This Ultra-Orthodox Jew Dedicated His Vote to Slain Muslim Soldier Humayun Khan

At the end of an election filled with divisiveness, Yosef Rapaport didn’t know what to expect when he tweeted that he had dedicated his vote to the American Muslim soldier Captain Humayun Khan — the American Muslim soldier killed in combat whose father Khizr spoke movingly about his sacrifice at the Democratic National Convention. That speech was an extended rebuke to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s repeated call to ban Muslims from the United States, after which Trump belittled the family.

But Rapaport, whose parents were Hungarian Holocaust survivors, shouldn’t have worried about how his tweet would be received. At the time of publication, his message had been liked almost 12,000 times and retweeted 5,496 times, including by such luminaries as J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.

“The people who write me in response,” he told the Forward, “it brought me to tears. It’s what makes me proud to be an American.”

Rapaport, who is a Haredi Hasidic Jew, shared a photo of himself holding a folder carefully masking his completed ballot, alongside a photo of Captain Khan and his gravestone. As an Orthodox Jewish immigrant, he wrote, he wanted to highlight how Captain Khan’s “devotion makes (religious) freedom possible.”

“Religious freedom and freedom in general is something that’s near and dear to my heart,” he told the Forward.

In his speech at the convention, Khizr Khan, an immigration lawyer, pulled a mini edition of the Constitution out of his pocket and urged Trump to read it. Afterwards, Trump asked why Humayun Khan’s mother hadn’t spoken as well, and said that he had sacrificed as well — by working hard.

“I definitely had it in mind that an attack on one religious minority is a threat to my existence in America,” Rapaport said. “I feel this extra need to have gratitude towards others [with whom] I probably wouldn’t see eye to eye politically.”

“It’s a fundamental Jewish concept of hakarat hatov, you have to honor the goodness that others did for you.”

A number of Twitter users praised Rapaport for lending some much-needed goodness to the stressful climax of the campaign season.

So who’s Rapaport voting for? He laughed at the question.

“You don’t gottta be stupid to know who I voted for,” he said.


Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture fellow. Contact her at zax@forward.com or on Twitter, @TalyaZax

Author

Talya Zax

Talya Zax

Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture fellow. Contact her at zax@forward.com or on Twitter, @TalyaZax.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

This Ultra-Orthodox Jew Dedicated His Vote to Slain Muslim Soldier Humayun Khan

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close