February 12, 2005


Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals (The Rabbinical Assembly & The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)

Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country—for its government, for its leaders and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights from Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.

Creator of all flesh, bless all the inhabitants of our country with Your spirit. May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country.

May this land, under your providence, be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom—helping them to fulfill the vision of your prophet: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war any more’ (Isaiah 2:4). And let us say: Amen.

I'm always glad to come to the Prayer for Our Country in the service for Sabbath and Festivals. Not only does it mean that we are coming to the end of the service, but I like the prayer as a prayer. I also have to admit to a certain unworthy tinge of SchadenFreunde that comes from my assumption that some of my co-congregants are less thrilled with the prayer than I am.

I was not, therefore, entirely surprised this morning when the Rabbi introduced the prayer by noting that, although it represented cutting-edge social justice in the '50s when it was drafted, it perhaps didn't any longer reflect our values. In any event, the Ritual Committee will be considering possible replacement prayers that will be circulated to the congregation for comment. I will of course be voting to retain the old prayer, but I do have my suspicions about what portion of the current prayer will be changed. Certainly, we will not praying that "this land, under your providence, be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom." That would be entirely too close to the message of this Prophet.

Posted by David Cohen at February 12, 2005 7:51 PM

Would they replace the entire prayer, or just any portion?

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at February 12, 2005 9:07 PM

The word "security" may go also, might remind some of that evil Patriot Act.

Posted by: Phil at February 12, 2005 9:27 PM

Mr. Cohen:

This is off-topic, but I'm curious -- How do you know Mr. Judd and/or what is your connection to him? If I interpret your past posts correctly, it appears you live in New England and are a Red Sox fan. Good friends, perhaps?

No need to answer this if it makes you uncomfortable.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 13, 2005 2:02 AM

Matt: Just an internet hookup.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 13, 2005 8:49 AM

Keep us posted, please.

Posted by: Dave W. at February 15, 2005 11:41 AM