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Rabbi Klein Goes to Washington

Director of Jewish center leads opening prayer in U.S. House

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May 7, 2010 | by Matt Paolelli

Washington, D.C. --- Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, founder and director of the Tannenbaum Chabad House Jewish Center at Northwestern University, delivered the opening prayer Wednesday as guest chaplain before the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin, chaplain for the House of Representatives, invited Klein on the recommendation of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of the 9th district of Illinois.

"It was a tremendous honor for me to be asked to something of this nature," Klein said. "It's very regal going into the U.S. Capitol itself, and the only people who ever speak from the podium I spoke from are the President of the United States and the chaplains. The experience was truly amazing."

Klein said it was important for him to do a Jewish invocation, which typically begins with words of inspiration. Klein recalled a story told by Bill Cosby in his 1997 Northwestern commencement address.

"The story was about whether or not a cup was half full or half empty," Klein said. "I believe the cup is half full if you are able to pour for others, and that's really what Congress is trying to do for the people they represent, so I thought it was fitting."

During Klein's invocation, he asked for blessing on the members of the House and their families and for a year of peace.

Following Klein's invocation, Schakowsky took a moment to welcome Klein, speaking about the profound impact his work has had on the Northwestern campus and in the Evanston community. In addition to his role at Chabad House, Klein also serves as senior chaplain of the Evanston Police Department.

"I'm proud to be Jewish, I'm proud to be American, and I'm especially proud that I was able to represent Northwestern and the Evanston community in the Capitol," he said. "It was a great honor for me."

Click here to watch a video of the proceedings.
Topics: People