The premise of Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Rabbis Should Confront Trump Head-On Over Charlottesville” (Sept. 1) is wrong — that the annual White House call before the High Holy Days is a chance for engagement and dialogue with the president.
I agree with the decision of the Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist rabbinical organizations to decline a pre-High Holy Day phone call with the president. Why? I have participated in these calls in the Obama administration and way back to the Clinton years when I served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly.
There is no real chance to engage or comment. It is basically a monologue from the president. And given President Trump’s words on recent events, it is not a matter of appearing to legitimate him, but publicly using our time to listen to a monologue from such a person. If there were even pre-selected questions allowed, then maybe it would be worthwhile. But it would be a waste of time to hear him reading a script, with no opportunity to ask, challenge, clarify, etc.