The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Rabbi Joseph F. Mendelsohn

Heska Amuna Synagogue
Knoxville, TN

Sponsor: Rep. Rep. John Duncan, Jr., (R-TN)
Date of Prayer: 03/06/2002

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, we are privileged to have as our guest chaplain today Rabbi Joseph Mendelsohn of the Heska Amuna Synagogue in Knoxville, Tennessee, to lead us in our opening prayer. Heska Amuna, loosely translated, means "stronghold of faith," and "strong faith" are words that could certainly be used about the life of Rabbi Mendelsohn.

This is the first time since I have been a Member of the House, and I am in my 14th year now, this is the first time I have had a member of the clergy from my district lead us in prayer, and I am very honored.

Rabbi Mendelsohn was a longtime congregant and leader in conservative Jewish congregations throughout California. He became so dedicated to his faith that he decided to fulfill his dream of becoming a full–time member of the rabbinical clergy.

Known in Knoxville as "Rabbi Joe," he has been well received, not just by his congregation, but also by his fellow clergymen of all faiths in east Tennessee. Apparently he is doing a great job, because the congregation has seen a very significant increase in membership since his arrival.
Pace and Karen Robinson, two well–respected and long–time members of the congregation, said, "We are glad that Rabbi Joe came to Knoxville and became a part of our community by leading us into the 21st century."

Rabbi Mendelsohn is one of the finest men I have ever met, and I am honored to have him as our guest chaplain for the United States House of Representatives on this occasion.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

The prayer I am about to offer is not original, rather it is read by Jewish congregations throughout the United States every Saturday morning during Sabbath services.

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. Help them to 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 all hatred and bigotry and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions which 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 and helping them to fulfill the vision of Your Prophet: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war any more."

And let us say, Amen.

To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory