The tradition only goes back a few Presidential terms. The way it worked was simple: The Religious Action Center, in conjunction with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assembly, the (Reform) Central Conference of American Rabbis and the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly would touch base with the White House’s official Jewish liaison to arrange a phone conference with the Commander-in-Chief just ahead of the Jewish New Year. More a monologue than anything resembling an open forum, the phone calls provided a platform for the President to share some sentiments, insights and opinions that would be of particular concern to the American Jewish community. This year, facing doubts regarding the 45th American President’s ability to stand up against hateful—including anti-semitic—movements, and, in the absence of a Jewish liaison in the White House, no such High Holiday phone call is being arranged with the leader of the Executive Branch of the American government.
This news—this break from tradition that may read as a challenge or an insult to the Office of the Presidency—has shocked many Americans and Jews outside the United States.
While I do not know who has been leaking information from the White House, I conducted some of my own research, and I believe that I have successfully pieced together the speech that Mr. Trump would have offered the American rabbinate in 2017: Based off of transcripts of previous statements by Trump (points during debates, victory tour speeches, appealing to the Republican Jewish Coalition, press conferences with or without Netanyahu, tweets and more), the following is what most likely would be the transcript of the American President’s message to Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative rabbis that they will miss this year:
Thank you. Thank you for joining this call today. First off, I know that some people said they wouldn’t join this call today, but that number is very small. Very very small. There are hundreds of rabbis on this call, and the reason for that is very simple. Rabbis are for Making America Great Again. You can look at the ratings. 85%. 90%. 95%. All across the board, rabbis approve me. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a rabbi in New York or California or anywhere else. These are all states that overwhelmingly voted for me and not for crooked Hillary. And I know that I couldn’t have won this election if it weren’t for the help of my special Jewish friends. Last year was a very dark time. It was a real disaster for our country. Unemployment was at its highest. And I know that a lot of you on this call spoke out last year and said, “This has gotta change.” And speak out you did. High holiday sermons all over this beautiful country said the same thing I’d been saying for years: “Make America great again.” That was the number one message of the High Holiday season. And it’s always been, even when crooked Hillary wanted to ruin the crumbling infrastructure of our country. She thought she was a friend of the Jews just because her daughter married a Jew. A lot of my friends’ daughters married Jews, but let me tell you. Those friends of mine are not necessarily friends of the Jews. Very fine people though. Very very fine people. But they’re no Donald J. Trump.
A lot of people say to me, “Why do you care so much about the Jews?” And the answer should be obvious. In fact, if you look at the history, there has never been a more pro-Jewish president than I am. You like making business deals, and I like making business deals. A lot of people look at my Cabinet and say, “That’s a lot of Jews,” and I say, “You’re right, because they’re the best at business.” And you know it too. Look around your synagogues, and you’ll see it. Suits and ties all across the aisle. These men mean business. And the dresses too. Beautiful dresses. Some women can also be successful businessmen. They’re in good shape. Very beautiful.
So, I want to thank you for teaching all Jewish Americans how to make America great again. No matter what God we believe in or what skin color we are—we are Americans first. Black lives matter? You could say that, but all lives matter because we are Americans. But our country is in ruins. It’s a disaster, and, because of Obamacare, we are now bankrupt. But everybody knows that Judaism is the best religion because Jews can think like businessmen. They can negotiate with anyone. And that’s why we’re gonna do something really big. Really big. Huge. Something you’ve never seen before.
I met with my friend Bibi Matinyahu a few months ago, and we agreed 100% on everything. I said that the Palestinians have to stop it. They’re killing all the Israelis. Hundreds. Thousands. Millions. You look around Israel, and everybody’s dead. And he agreed. Every word. We barely had to talk. The fake media didn’t cover it, but we looked at one-state solution, and we looked at two-state solution. We agreed. The solution we both want is the solution the people want. So, we’re gonna make it happen. We’re gonna get it done. We’re making America great again. Israel is making Israel great again. They built a wall, and it’s worked beautifully. There hasn’t been a single incident. I asked a security officer over there how the wall was, and he said to me in all honesty, “You wouldn’t believe it, Donald. It’s been perfect.” So, we’re gonna build a wall. There are too many bad hombres, and we have to stop those terrorists and illegal aliens and drug dealers and put an end to NAFTA. If it weren’t for illegal voters, I would have won the election. But thank God, and I say this as an American, I won. And that’s good because nobody supports Israel more than I do. You probably heard on the fake news that I am best friends with Vladamir Putin. I’ve never even met the guy. Fake news. Fake news. Sad. Nothing stands between me and Israel.
