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November 3, 2011 10:00 am

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Delivers Senate Invocation

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Lord Rabbi Sacks delivers the Senate Invocation. Photo: C-Span Screenshot.

At the invitation of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Britain’s Chief Rabbi delivered the Invocation prayer in the United States Senate. The occasion marks the first time a Chief Rabbi from the United Kingdom has delivered the Invocation Prayer as Guest Chaplain in the United States Senate. The honor came at the invitation of four term Senator Joseph Lieberman, who called Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks “a distinguished leaders of the Jewish community.” Senator Lieberman said “It was an honor and a privilege for the Senate to have Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks deliver the invocation. Rabbi Sacks is a distinguished leader of the Jewish Community of Britain and his presence represented the deep and enduring bond between the people of our two great countries. His wisdom and spiritual guidance was reflected in his prayer to the Senate and our work is enriched by his words to us.”

The Chief Rabbi authored a unique prayer for the Senate, asking for the ability to “love all that is good and beautiful, honor the dignity of difference,”and “turn enemies into friends.” He prayed for God to “Guide the nations of the world, to honour You by honouring one another.”

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan and lady Elaine Sacks were the guests of Senator Joseph Lieberman and his wife, Hadasah during their visit to Washington Tuesday and Wednesday. Lady Elaine Sacks and Mrs.Hadassah Lieberman had an opportunity to spend time together during the Washington visit. Commenting that, although he would enjoy visiting the Chief Rabbi in London, Senator Lieberman noted that the demands of the Senate are clearly his first priority.

The full text of the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks’ Invocation prayer to the United States Senate follows:

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“Sovereign of the universe, Who created all in love, Teach us to love all that is good and beautiful in this world. Teach us to honour the dignity of difference, recognizing that one who is not in our image Is none the less in Your image; never forgetting that the people not like us, Are still people – like us.

At this fateful moment in the human story, Bless us that we may be a blessing to others. Guide the nations of the world To honour You by honouring one another. So that by reaching out in love, we may turn enemies into friends, And become your family on earth as You are our parent in heaven.

Beloved God, bless the members of this United States Congress And guide their deliberations, that they may govern this great nation With wisdom and justice, grace and compassion, bringing honour to Your name, And Your blessing to humankind.”

Liberman represents Connecticut in the United States Senate, and as the Democratic candidate for Vice President in 2000 was the first Jewish candidate to run for national office. He has been a distinguished presence in the United States Senate for almost a quarter of a century. The Senator is considered one of the most influential voices on security issues, a proponent of increased investment in defense and Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The Chief Rabbi and host Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.

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  • MarcH

    Is anyone surprised that Presidnet Obama did not spend even a few minutes receiving Rabbi Sacks?

  • Eliza de Sola Mendes

    It may be of interest according to http://www.milkenarchive.org that one of my family members Rabbi “Abraham de Sola, a professor of Hebrew and Spanish literatures at McGill University in Montreal, as well as rabbi at that city’s Spanish and Portuguese congregation…in 1872 President Ulysses S. Grant invited de Sola, who had remained a British subject in Candada, to deliver the Invocation for that year’s session of the U.S. Congress-a gesture intended to signify publically a relaxation of tensions that had existed between the United States and Great Britain since the War Between the States.” http://www.milkenarchive.org/people/view/composers/708/Henry++Mendes

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