The childhood rabbi of Stephen Miller denounced the divisive White House aide during Rosh Hashanah services at the synagogue where he once worshipped.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels devoted much of his High Holidays sermon to a rebuke of Miller for spearheading President Trump’s right-wing attacks on immigrants — and especially his unpopular policy of separating families at the border.
“Mr. Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole,” Comess-Daniels told the congregation at Beth Shir Shalom, a Reform temple in Santa Monica, according to The Guardian. “(It’s) obvious to me that you didn’t get my, or our, Jewish message.”
The rabbi even admitted that fellow rabbis have questioned whether he somehow failed to teach Miller the Jewish values of respect for others.
“What I taught is a Judiasm that cherishes, wisdom, values … wide horizons and an even wider embrace,” the rabbi said. “[Separating families] is completely antithetical to everything I know about Judaism, Jewish law and Jewish values.”
The rabbi insisted it was his responsibility to speak out against Miller, especially on one of the most sacred days on the Jewish calendar.
“In a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible,” he said. “Because we want this society to remain free, we will continue to act.”
Miller and his family attended Beth Shir Shalom when he was a child but left before he was bar mitzvahed. Other relatives have also sharply criticized Miller for betraying the legacy of his own Jewish immigrant relatives.
The White House aide has long been an advocate for hardline policies, especially on immigration, and has won Trump’s support for making it one of his signature issues. But his idea to separate parents seeking asylum from their children backfired even among Republicans.
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner
Stephen Miller Rabbi Slams Him In Rosh Hashanah Sermon