Skip To Content
Forward 50 2017

Marvin Hier

The President’s Rabbi

The rise of Donald Trump has been very good to Marvin Hier, founder and leader of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Hier has been an oft-noisy voice on the national Jewish scene since the 1970s. But the months since Trump’s inauguration have seen him ascend from the rank and file of Jewish organizational leaders to the top tier of A-list spokesmen for the Jews.

Hier, 78, addressed the nation at Trump’s inauguration in January, asking God to “Bless President Donald J. Trump and America, our great nation.”

Although it was lauded as a great honor for the Jewish community, Hier blessing the 45th president provoked a backlash in that community, as well as online among anti-Semites.

At a moment when few Jewish leaders are willing to get behind the president’s policies or to stand by the president’s initiatives, Hier has literally stood beside him at a press conference. Now, he’s a rare link between the organized Jewish community and the president.

What remains to be seen is how Hier, and the Wiesenthal Center, will fare if they remain close to a president whose popularity, particularly in the Jewish community, continues to plummet.

For now, though, late in his career, Hier is enjoying a moment of high influence and attention.

“I will say that I get a lot of calls,” Hier told the Forward last June. “What can I do? I’m not going to deny that.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.