☞   //   Prayers, Poems, and Piyyutim   //   Prayers for Days on Secular & Civil Calendars

☞   Prayers for Days on Secular & Civil Calendars

אַמעריקע די פּרעכטיקע | America the Beautiful, a patriotic hymn by Katharine Lee Bates (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). . . .

הַנּוֹתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Government on Thanksgiving Day, offered by Rabbi David de Sola Pool (1945)

The Prayer for the Government offered by Rabbi David de Sola Pool in his service for Thanksgiving Day in 1945. . . .

Prayer of Parents for Son or Daughter in the Armed Forces, by Rabbi Max Klein (1951)

A prayer offered for parents praying for the safety and welfare of their adult children entering the armed forces. . . .

Armistice Day Prayer, by Rabbi Hyman Solomon (after World War I, circa 1920s)

A prayer written for Armistice Day after the first World War. . . .

Memorial Day Prayer at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, by Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff on 28 May 2018

A prayer offered by Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff at the Vietnam War Memorial on Memorial Day May 28th 2018. . . .

Prayer for the Government in honor of George Washington, First President of the United States of America by Ḳ.Ḳ. Beit Shalome (1789)

The following prayer for the government was composed by Congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia in 1789. Please note the acrostic portion of the prayer in which the initial letters of the succeeding lines form the name: Washington. . . .

Prayer for the Centennial of the Inauguration of George Washington, by Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Joseph (1889)

The proclamation and prayer of chief rabbi Yaakov Yosef Joseph, on the centennial of President George Washington’s Inauguration . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Harry S. Truman by Rabbi Samuel Thurman (1949)

This prayer by Rabbi Samuel Thurman, of the United Hebrew Temple (St. Louis, Missouri), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1949. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver (1953)

This prayer by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, of Cleveland, Ohio, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1953. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein (1957)

This prayer at the second inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein, chancellor, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1957. . . .

Inauguration Day Benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck (1961)

This benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1961. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Lyndon B. Johnson by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel (1965)

This prayer by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel, Congregation Beth Israel (Houston, Texas), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1965. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin (1969)

This prayer by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1969. . . .

תפילה לשלום המלכות | Prayer for the Welfare of George Washington, George Clinton, and the 13 States of America by Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen (1784)

Prayers recited on special occasions and thus not part of the fixed liturgy offered America’s foremost Jewish congregation far greater latitude for originality in prayer. At such services, particularly when the prayers were delivered in English and written with the knowledge that non-Jews would hear them, leaders of Shearith Israel often dispensed with the traditional prayer for the government and substituted revealing new compositions appropriate to the concerns of the day. A prayer composed in 1784 (in this case in Hebrew) by the otherwise unknown Rabbi (Cantor?) Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, for example, thanked God who “in His goodness prospered our warfare.” Mentioning by name both Governor George Clinton and General George Washington, the rabbi prayed for peace and offered a restorationist Jewish twist on the popular idea of America as “redeemer nation”: “As Thou hast granted to these thirteen states of America everlasting freedom,” he declared, “so mayst Thou bring us forth once again from bondage into freedom and mayst Thou sound the great horn for our freedom.” . . .

A Jewish Prayer for Peace between England and her Colonies on a public day of fasting and prayer, May 17, 1776

Fred MacDowell: “Then, as now, war was looked upon by many as a great evil, especially between brothers, and many American Colonists only wanted the oppressive measures of King George III to be lifted, bloodshed ended, and peace restored. The nascent American Congress called for a day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” along these lines for May 17, 1776. It was for this occasion that this prayer was recited in Congregation Shearith Israel in New York. As you can see, a complete service was arranged for this occasion, meant to invoke the solemnity and seriousness of the occasion; after morning prayer, Taḥanun was to be sung to the tune of a Yom Kippur pizmon; a dozen Psalms recited, and then the Ḥazan would recite this prayer written for the occasion, and of course all were to be fasting. The prayer hopes for a change of heart for King George III and his advisors, that they would rescind their wrath and harsh decrees against “North America,” that the bloodshed should end, and peace and reconciliation should obtain between the Americans and Great Britain once more, in fulfillment of the Messianic verse that Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Of course this was not meant to be, and six weeks later the American Congress declared independence from Great Britain, and there was no walking back from the hostilities which had already occurred.” . . .

קִינָה עַל חֻרְבָּן הָאַחֲרוֹן | Lamentation on the Holocaust, by Shimon Zuker (1980)

A kinnah composed by a concentration camp survivor. . . .

תפילת היוצר | A Worker’s Prayer, by Rabbi Stephen Belsky

A worker’s prayer by Rabbi Stephen Belsky, dedicated to Noam Ezra ben haRav Moshe z”l. . . .

A Prayer on Voting, by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (2016)

On Tuesday, we go to the polls in a momentous election that for many of us has generated a combination of anxiety, excitement, fear, and confusion. We offer you this prayer, which you can recite this Shabbat, before you vote, or while you are waiting for returns. . . .

