The JTA reported today that the Rabbinical Council of America (which represents Modern Orthodox rabbis) has determined that one of its members violated its rules by attending an interfaith service in the National Cathedral as part of the Inauguration yesterday:
A Rabbinical Council of America official told JTA that Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, the religious leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York City, broke the organization’s rules by participating in the service Wednesday at the National Cathedral on the morning after Barack Obama’s inauguration:
“The long-standing policy of the Rabbinical Council of America, in accordance with Jewish law, is that participation in a prayer service held in the sanctuary of a church is prohibited,” the RCA said in a statement. “Any member of the RCA who attends such a service does so in contravention of this policy and should not be perceived as representing the organization in any capacity.”
The RCA said that Lookstein’s participation was problematic both because the service was held in the sanctuary of a church, which Orthodox Jews are prohibited from entering, and because it was an interfaith prayer service, which the RCA discourages for fear that such participation could allow missionaries to legitimize their argument that Jews can indeed embrace Jesus.
I’m staggered and speechless but in the end, not surprised. I know all about the goy-phobias of traditional Judaism and this one is nothing new. I’m just thinking that this is so very sad, coming on the heels of yesterday’s incredible sense of national coming-together. I don’t know how any Christian could interpret this kind of attitude as anything other than flat out xenophobia…