Four of America’s leading rabbis denounced Donald Trump and his divisive rhetoric ahead of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
The rabbis – speaking for themselves and not their respective organizations – are Rabbi Gil Steinlauf of Adas Israel Congregation, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism: Steve Gutow, a prominent Reconstructionist rabbi and a senior advisor to J Street’s PAC; and Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom, the oldest Orthodox synagogue in Washington.
“The first chapter of the Torah reminds us that all men and women are created equally in the image of God. Men and women of faith should indeed form a coalition to denounce the racism and bigotry that Trump spews forth and inspires,” Rabbi Herzfeld said as he referenced to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
“I speak today as a member of the Jewish people who, since biblical times, have endured countless oppressive regimes, countless acts of discrimination, oppression, brutalization and genocide,” said Rabbi Steinlauf. “Everything about the Jewish heritage and historical memory calls out to us not to remain silent, but to speak out courageously and strongly against the threat of a Trump presidency.”
Noting that Trump’s had inspired White Supremacists and earning praise of David Duke, as well as his anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim rhetoric, Rabbi Steinlauf said, “The Jewish people must speak out in solidarity with all our brothers and sisters who are under threat by Trump.”
“If Muslims are not free and safe in America, then Christians and Jews are not free and safe in America,” added Rabbi Yoffie. “If Latinos are not free and safe in America, then no ethnic group is free and safe in America.”
Addressing Trump in person in the statement, Yoffie pleaded, “Change the course of your campaign,” and “do what presidential nominees have always done in this country—which is to help Americans strengthen one another, inspire one another, and promote the values of justice and love that are common to all of our faiths.”
“Our religious traditions, clearly the Jewish tradition, teach us that both of these, fairness and justice, as well as the rule of law are integral elements of a just world,” Gutow said in a statement. “The President of the United States is the person who must reflect that voice.”