Prayer at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, by Rabbi Uri Miller (28 August 1963)

Prayer delivered by Rabbi Uri Miller, President of the Synagogue Council of America, at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963 . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Seymour Siegel (1973)

This prayer by Rabbi Seymour Siegel at the second inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1973. . . .

תְּפִלָּה יְהוּדִית לְיוֹם הַנַּכְּבָּה | A Jewish Prayer for Nakba Day (يوم النكبة), by Sarah M.

A Jewish prayer for Nakba Day, as commemorated on May 15th in the civil calendar of the Dawlat Filasṭīn. . . .

תפילה (ישראלית) לפני הכניסה לקלפי (למאמין וללא מאמין)‏ | Prayer before entering the voting booth in Israel (for believers and non-believers)

May it be the will [before the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors] that this ticket which I am placing in my ballot will join thousands of other tickets that will promise reasoned leadership that will strengthen democratic values, aspire towards peace with our neighbors, separate religion and state, be concerned with the weak and protect the laborers, fight corruption and exercise leadership through personal role modeling. May it be the will [before the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors] that the nation sitting in Zion will merit years of freedom, quiet, productivity, education and good health and that our children may never fear at all. . . .

תפילה למצביעי המדינה | Prayer for the Electorate, by David Zvi Kalman (2016)

A prayer for the electorate to be recited together with the Prayer for Government on the Shabbat before an election (federal, state, or local). David Zvi Kalman’s “Prayer for the Electorate” was initially published on Ritualwell here and linked from an explanation of the prayer posted here. Vocalization of the unpointed text by Josh Soref. (Thank you!) . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Ronald Reagan by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk (1985)

This prayer by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk at the second inauguration of President Ronald Reagan was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 21, 1985. . . .

‏אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים תְפִילָה לַנִּסְפִּים בַּשּׁוֹאָה | El Malé Raḥamim Prayer for the Victims of the Shoah, by Rabbi Yehoyada Amir

God, full of compassion, who dwells in the heights, provide a fitting rest upon the wings of the Shekhina, within the ascents of the holy and the pure, who shine like the starry heaven for our six million sisters and brothers who lost their lives in the Shoah: that were killed and slaughtered, suffocated and buried alive, burned and tortured — the young and the elderly, women and men, leaders and simpletons, those faithful in Torah along with rebels and dreamers. Beloved and pleasant in life, and not separated from that love even after death. . . .

תפילה לבוחר טרם הבחירות | A Prayer for Voters Before the Election, by Rabbi Esteban Gottfried

A prayer for voting on election day in the State of Israel. . . .

Tree Planting, a prayer by Rabbi Avraham Samuel Soltes (1952)

A prayer for planting a tree or trees. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Stephen Roth on 29 May 2014

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 29 May 2014. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld on 23 May 2014

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 23 May 2014. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Mi sheBerakh for United States Military War Veterans, by Hinda Tzivia Eisen

A “mi sheberakh” prayer for U.S. war veterans on the shabbat preceding Veterans Day (November 11). . . .

תפילה לשלום ירושלים | Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, by Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She’ar Yashuv Cohen

The “Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem” by the late chief rabbi of Ḥaifa, Eliyahu Yosef She’ar Yashuv Cohen zt”l (1927-2016), is often included in programs praying for peace in Jerusalem in periods of conflict. . . .

דער נײער קאָלאסוס | The New Collosus, by Emma Lazarus (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. . . .

תפילה לעגונות | Prayer for the Liberation of Agunot, by Shelley Frier List (2005)

Creator of heaven and earth, may it be Your will to free the captive wives of Israel when love and sanctity have fled the home, but their husbands bind them in the tatters of their ketubot. Remove the bitter burden from these agunot and soften the hearts of their misguided captors. Liberate Your faithful daughters from their anguish. Enable them to establish new homes and raise up children in peace. Grant wisdom to the judges of Israel; teach them to recognize oppression and rule against it. Infuse our rabbis with the courage to use their power for good alone. Blessed are you, Creator of heaven and earth, who frees the captives. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרָךְ לִמְקַבְּלֵי שֵׁם אֱמֶת אַחַר אִשּׁוּר מְגַדְּרִי | Mi sheBerakh for those receiving a true name after gender confirmation, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Mi sheBerakh prayer, in the manner of those used during the Torah service, to honor those receiving a true Hebrew name reflecting their gender after undergoing gender confirmation. . . .