Now, the word Shabbat means “peace.” This is a time for peace. So a lot of people are saying: Where are the Muslims who want to make peace? I’ll tell you the answer. Look what General Purshing did. He rounded up 50 radical Muslim terrorists, shot 49 of them with bullets covered in the blood of pigs, and told the 50th guy, “You go tell ’em what happened to the other guys.” There was no radical Islamic terrorism for decades. Why’d we stop shooting Muslim terrorists with bullets covered in pig blood? People don’t study history. If we study history, we can stop racism. It’s these small Federal courts who are racists and calling it a travel ban on Muslim countries. They’re overreaching. These guys are the worst.
By the way, I do read the news, so I know racism has been in the fake news a lot. A lot of racism. From many, many sides. Both sides. Look at the numbers. 500. 700. 1,000. When is it going to end? As Americans, we don’t believe in hatred. There’s too much violence against racists and non-racists. Also, we have to stop Chicago before it’s too late, but the liberals don’t wanna listen. CNN never talks about Chicago. There are rabbis in Chicago, and you should know that Chicago is even worse than Detroit now. I own a business in Detroit. Very hard working people. Beats Chicago.
It means so much to me that you are all on this call and listening to my message for the coming year. I really want to be so presidential. Iran wants to destroy Israel, but Iran doesn’t even want to do business with any of my companies. We have to stop Iran and North Korea. They can expect fire and fury like never before if they even lift a finger at us. Afghanistan is in trouble. We’re gonna finish the job in Afghanistan, and everyone’s gonna be real happy—Democrats and Republicans. This is huge.
I understand that some of the rabbis on this call are from Texas. Please send my best regards to all the victims of Harvey, and just know that I am there for you. Let me know if you need anything. Thank you.
<unclearly transmitted or articulated sentence fragments likely drawing a connection between election fraud and transgender individuals in the U.S. military>
Look, this call is very personal to me, and I’m taking it seriously. I have Jewish grandkids. I visited Anne Frank’s house. She wasn’t there, but we had an amazing time I’ll never forget. I love Jews more than anyone could imagine, and I am the least antisemitic person you’ve ever met. Remember the JCC bomb threats? After I heard there were several dozen, I put my foot down and said it straight: Enough is enough. Meryl Streep is the worst actress. By the way, you should ask the Jews who work for me if I’m antisemitic. They’ll tell you honestly, “No, he’s not even a little antisemitic.” Steve Bannon was a disaster. He couldn’t get anything done in Washington. He was worse than Mitch McConnell. I wish Steve all the best at Breitbart. Breitbart is the most pro-Israel paper there is, and last year they highlighted the work of a small-town rabbi and told people to speak to the rabbi, so everyone on this call should be very proud. Great as Breitbart is though, thank God Steve’s out of the White House. A big thank God.
On the subject of thanking God, I want to close with a prayer. I have been following the news in Israel—not the fake news, the real news. The failing New York Times doesn’t cover this stuff. But I tell you. I read a story where it said nobody actually knows who Arnold Schwarzenegger is anymore, and his ratings are so bad in Israel that nobody cares about Arnold. So, please make sure that, on this festival of lights, you and your loved ones pray for Arnold’s future. Because he could get fired; it’s that bad. Seriously.
I want to wish you and yours a sweet new Passover. Make America great again.
Rabbi Jonah Rank is the Maskil (“Teacher-of-Tradition”) at Shaar Shalom in Halifax, NS. Thon is a musician and the Managing Editor of Zeramim: An Online Journal of Applied Jewish Thought.