The prophet Jeremiah advised the Jews who were exiled in Babylonia that they should “seek the welfare of the city to which (God) has exiled you and pray to the Eternal in its behalf; for through its peace you shall have peace” (Jer. 29.7). In the centuries that followed, Jews have offered prayers on behalf of leaders in every land in which they have dwelled.
In 1846, Rabbi Max Lilienthal objected to prayers that referenced the specific names of monarchs and their families. He composed a prayer that was more broadly worded. Reform and Conservative congregations have followed suit.
On this day in which Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, we offer this prayer that can be found in the Conservative siddur, Sim Shalom:
“Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country, for its government, for its leader and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights of Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.
Creator of all flesh, bless all the inhabitants of our country with Your spirit. May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony to banish all hatred and bigotry and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions which are the pride and glory of our country.
May this land under Your Providence be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom and helping them to fulfill the vision of Your prophet: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war any more.’”