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☞   Independence Day (July 4th)

This is an archive of prayers composed for or relevant to Independence Day in the United States, celebrated on July 4th.

Click here to contribute a prayer you have written, or a transcription and translation of an existing prayer.

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For prayers offered for military veterans and armed forces personnel, go here.

For prayers composed for social justice, peace, and liberty, go here.

For prayers offered for the welfare and well-being of governments and country, please visit here.

For public readings selected for Independence Day in the United States, please visit here.

אמעריקע | America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee), a patriotic hymn by Samuel Francis Smith (1832) with Yiddish translation by Berl Lapin (1950)

The well-known patriotic hymn with a Yiddish translation. . . .

אַמעריקע די פּרעכטיקע | America the Beautiful, a patriotic hymn by Katharine Lee Bates (1895) with Yiddish translation by Berl Lapin (1950)

“America the Beautiful,” the patriotic hymn (1911 version) by Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) in its Yiddish translation by Berl Lapin (1889-1952). . . .

עַל הַנִּסִּים בִּימֵי הוֹדָיָה לְאֻמִּיִּים | Al haNissim prayer on Civic Days of Patriotic Gratitude, by Aharon Varady

Opportunities to express gratitude on civic days of patriotic thanksgiving demand acknowledgement of an almost unfathomably deep history of trauma — not only the suffering and striving of my immigrant ancestors, but the sacrifice of all those who endured suffering dealt by their struggle to survive, and often failure to survive, the oppressions dealt by colonization, conquest, hegemony, natural disaster. Only the Earth (from which we, earthlings were born, Bnei Adam from Adamah) has witnessed the constancy of the violent deprivations we inflict upon each other. The privilege I’ve inherited from these sacrifices has come at a cost, and it must be honestly acknowledged, especially on civic days of thanksgiving, independence, and freedom. I insert this prayer after Al Hanissim in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon on national days of independence and thanksgiving. . . .

“That America Fulfil the Promise of Its Founding,” a prayer for Independence Day by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

A prayer for Independence Day in the United States by Rabbi Mordeca Kaplan, prefaced by an abridged reading of the Declaration of Independence. . . .

דער נײער קאָלאסוס | Emma Lazarus’s paean to the Shekhinah, “Mother of Exiles” (The New Collosus, 1883), Yiddish translation by Rachel Kirsch Holtman (1938)

This is the sonnet, “The New Collosus” (1883) by Emma Lazarus set side-by-side with its Yiddish translation by Rachel Kirsch Holtman. Lazarus famously penned her sonnet in response to the waves of Russian-Jewish refugees seeking refuge in the Unites States of America as a result of murderous Russian pogroms following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. Her identification and revisioning of the Statue of Liberty as the Mother of Exiles points to the familiar Jewish identification of the Shekhinah (the Divine Presence, in its feminine aspect) with the light of the Jewish people in their Diaspora. . . .