On the last day of his visit to Jerusalem in 1871, William Seward, secretary of state under President Abraham Lincoln, attended Sabbath evening prayers at the Hurva Synagogue.
At the end of the service, the rabbi offered a special prayer of gratitude for Seward’s visit to the Jewish community of Jerusalem. It was an expression of appreciation to a world leader who acknowledged that Jerusalem is the eternal city of the Jews, one toward which they face in prayer and one to which they pray to return.
It would be most fitting for synagogues throughout the world to offer such a benediction for President Donald Trump and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
In the Reform synagogues of America, that is not going to happen. In a departure from Jewish history and tradition, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), denounced Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the absence of a “comprehensive peace plan,” however mythical.
Jacobs was joined in his denunciation by some 100 self-proclaimed “scholars” of Jewish studies, citing the ultra-left B’Tselem’s criticism of Jewish governance of the Arabs of Jerusalem.
A day later, Jacobs was walking back his statement. Had it suddenly dawned on him that Reform hatred for Trump had subsumed Jewish love for Israel? Or perhaps it was it Natan Sharansky’s stinging rebuke.