On Wednesday 2nd November 2011, at the invitation of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (ID-CT), the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks delivered the Invocation prayer in the United States Senate. This was the first time a Chief Rabbi from the UK has been invited to deliver the Invocation prayer as Guest Chaplain in the United States Senate.
In the prayer, which was composed especially for the occasion, the Chief Rabbi said the world must “honour the dignity of difference, recognising 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.” The Chief Rabbi also prayed for God to “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.”
Senator Lieberman said: “It was an honor and a privilege for the Senate to have Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks deliver the invocation. Chief Rabbi Lord 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 said: “To deliver the Invocation prayer in the United States Senate was a real honour. It emphasised not only the close relationship Britain and America share, but also between the Anglo- and American- Jewish communities. I am grateful to Senator Lieberman – an individual whose moral clarity and faith has always played such a central role in his political and personal life – and his colleagues in the Senate for granting me this opportunity.”
The day before the Invocation, the Chief Rabbi was the guest of honour at a lunch, hosted by Senator Lieberman in the Capitol building which was attended by a number of prominent Jewish members of Congress. At the lunch the Chief Rabbi praised the Congressmen for their leadership and spoke about the importance of promoting a Judaism unafraid to engage with the world.
Full text of the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks’ Invocation prayer to the United States Senate:
“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.”