
and that he continue to be endowed
with vigor of body, mind, and spirit
as we all say,


102nd Congress, 1st Session. C-SPAN.
Congressional Record, Vol. 137, Part 7 — Bound Edition, p. 10096.

Congressional Record v. 137, part 7 – 8 May 1991. p. 10096



1a/k/a Pirqei Avot.



Comments, Corrections, and Queries