When Rabbis Bless Congress

The Great American Story of Jewish Prayers on Capitol Hill

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Howard Mortman
  • Brighton, MA: 
    Academic Studies Press
    , October
     410 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Congress opens each session with a prayer offered by a chaplain or guest chaplain. Among the guest chaplains: Rabbis.

This book is about the rabbis. It’s an unprecedented examination of 160 years of Jewish prayers delivered in the literal and figurative center of American democracy. With exhaustive research written in approachable prose, it uniquely tells the story of over 400 rabbis giving over 600 prayers since the Civil War days—who they are and what they say.

Few written works examine the tradition of prayers in government. This new angle will appeal to students (and lovers) of American history, Congress, American Jewish history, and religion. It’s a welcome, important addition to our understanding of Congress and Jewish contribution to America.


About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Howard Mortman is communications director for C-SPAN, the public service providing television coverage of the U.S. Congress. A veteran of Washington, DC, media organizations, he has observed Congress from positions at MSNBC, National Journal’s Hotline, Broadcasting Board of Governors, and New Media Strategies. He graduated from the University of Maryland.



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