24 Nov, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

In an unprecedented act of unity, 13 of America’s most prominent Orthodox rabbis signed a letter blessing President Trump for all his efforts in protecting the religious rights of Jewish Americans, blessing him to “lead us forward to ever greater good.” 

Orthodox Rabbis Sign Letter of Blessing to Trump

On Saturday night, Mishpacha Magazine published a “historic letter” from a group of some of the most distinguished Orthodox rabbis in support of President Trump. 

“Anyone familiar with the Orthodox community in the United States recognizes how unique this is, not just to gather such illustrious rabbis, but to have them sign the same letter,’: Mishpacha Magazine wrote. “It’s unprecedented.”

“We shared it, not as an endorsement, because it isn’t an endorsement,” Mishpacha added. “But as news — which it is — to see rabbis of this level of influence and reach, join together in this fashion.”

The letter was composed in June by  Rabbi Moshe Margareten, a member of the Skverer Hassidic sect who directs the Tzedek Association and who participated in last year’s Hanukkah celebration at the White House. It was given over in September and released in October. Mishpacha removed the date before publication due to the confusing timeline. 

The rabbis who signed the letter were the Satmar Rebbe in Kiryas Joel, New York, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum; the Satmar Rebbe in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum; the Vizhnitz Rebbe, Rabbi Yisroel Hager; the Bobov Rebbe, Rabbi Benzion Halberstam; and Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, a senior member of Agudath Yisrael of America’s Council of Torah Sages, Rabbi Jacob Grunwald the Grand Rabbi of Pupa, Rabbi Malkiel Kotler the Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, NJ, Rabbi Avraham Osdoba, Rabbi Moshe Rabinovich the Grand Rabbi of Munkac, Rabbi David Twersky the Grand Rabbi of New Square, Rabbi Yitzchok Twersky the Grand Rabbi of Rachmistrivka, Rabbi Moshe Wolfson of Mesivta Torah Vodaas and the Rabbinical Seminary Emunas Yisroel, and Rabbi Eli Dov Wachtfogel Rosh Yeshiva of South Fallsburg.

The Text of the Letter

“We write to express our deepest gratitude to you, Mr. President, especially in light of your recent declaration that houses of worship should be considered ‘essential,’” they wrote.

“You have given a powerful voice to what all good people know beyond any doubt: that now, more than ever, we must turn to Almighty God, fortifying our faith and staying true to our values in the face of these current tribulations.”

“During any time of crisis people of all backgrounds beliefs and denominations look for leadership, to help them steer a course through the turbulence and uncertainty. Yet, not every era is blessed with the same caliber of leadership, as becomes evident in the extent to which a nation retains its integrity through times of upheaval.”

“It is precisely with this in mind that we feel so grateful that you, Mr. President, are indeed expressing that leadership we need so urgently, standing up for the First Amendment rights which is critical to help us weather to storm of the current pandemic.

“You have exemplified that leadership with your commitment to the essential importance of religious entities,” they wrote. “You understand, Mr. President, that it is our faith in God that will keep us strong and lift us out of this calamity.”

“Like all tribulations, as we face this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we rely on our faith and trust in God to overcome this overwhelming challenge. That is why your affirmation of religious liberty is so important, especially at a time when we need our houses of worship and religious schools open- in a safe and sensible manner- now more than ever. Your unwavering support for the religious liberty has sent a clear and unequivocal message that the right to pray and study is non-negotiable. Houses of worship and religious schools are indeed essential and indispensable to nourishing the soul, much as food nourishes the body. 

“Mr. President, Judaism stresses that God rewards each of us ‘measure for measure’- we are recompensed according to the nature of our deeds. As you have strengthened America to proudly hold aloft the banner of God and religious belief, so too may God almighty bless you to proudly lead us to victory in our current war with COVID-19. In the eternal words of Psalms (84:8), may you go from ‘strength to strength’, leading us forward to ever greater good, with personal blessings of health, with prosperity and the joy of your family and friends. 

“We conclude with this prayer:

“He that giveth salvation unto our leaders, He that delivered David from the sword of the enemy, He that made a way in the sea, and a path in the strong waters, bless and keep, preserve and rescue, exalt and magnify, and lift up higher and higher, the President of these United States of America, President Donald J. Trump, may the King of all Kings defend him in His mercy, bring him joy and protect him from all dangers and distress. SO may it please God, and let us say Amen.”

President Trump responded via tweet on Sunday that said simply, “Thank you, Rabbis!”