Kayla Moore, the wife of failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, has revealed the identity of the Jewish attorney she cited to defend her husband from anti-Semitism charges — and that attorney is a Christian.
The identity of the lawyer was the subject of intense curiosity in the Jewish community ever since Kayla Moore proclaimed at a campaign rally last month, “One of our attorneys is a Jew.”
Moore told local news website AL.com on Thursday that she was referring to Martin Wishnatsky, a staff lawyer at the Foundation for Moral Law, which she runs.
Wishnatsky, 73, told AL.com that he was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey, to a family that was “100% Jewish.” He says he had a bar mitzvah, but to his nonreligious family, Judaism “was just an ethnic characteristic.” According to an autobiography on his website, Wishnatsky’s great-aunt lost over 50 members of her family in the Holocaust.
Wishnatsky, who got a doctorate in political science from Harvard University in 1975, says that he accepted Jesus Christ as the son of God two years later. He first started exploring Mormonism, but later distanced himself from it; he went on to write a book called “Mormonism: A Latter Day Deception.” He now identifies as a Messianic Jew.
Wishnatsky worked as a college instructor and stockbroker before moving to North Dakota in the early 1990s and becoming a full-time anti-abortion activist. He was twice convicted of misdemeanors for his activities, including once for refusing to stay 100 feet from an abortion clinic, and spent a total of 18 months in jail.
In a Washington Post interview in 1993, Wishnatsky compared abortion to the Holocaust. “How many Jews were killed just for who they were?” he asked. “And how many babies have been killed for what they are?”
After two decades in North Dakota, Wishnatsky went on to graduate from law school at Liberty University before clerking for Roy Moore in the Alabama Supreme Court, then working for the Moores’ foundation, where he writes friend-of-the-court briefs.
Wishnatsky’s personal website includes links to poetry, books and legal briefs he has written, as well as coverage of his exploits in church musical performances, talent show competitions and community theater.
Wishnatsky told Al.com that he did not believe the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore. “Why would he date [teen girls]?” he asked. “If you graduated from West Point, spent five years in the Army, served in Vietnam, graduated from law school, became a lawyer, were appointed district attorney, then your next step would be to take your clothes off with a 14-year-old? Does that make any sense? No, it doesn’t.”
Kayla Moore had also said last month that she and her husband “have very close friends that are Jewish and rabbis and we also fellowship with them.” According to Southern Jewish Life magazine, she was referring to leaders at Beth Hallel, a Messianic Jewish congregation in Birmingham.
The Forward first revealed earlier this week that Moore’s son Caleb Moore retained a Jewish attorney named Richard Jaffe to defend him on drug charges. Jaffe is a longtime friend of Moore’s opponent Doug Jones, helped to campaign and fundraise for him, and attended his swearing-in ceremony in Washington on Thursday.