In Thanks for U.S. Democracy
God of history,
We give thanks for the blessings
Of democracy in the United States,
Blessings unparalleled throughout the world.
No nation can match these gifts.
We give thanks:
For free and fair elections,
For the 15th Amendment,
For the 19th Amendment,
For the Voting Rights Act,
For decentralized control of balloting,
For decentralized control of vote tallying,
For the peaceful transition of power,
For the two-party system,
For third party and independent candidates,
For robust debate and political compromise,
For patriotism above partisanship,
For the separation of power,
For leaders taking an oath of office,
For leaders taking an oath to serve the people,
For leaders taking an oath to defend the Constitution,
For a military sworn to defend the Constitution,
For judges sworn to uphold the Constitution,
For two chambers of Congress,
For accountability to constituents,
For the Supreme Court,
For our Chief Executive, the Commander-in-Chief,
And for one another, citizens of a great nation.
Let us cherish the right to select our government.
Let us cherish the right to select our representatives,
The national, state and local leaders
Who will steer our nation and guide our communities.
Our system is strong.
On election day, our voices are heard.
We, the People, are blessed.
For Our Nation
Shaar Zahav, p. 44
Blessed are You, our Creator, who has given us a land that we call home.
These streets are blessed every time we feed the hungry
and give shelter to the homeless.
These towns are blessed every time we give refuge to immigrants.
These cities are blessed when we give sanctuary to those who have been chased out of their own towns because of their color or queerness.
These United States are blessed every time we offer friendship to the stranger.
This country is blessed every time we give hope to those who never stop dreaming and building community.
Blessed are you, God, who has given us our streets, our towns, our cities, out states, and our country so that we may continue to build a more peaceful world l’dor vador, from generation to generation.
A Prayer For Voting
With my vote today I am prepared and intending
to seek peace for this country, as it is written:
“Seek out the peace of the city where I cause you to roam
and pray for her sake to Yah Adonai, for in her peace you all will have peace.” (Jer. 29:7)
May it be Your will that votes will be counted faithfully
and may You account my vote as if I had fulfilled this verse with all my power.
May it be good in Your eyes to give a wise heart
to whomever we elect today
and may You raise for us a government whose rule is for good and blessing
to bring justice and peace to all the inhabitants of the world and to Jerusalem,
for rulership is Yours!
Just as I participated in elections today
so may I merit to do good deeds and repair the world with all my actions,
and with the act of…[fill in your pledge] which I pledge to do today
on behalf of all living beings and in remembrance of the covenant of Noah’s waters
to protect and to not destroy the earth and her plenitude.
May You give to all the peoples of this country, the strength and will
to pursue righteousness and to seek peace as unified force
in order to cause to flourish, throughout the world, good life and peace
and may You fulfill for us the verse:
“May the pleasure of Yah Adonai our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands for us, may the work of our hands endure.” (Ps. 90:17)
A Prayer for the Polls
May we feel driven toward creating a world full of respect, kindness and love
Let us embody the vision we want to see realized
While we note there is still so much work to be done
It is incumbent upon us to recognize that we are not alone
But we work in community with our families, our neighborhoods, our cities, our towns, our state and our country.
We will not rest until our world looks better for the nation’s children.
May we be able to make voting a ritual moment, and say a prayer as we vote.
A prayer for the season of voting
Rabbi Heather Miller
Source of Life,
You have given human beings
not the least of which is that of free will.
The ability to create our own destiny.
To determine our own course.
This season of voting,
many will choose to exercise our free will
at the polls,
to voice our choice for leadership
As we do, teach us to appreciate
the significance of this sacred act:
As we review the voting packet,
guide us with clear vision of
Your most cherished values.
As we pick up the pen,
remind us that we are writing
the next pages of our lives.
As we cast our votes,
remind us not to cast away
the humanity of our fellow human beings.
As we await the results,
remind us of those
who cannot afford to wait for justice.
God of Emet, God of truth,
Teach all who monitor and administer the
polling places to value the truth,
to ensure a fair process and an accurate
count of the hopes of the people
even as many are ineligible to vote or
have already been discouraged
from doing so.
May the true will of the people
be be voiced indisputably.
Adonai Ezri, God my helpmate,
Fortify my spirit as
I await the results of this election,
with so much at stake for so many,
sustain me through the length of the tally,
and may my faith in humanity be affirmed
in the days of November.
