Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s Rabbi is criticizing Donald Trump for blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville. The Rabbi, Haskel Lookstein, is the same Rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism at the time that she married Jared Kushner is devastated that Trump is equivocating over the behavior of neo-Nazis who chanted anti-Semitic sayings. While Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have remained mum on the anti-Semitic violence, Rabbi Lookout says he cannot remain quiet.
Rabbi Haskel Lookout, former head Rabbi at Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue in Manhattan (he has recently retired from the head Rabbi position) was Trump and Kushner’s Rabbi when they lived in New York City, released a statement after Donald Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.
“We are appalled by this resurgence of bigotry and antisemitism, and the renewed vigor of the neo-Nazis, KKK and alt-right,” read the letter, which was signed by Lookstein and two other rabbis. “While we always avoid politics, we are deeply troubled by the moral equivalency and equivocation President Trump has offered in his response to this act of violence. We pray that our country heeds the voices of tolerance, and stays true to its vision of human rights and civil rights,”
When asked whether he had spoken to or counseled Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner about the comments made by Trump blaming both sides, Rabbi Lookout refused to discuss Ivanka Trump and Kushner.
“I respect their privacy very, very much. I don’t want to intrude on it.”
But Rabbi Lookout said that regardless, he felt that he could not remain quiet when he perceived the victims were being blamed for the anti-Semitic and racist attacks.
“My colleagues and I felt we had to make a statement that we felt was important for the congregation. And that’s it. It was very important to respond to the needs of my community.”
Ivanka Trump has made one comment, a tweet, which did not make mention of her unique position as a Jewish woman in Trump’s inner circle.
“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis. We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville.”
Abe Foxman, a Holocaust survivor who also previously served as the director of the Anti-Defamation League, is puzzled at how Donald Trump, a man with Jewish grandchildren, can refuse to call out anti-Semitism in any form.
“I never thought that I would witness the day that a president of the United States would rationalize away Nazism, its hatred, its violence, and find excuses for it. For him to have seen the torch parade and the epithets against his daughter, his grandchildren, his son-in-law, and stand up and say both sides are equal? Shame, shame, shame.”
Foxman says that whatever Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are doing to sway Donald Trump, it isn’t enough. But Foxman says that Trump clearly loves Ivanka, and she might be the only one who can change the narrative.
“Trump loves his daughter. She is the apple of his eye, and I saw him, he likes his son-in-law, but he certainly loves his grandchildren. They need to sit down with him and say to him, face-to-face, ‘Do you understand what message you’re sending to your grandchildren?’”
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Lev Golinkin of CNN says that the silence from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner was troubling to many people around the world, and certainly to American Jews. As Jews within Donald Trump’s inner circle, Golinkin says that it speaks volumes about Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner that they have not spoken out against the rise in anti-Semitism, and the chants about “Jews won’t replace us” in Charlottesville as part of a march against the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.
“No press conference was forthcoming, no rejection of Donald Trump’s words; there was no statement from Jared about the horror his grandparents had survived; nothing from Ivanka, who had spoken about standing up for mothers on the campaign trail, about defending today’s Jewish children — her children; indeed all children — from intimidation and violence. There was nothing, but the sound of steady clicking on Ivanka’s electronic device as she wrote two tweets.”
Do you think Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner should say something in light of their Rabbi’s criticism of Donald Trump?
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