JTA: Rabbi Sharon Brous calls for ‘a new America’ at National Prayer Service

January 21st, 2021

Rabbi Sharon Brous, the California spiritual leader known for her rousing speeches fusing politics and Judaism, spoke at the National Prayer Service on Thursday morning, saying “Give us strength, God, as we usher in the dawn of a new America.”

The longstanding service, virtual this year because of the COVID pandemic, involves faith leaders offering prayers for a new U.S. presidential administration. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in Wednesday as president and vice president.

“Holy one, we stand before you in this moment full of pain and full of promise. In the midst of pandemic, in the shadow of insurrection, we lift up the ancient Jewish promise that after the long night of suffering, a redemptive dawn will come,” Brous, a political liberal, said in a two-minute video.

“Give us strength god as we usher in the dawn of a new America,” she added.

Sharon Kleinbaum, the senior rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, a New York City synagogue geared toward LGBTQ Jews, also spoke at the service, reciting a short passage from the Torah that includes one of many Biblical mentions to welcome the stranger.

“For the Holy One your God is eternal and supreme, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who shows no favor and takes no bribe, but upholds the cause of the orphan and the widow, and befriends the stranger, providing those who need with food and clothing. You, too, must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” Kleinbaum read.

Watch the full video of Brous here.