News or Fark? Rabbi writes Election Day prayer

As soon as I read the headline, I thought "self-promoter! This is fake news. This is like a report on a guy translating the Bible into Australian."

Others must think, "Holy man!"

Then I saw the article was about someone I knew and I hesitated.

Here’s the JTA article:

A Massachusetts rabbi has written a prayer to say before voting.

The prayer is nonpartisan, says Rabbi David Seidenberg, a Conservative and Renewal rabbi in Northhampton, and based in part on the custom of pledging tzedakah when called to the Torah.

The prayer also includes a promise to engage in "tikkun olam."

"Just as I participated in elections today, so may I merit to do good deeds and repair the world with all my actions," reads the prayer, which then asks the reciter of the prayer to fill in a specific pledge to undertake "on behalf of all living creatures, and in remembrance of the covenant of Noah’s waters to protect and to not destroy the earth and her plenitude."

"The voting booth felt like a sacred space to me," said Seidenberg, and thus he hopes the prayer will put those who recite it "in a different frame of mind" when voting.

I knew Rabbi Seidenberg when he lived in Pico-Robertson. He was a colorful character, very much into protecting the environment. He was on a panel discussion I attended with various religious leaders talking about what they could do as religious leaders to reduce global warming.

I thought the panel discussion was phony posturing because none of the clerics had PhDs in meteorology and hence had no business making proclamations about global warming.

I hate it when people who have knowledge in one area believe that entitles them to make public pronouncements on stuff they know little about.

Rabbi Seidenberg stopped the discussion to force each of us in the audience to meditate on concrete steps we’d take to reduce global warming.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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