תְּפִלָה לְחַג הָעֲבוֹדָה | Prayer for Labor Day, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

This is a petition for the worker in the style of “Av Haraḥamim” and similar texts, using Biblical and Mishnaic language and co-opting it into a new meaning. It could be read after the Torah service (like many other petitionary texts) or focused on in private. The Biblical relationship between God, humanity, and labor is fascinating. Often it is treated as a curse placed upon us, and just as often as the purpose of humanity. In Genesis 3:19 it is the curse placed upon a disobedient First Adam, but less than a chapter earlier in Genesis 2:15 it is the reason for First Adam’s creation in the first place! In the past century or so, traditional Judaism has somewhat tilted away from the ideas of worker’s rights so clearly stated in the Tanakh and in rabbinic texts. Partially this was to disassociate from the Bundists, partially out of fear of “looking too Communist” in a xenophobic American society, and partially because the Jewish working class is nowhere near as substantial a part of the community as it once was. If this text is meant to do anything, it’s to show that love of God and love of the worker aren’t opposed to each other – in fact, they go hand in hand! . . .

בִּרְכַּת עָם (תֶחֱזַקְנָה)‏ | The People’s Blessing (a/k/a Teḥezaqnah), by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1894)

Before HaTikvah was chosen, Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik’s “People’s Blessing” (בִּרְכַּת עָם, also known by its incipit תֶחֱזַֽקְנָה Teḥezaqnah) was once considered for the State of Israel’s national anthem. Bialik was 21 years old when he composed the work in 1894. It later was chosen as the anthem of the Labor Zionist movement. We hereby present the first ever complete English translation of this poem. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan on 7 February 2012

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 7 February 2012, for Four Chaplains Day (February 3rd). . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Leslie Gutterman on 15 September 2011

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 15 September 2011. . . .

תפילה להפך – מאבן בֹחן | Prayer for Transformation, from the poem “Even Boḥan” by Rabbi Ḳalonymus ben Ḳalonymus ben Meir (1322 C.E.)

A prayer by רבי קלונימוס בן קלונימוס Kalonymus ben Kalonymus that appears in his poem ספר אבן בוחן, יג Even Boḥan (§13), describing the author’s wish to have been born a Jewish woman. . . .

גאָט בענטש אַמעריקע | God Bless America, for Armistice/Veterans Day by Irving Berlin (1918/1938)

The words of the prayer for Armistice Day 1938, “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin, in English and Yiddish. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Government of the United States of America, presented by Gershom Seixas on Thanksgiving Day 1789

The prayer for the government presented by Gershom Seixas at K.K. Shearith Israel on Thanksgiving Day 1789. . . .

תהלים קל״ט | Psalms 139 for Ḳalends on the Winter Solstice, arranged by Aharon N. Varady

Psalms 139 in Hebrew with English translation — for the universal festival of Kalends beginning on the Winter Solstice. . . .

Memorial Prayer for Those Lost Through Human Strife, by Rabbi Chaplain (Lieutenant) Alexander David Goode (ca. 1943)

A memorial prayer for service members lost in times of war, given by a chaplain who sacrificed his life for others during WWII. . . .

כוונה ליום הבחירות | Kavvanah for Election Day, by Rabbi Noa Mazor

כוונה ליום הבחירות יכולה להיאמר בכל שלב של יום הבחירות עצמו. בעיניי היא מתאימה בעיקר כחלק מתפילת שחרית של אותו היום או רגע לפני הכניסה אל מאחורי הפרגוד. נכתב על ידי נועה מזור, סטודנטית לרבנות, והרבה המלווה של נוער תל״ם. . . .

Ceremony of Gender Affirmation and Name Change, by Lilah Rosenfield

A public ceremony for celebrating the Gender Affirmation and Name Change of a man, woman, or non-binary person. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff on 13 June 2003

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 13 June 2003. . . .

סֵדֶר לְיוֹם הַשׁוֹאָה | Seder for Yom haSho’ah, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The most traumatic event in recent Jewish history is the Holocaust. At this time, the survivors of the camps are aging, and in the lifespan of people alive today it is likely that the last survivor will die. We say we must never forget what happened during the Holocaust, but if we think of it as a tragedy that happened to our ancestors we will forget. But it has been 3000 years since the Exodus from Egypt, and the Haggadah keeps its history vivid and alive. We are taught that in each and every generation we are to think of ourselves as having been slaves in Egypt. May it be that just as we never forgot the wonders of the Exodus, so too we never forget the horrors of the Holocaust, and continue to strive that such horrors may never happen again until all live in freedom and peace. . . .

הכרזת יום הבחירות | Declaration for Israeli Election Day, by Rabbi Oded Mazor

ההכרזה על יום הבחירות בנויה על נוסח ברכת החודש, ומיועדת להיאמר בשחרית של שבת לפני הבחירות. קהילות שאינן נוהגות להתפלל בשחרית מוזמנות להשתמש בתפילה בתפילת קבלת שבת של אותה השבת. נכתב על ידי הרב עודד מזור.‏ . . .

“That America’s Heroes Shall Not Have Died in Vain” and a special El Malé Raḥamim prayer for Memorial Day, by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

A service and prayer for Memorial Day in the United States, containing a variation of El Malé Raḥamim, by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. . . .

“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. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא