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Rabbis boycotting Trump are ignorant of their own history

The president was correct in condemning all violence. In a viable democracy, there is no excuse for political violence in the streets.

The novel Bridge on the Drina is a poignant depiction of the Balkans being torn between the competing empires of the Ottomans and the Austro-Hungarians.

In 1878, Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina. As the troops of the Hapsburg Empire came across the bridge on the Drina, representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths stood there as supplicants, hoping their new rulers would recognize them as representatives of their respective communities.

In America, even minority religions have access to the corridors of power, and some of these political relationships are informally institutionalized.

The representatives of faith groups are not supplicants standing on a bridge waiting humbly for some sign of recognition.

For Jews, one of the mechanisms that affirm their access to the political structure is the annual High Holy Day conference call with the president.

This year, three non-Orthodox rabbinic associations, seemingly unaware of their own painful history, will boycott the annual event. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform), the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative) and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assembly, joined by the political arm of the Reform Movement, will not take US President Donald Trump’s call.

Their decision is as contemptible as it is outrageous and self-indulgent.

For centuries Jews were wantonly deprived of the opportunity to have the needs of their communities heard. Now, possessing political access, these religious leaders seek to squander it.

Their forebears, who stood on the bridge over the Drina waiting for recognition by the Hapsburgs, could not have imagined either this kind of access or behavior.

The boycott will further alienate the Jewish community from the administration.

It is an immoral form of grandstanding at the expense of the Jewish community.

Continue reading in the Jerusalem Post…

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