(JTA) — A Washington, D.C.-area rabbi referred to the attacks on a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, and on a Texas church the following day in his prayer opening a pro forma session of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, a Navy veteran and retired Navy chaplain, called on listeners to “look ahead with hope, but with eyes wide open to prejudice, hatred, terror that remain — fueling violence like the anti-Semitic Hanukkah party attack Saturday, the Texas church attack Sunday …”
A pro forma session takes place when either the House or Senate is technically in legislative session but when no votes are held and no formal business is typically conducted.
Howard Mortman of C-Span told the Washington Examiner that it was the first time that anti-Semitism in America was mentioned in a prayer opening a House session.
Resnicoff delivered the prayer, the last in Congress for the decade, from the House floor wearing a tie decorated with menorahs. It was his 16th prayer in Congress, the most by any rabbi.
The rabbi ended by quoting the song “We Shall Overcome,” which became a mantra for the civil rights movement and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome someday. Deep in my heart, I do believe. We shall overcome someday.”
Resnicoff also delivered a prayer in the House in the wake of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue building in Pittsburgh, which referred to the attack and noted that “we pray, reflect, meditate in different ways but unite when hatred rears its ugly head.”