The Jewish High Holidays afford members of the faith with an opportunity to take stock of their lives. During the Ten Days of Repentance that begin with Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur, Jews are expected to consider their behavior over the previous year and make right what they did wrong. Sins against God require sincere confession and regret; wrongdoings we have committed to other people must be made right with those people directly.
President Barack Obama initiated the practice of holding a conference call with American rabbis of all denominations just prior to the Jewish High Holidays. In the course of that call, both the President and the rabbis expressed common concerns and aspirations for the American people and humanity.
As a direct result of Trump suggesting that those protesting again the white supremacists in Charlotteville were equally responsible for the violence that ensued, the majority of non-Orthodox American rabbis (Conservative, Reform, Jewish Renewal, Reconstructionist) elected to protest the President’s remarks by not participating in the annual High Holiday call. Like many Americans, the rabbis believe in blaming both the white supremacists and the anti-hate counter protesters, Trump gave the neo-Nazis, Klansman, and other white supremacist groups the kind of legitimacy they don’t deserve.
The New York Times is reporting that the Union of Orthodox Congregations and the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America have broken ranks with the rest of American Jewry and will, after all, participate in the Pre-High Holiday Conference call with Trump. Why?
As a social worker and progressive liberal, I’ll be the last to discount the importance of dialogue or the futility of closing doors and building actual or symbolic walls between people. I also appreciate a legitimate operating strategy that is more often applied by conservative thinking people: there have to be consequences for peoples actions. During his campaign for President, Trump showed us countless times that he was unstable, immature, narcissistic, misogynist who had no reservation expressing and encouraging bigotry. He lied and continues to lie daily.
The majority of American Jews did not vote for Trump; the majority of American Orthodox Jews did. Why? Because of some noble, enlightened notions about forgiveness, tolerance, and desire to partner with Trump to build a better world? I don’t think so. They voted for Trump because many were appreciative of his intolerance for Muslims and the simplistic tribalism of his approach to race relations and foreign policy. Trump, they hoped, would be good for Israel, regardless of his personal shortcomings.
They voted for Trump because many were appreciative of his intolerance for Muslims and the simplistic tribalism of his approach to race relations and foreign policy. Trump, they hoped, would be good for Israel, regardless of his personal shortcomings.
Did the OU agree to participate in the pre-High Holiday conference call because one or more of their rabbis welcomed the opportunity to politely scold him as Jewish Week Publisher, Gary Rosenblatt wistfully suggested someone should! in an August 30th column? I think not.
The OU broke ranks with the rest of the Jewish community for same reasons that a majority of American Orthodox Jews voted for Trump in the election: better to have a guy who shares our views on Israel and Muslims.
After 4 years of working in a state prison as a Jewish Chaplain and after some bad experiences trying to reason with sociopaths and other mentally dysfunctional types who know how to lie and manipulate people, I have had to learn that dialogue and respect can only go so far. People who have difficulty distinguishing between right and wrong must instead be subjected to negative consequences for bad behavior.
During his campaign for President, Trump showed us countless times that he was unstable, immature, narcissistic, misogynist who had no reservations about expressing and encouraging bigotry. He lied and continues to lie daily.
The majority of American Jews did not vote for Trump; the majority of American Orthodox Jews did. Why? Because of some noble, enlightened notions about forgiveness, tolerance, and desire to partner with Trump to build a better world? I don’t think so.
I don’t believe Donald Trump is a reasonable person to be reasoned with. Sorry, but you don’t get to sit with the adults if you act like a child –regardless of your age or title. The fact that a butcher was mistakenly hired by an inept personnel office at the hospital to be a brain surgeon doesn’t mean I have to call him doctor or let him operate on me.
I sincerely hope I will be pleasantly surprised to learn after the High Holiday Conference Call that a member of the OU took Trump to task for his misspeaking/mishandling of the whole Charlottesville debacle. I’m not holding my breath and even if it does happen, Trump will tell the world after that he spoke with “more rabbis during that call than any other previous President and they were in complete agreement on everything. “
BREAKING AS WE ARE ABOUT TO PUBLISH THIS COMMENTARY THE NEW YORK TIMES IS REPORTING:
WASHINGTON — President Trump thrust himself back into the racial storms of Charlottesville on Thursday, repeating his charge that those resisting the neo-Nazis and white supremacists were as much to blame as the alt-right crowds who marched on the Virginia college town last month.
Mr. Trump was characterizing his side of a conversation on Wednesday with Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina, during which Mr. Scott, the Senate’s only black Republican, said he confronted the president on his claim that “both sides” were responsible for the violence that followed a torchlight protest against the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.
“Especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the anti-fascist group that clashed with neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Mr. Trump has offered constantly shifting statements about Charlottesville, alternately condemning the hate groups and declaring a moral equivalence between them and the counter-protesters. On Thursday, speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Mr. Trump reverted to the unapologetic stance he took in a news conference last month at Trump Tower.
“Now because of what’s happened since then, with Antifa, you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville — a lot of people are saying — in fact, a lot of people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump might have point,” Mr. Trump said. “I said, ‘You’ve got some very bad people on the other side, which is true.’”