Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, director of Agudath Israel of Maryland, was among the religious leaders at last week’s White House National Day of Prayer Service.

Sadwin, the only rabbi in attendance, was the last clergy member to speak at the May 7 ceremony, which was held in the Rose Garden before the event concluded with Spirit of Faith Christian Center Choir.

Sadwin recited the following prayer:

King Solomon, in his great wisdom, writes in the second chapter of Song of Songs: “There He stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices.”


The Midrash commentary explains this to be referring to Almighty G-d, at a time when His presence is NOT visible, nor is it readily apparent. But, fear not, says King Solomon, “He is right there in the background, watching over you through the window, and the lattice.”


Avinu H’av Harachaman, Oh, our Merciful Father: This idea is so apparent and reminiscent to this most challenging time during which we find ourselves. Our relationship with You seems so different from what it has always been.


We have not been in Your House—our holy synagogues—in nearly two months! These sacred places where we go to seek You and to derive inspiration—three times a day, every day—are empty, dark and shuttered.


Instead, all we have had is the sanctuary of our own homes and the limited allowable interactions. There is fear, there is sickness, there is death—wherever we turn and whenever we listen. But, yet, we know YOU are still there, watching over us.


Ribono Shel Olam, Master of the World: You are the Rofeh Chol Bassar—the Healer of all flesh. We implore you to eradicate this awful plague from Your earth. Heal those who suffer. Comfort those who mourn. Sustain those who have lost livelihood.


Please bless our president and first lady, our vice president and second lady, and the entire administration, as well as the leaders of state and local governments who must make critical decisions each and every day.


Please bless the doctors, nurses, first responders and all medical personnel who dedicate their lives to save others.


Please bless the selfless community and civic leaders who are doing their part to help those in need.


And please bless each and every one of your 330 million children who make up the United States of America. Amen.

Other speakers included Pastor Brittany Akinsola, a nurse at  Samaritan’s Purse; Mario Salerno, a landlord and auto-shop owner; Sister Eneyda Martinez of Poor Sisters of St. Joseph in Pennsylvania; Pujari Harish Brahmbhatt, B.A.P.S. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Robbinsville, N.J.; Bishop Dwight Green, a member of the Board of Bishops at the Church of God in Christ in Tennessee; Chaplain Ibraheem A. Raheem, a U.S. Army chaplain at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland; and Sister Debbie Marriott Harrison, a member of the public-affairs advisory council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Washington, D.C.

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