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[Prayer on the] Retirement of a Civic Servant (Mayor Charles Henry Martens), by Rabbi Avraham Samuel Soltes (1952)

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O God of our Fathers,
who bestowest of Thy wisdom
upon the sons of men,
and givest of Thy Sovereignty
unto Thy children,
we ask Thy blessing
upon him
whom the people have called forth
year after year
to speak for them
in things of state.

For more than three decades
he has proven faithful
to his sacred trust:
When tempted
by men whose god is gain,
he has proven true
to his city,
to himself,
and to Thee;
When godless men
have striven
to make a mockery of righteousness,
Thou hast touched his lips
and given him courage
to defend the right
as he saw the right.

Through all these years
he has shared
with the prophets and leaders
of all time
in the slings and arrows
of outraged citizens,
in the flames of derision and contumely
which lap ever
at the feet of those
distinguished
in posts of public trust.

Yet
didst Thou strengthen him,
that
the crucibles of torturous testing
converted his iron will
to a shaft
of steely determination,
and our city remained
free of corruption
and self-aggrandizement.

As he doffs the mantle of leadership–
his service rendered,
his mission fulfilled,
we ask for him
continued health and strength
through the years Thou hast allotted to him;
that he may know
the fullness of blessing
envisioned by the Psalmist:
“The righteous
shall blossom like the palm tree
and grow
like a cedar in Lebanon…
They shall be sturdy
in old age,
flourishing and verdant;
to declare
that the Lord is upright,
my Rock,
in whom there is no unrighteousness.”[1] Psalms 92:13-16. 
Amen.

Rabbi Abraham Soltes’s “[Prayer on the] Retirement of a Civic Servant” can be found in his collection of prayers, תפלה Invocation: A Sheaf Of Prayers (Bloch 1959). Their he writes that the prayer was delivered November 8, 1952, “on the retirement of Mayor [Charles Henry] Martens [(1883-1955)] of East Orange after 32 years as the city’s chief executive.”

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Notes

Notes
1 Psalms 92:13-16.

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