Shechina, spread over us all
Your great canopy of peace,
over all who walk in your ways,
and those who do not.
May you inspire us all to make room
for our fellow human beings,
the earth, and all of its inhabitants.
May your tent be open and wide.
We desire closeness to You.
Let us not be cast out from your midst.
Baruch at Yah,
Blessed are You,
source of all that is just
hear our prayer
for the sake
of all your precious Creations.
A Meditation on Voting from T’ruah
Rabbis for Human Rights
May it be Your will, at this season of our election, to guide us towards peace.
By voting, we commit to being full members of society, to accepting our individual responsibility for the good of the whole.
May we place over ourselves officials in all our gates…who will judge the people with righteousness (Deut. 16:18), and may we all merit to be counted among those who work faithfully for the public good.
Open our eyes to see the image of God in all candidates and elected officials, and may they see the image of God in all citizens of the earth.
Grant us the courage to fulfill the mitzvah of loving our neighbors as ourselves, and place in our hearts the wisdom to understand those who do not share our views.
As we pray on the High Holidays, “May we become a united society, fulfilling the divine purpose with a whole heart.”
And as the Psalmist sang, “May there be shalom within your walls, peace in your strongholds. For the sake of my brothers and sisters and friends, I will speak peace to you.” (Ps. 122:7-8)
Election Day Blessing
Camp JRF Campers, Summer 2015
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who gives us freedom, justice, and the power to choose our leaders.
We pray that those who cannot vote can still be represented fairly in our democracy. We pray that those around the world who do not have the same freedoms will one day be able to share our freedom to vote.
Prayer for the Electorate
David Zvi Kalman
May the One who graces
each person with knowledge
and teaches humanity understanding,
bless and protect the voters of this land
on the upcoming election,
so that they may place in all their gates
leaders of thousands and leaders of hundreds
leaders of fifties and leaders of tens,
people of valor who revere God,
people of truth who despise corruption.
The One who sustains nations
on order, on truth, and on peace:
may it be Your will
that no misfortune occur by their hands,
and may the nation rejoice
when the righteous abound.
Save them from a wicked path,
from those who speak perversely.
Send wisdom into their heart
and make knowledge pleasant to their soul,
as it says, “Then you shall understand
virtue and justice; equality and every good path.”
And may it be Your will.
And let us say: Amen.
Talmud, Arachin 17a
“This is the generation and those who seek its welfare” (Psalms 24:6). Rabbi Judah the Patriarch and the sages differed in this matter. One opinion was that the character of the generation is determined by its leader. According to the other opinion, the character of the leader is determined by the generation.
Commentary: A community with the opportunity to choose its own leadership makes a statement about its own character by virtue of the choice it makes. We are therefore responsible for creating a community that fosters the growth of good leadership and choosing wisely among the candidates who wish to govern. Both of the opinions in the passage from the Talmud quoted above express the belief that a leader’s character is causally related to that of his or her generation. What we do, or don’t do, on election day will define the character of our nation.
The Significance of the Day
On this day when we cast our vote for those who are to make our laws and to direct their execution, we seek Thy guidance, O God. We know that unless Thou build the house, in vain do its builders toil, and that unless Thou guard the city, in vain do the guards keep watch. Only when our laws conform to Thy law of justice can they ensure our peace; only when our purposes accord with Thy divine will can our own cause prosper. Inspire us on this day and on every day to make the public good our personal concern, expressed not only by our ballot but by our participation in civic and political movements for promoting the general welfare.
This day the destiny of the nation lies in the hands of us, its citizens. Thou hast charged us with responsibility to direct that destiny according to Thy will. May the integrity, justice, and beneficence of our government confirm our faith in Thy divine rule. Be Thou with us on this day of decision. Speak to us with the voice of conscience. Overrule any impulse of ours to place personal, sectional, or partisan gain above the general welfare. Make us wise to discern between true worth and its spacious semblance, and to choose as our leaders only those who will lead us in paths of righteousness to a future of peace, honor, and wellbeing. Curb in those whom we shall elect the lust for selfish domination. Strengthen in them the ambition to serve their people faithfully and well. Banish from their hearts ill will and rancor toward those with whom we disagree, so that, whatever be the result of this election, the morrow will see us a united people cooperating loyally for the good of our country and mankind. AMEN.
From: The Faith of America. Compiled by: Mordecai M. Kaplan, J. Paul Williams, Eugene Kohn. Reconstructionist Press, 1951.