Despite Tensions, Liberal Jewish Groups To Join Pre-5780 Phone Call With Trump

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U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Nov. 14, 2018. Credit: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.

Amid the divide between the Trump administration and left-wing Jewish religious organizations, at least a few major ones will participate in the annual call ahead of Rosh Hashanah between rabbis and U.S. President Donald Trump, scheduled for Sept. 27.

This tension has stemmed from Trump’s controversial rhetoric, such as accusing Jews who support Democrats as “disloyal” to Israel and the Jewish community, policies on immigration, gun violence and what at times seemed like a soft response to white nationalism, despite being hailed by the pro-Israel community as the friendliest U.S. president yet towards the State of Israel.

Those actions include, but aren’t limited to, recognizing Jerusalem and moving the U.S. embassy there; withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, reimposing sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new financial penalties against the regime; recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; and designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.

In 2017, leaders from the left-wing Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements boycotted the annual call over Trump blaming “both sides” in the violent scrimmage between alt-right and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, in which a white nationalist rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a woman and injuring dozens others.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis told JNS that it will participate in the call on Friday.

“The Rabbinical Assembly appreciates the outreach to the Jewish Community in honor of Rosh Hashanah, and, out of respect for the Office of the President, we will have a representative on the call,” said the organization’s chief executive, Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal.

T’ruah executive director Rabbi Jill Jacobs said that while she was able to register for the call (the link was provided by JNS), “I’m still left with the question of why nobody in the administration thought to invite the largest interdenominational rabbinic organization.”

She added that “it’s strange that the president would not be interested in being in touch with the organization that represents more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors of all denominations—and one that is actively fighting anti-Semitism—despite his stated concern for Jews.”

However, Jacobs said there won’t be a T’ruah representative on the call, “given that we were not actually invited,” aside from being given the link to sign up, and “have not been told the purpose of the call.”

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, despite being provided a link to sign up for the call, will again skip the annual call with the president.

“Given that it was without context or details, I assume I am not invited and will not sign up,” said Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association executive director Rabbi Elyse Wechterman.

The Orthodox Union, the Coalition for Jewish Values, Chabad-Lubavitch, the Union for Reform Judaism and the National Council of Young Israel will have representatives on the call, the organizations told JNS.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The White House did not respond to a request on Thursday as to which organizations will be on the call.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. In the Hearing in Congres today NOT ONE republikaaner defended their Dear Leader Trump. They attacked the Hearing, attacked the Whistleblower, attacked the media, attacked ‘spies’ in the Trump white house. No defense. Just attacks. That’s sicko Roy Cohn’s tactic. Even Drudge and Faux News is running to the Bunker.

    • Noone claims he is perfect. he makes mistakes and there ain’t much to defend. he also plays dirty and we won’t defend dirty play. But at the same time we don’t care and too bad. We just want you people to let him live and do his job. Yes that includes playing dirty bec that’s what him and all polticians do

  2. There were many republican and democrat who run this country, he has too real estate deals which are know to be borderline dishonest. Youi don’t understand and probably don’t history. The Ukrainian president is Jew in a country who took part in the extermination of Jews

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