Saturday, July 16, 2016

My Startling Offer

Dear Ramaz Family,

When Ivanka Trump, a member of our congregation, invited me to deliver the opening prayer at the Republican National convention next Monday, I made a personal decision to honor her request out of respect for her and our relationship.

Unfortunately, when my name appeared on a list of speakers at the convention, without the context of the invocation I had been invited to present, the whole matter turned from rabbinic to political, something which was never intended. Like my father before me, I have never been involved in politics. Politics divides people. My life has been devoted to uniting a community - Ahavat Yisrael and ahavat ha-adam.

In the interest of bringing our community together, I have asked to be relieved of my commitment to deliver the invocation. My request has been honored with the same love and respect in which it was first offered and intended.

May God bless us with a Sabbath of rest, harmony and peace.

Shabbat Shalom,

Very cordially yours,

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein '47
Principal Emeritus

Dear Principal Emeritus And Rebbetzin Ivanka [interesting name for a Rebbetzin]

Hey, I'm in. Can do it instead? I also like to unite people but it would be thrilling to lead Am America in tefilla. No political overtones. Anyway, I don't vote Republican or Democrat. I always vote for Charedi parties.