Harav Chaim Rottenberg’s Invocation for the State of the State Address

Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg delivering the invocation by the Governor’s State of the State Message in Albany, NY, on January 8, 2020.

We pray to you today Our Father in Heaven: May it be your will that we all join together in the struggle to see Divine dignity in all of humanity.

Just eleven days ago, our community in Monsey was the target of a horrific act. On the seventh night of Hanukkah, as we lit the menorah joined by family and congregants, singing and celebrating the miracles of the holiday, a vicious attacker entered our home. He mercilessly stabbed five of the participants, one of them my beloved son. One of the injured, a senior congregant and family friend, Mr. Joseph Neumann remains in extremely critical condition; he needs our prayers.

Father in Heaven bless and heal us. I will never forget the horror of that night. But I will also never forget how we continued to celebrate after the attack; how we continued to rejoice in the miracle of Hanukkah. I will never forget the resilience on display that night and in the following days – the resilience of the Jewish people and the resilience of New York.

I will never forget how, in the face of tragedy, we were blessed by G-d. The miraculous fashion in which the attacker was subdued, which limited what could have been a far worse and fatal event. We pray that Divine Providence should continue protecting us from evil forces who are out to harm us physically, or from those who are out to attack our Hassidic traditional way of life and system of education.

We ask for the Almighty’s blessing upon the great state of New York, our people, our elected leaders and our Honorable Governor. In this critical time for New York and for the entire nation, bless us, Almighty G-d, with the courage to overcome tragedy, bless us with the strength to heal the wounds of hatred, and bless us with solidarity to promote tolerance and brotherhood.

We are blessed with a Governor who visited us the very next morning, less than ten hours of this tragic event, who proved his solidarity with action, and not just with words.

We are blessed with a police force that came immediately, to our aid, deployed by the Governor and who stood bravely that night, and in the days that followed, watching over our community, ensuring our safety and freedom.

We ask you, Merciful Father, bless our Governor who has committed himself to protect our way of life and broaden security. Guide him in eradicating hate at its source and across all platforms, and help him promote and instill the values of tolerance and appreciation among all our neighborhoods and communities, who may look different, talk in a different language or raise and educate their children according to their unique ancestral traditions.

Bless this great state of New York and its people and guide this nation through these troubled times, toward a more peaceful world.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivering his State of the State address in Albany, NY, on January 8, 2020.