Citing President’s Trump “moral failure” in response to Charlottesville, Virginia, the rabbinical arms of three American Jewish denominations have decided to pull out of the annual conference call held by the president before the High Holidays.
The rabbinical groups of the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements said in a joint statement that Trump’s recent remarks “are so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred” that they’ve decided they will not help to organize the conference call this year.
High Holiday presidential conference calls began during Barack Obama’s presidency. Thousands of rabbis from across the country and from all groups participated in the calls.
This year, “we’ve heard over and over from the president and what we heard is a moral failure,” Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, told the Forward.
He called on Trump to “do teshuvah,” or repent, and noted that according to Jewish tradition, “the gates of teshuvah are always open.”
The Orthodox movement, which also took part in past years in organizing the call, did not join the other denominations’ decision to pull out.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jewish Movements Boycott Trump’s High Holiday Call