WASHINGTON (Sep. 23)
Speaker of the House John W. McCormack authorized today special Rosh Hashanah services in the prayer room of the Capitol building to enable the 15 Jewish members of the House to be present for Monday’s scheduled crucial vote on home rule for the District of Columbia. All Jewish members signed the discharge petition bringing the measure to the floor for a vote. Monday was the only available day for the House to begin action on this controversial measure. It is believed that this is the first time in history that such an arrangement was made to enable Congressmen to vote on a vital issue during the High Holy Days.
The small nondenominational chapel accommodates only about 20 people. Staff members of Jewish faith, therefore, have been advised to stay home from work and attend their own synagogues.
A rabbi and a cantor will participate in the services. The prayer room will be equipped with an Ark and Torah. Services will be conducted on both Monday and Tuesday. It was indicated that the services will be Orthodox, although most members adhere to Conservative or Reform beliefs.
Since the three Jewish members of the Senate are not required to be present for Congressional business, it was indicated that they would not attend the chapel services at the Capitol.