I cannot adequately express my consternation regarding Pastor Robert Jeffress’ invocation at the dedication this week of the United States embassy in Jerusalem (Editorial: “Trump Makes Good On His Promise,” May 18). To an audience of mostly Jews, including a Chabad rabbi who stood alongside him onstage, Rev. Jeffress invoked “the name and the spirit of the prince of peace, Jesus.”
Also in the audience were Israel’s two chief rabbis. Where, I ask, was the outrage? Why didn’t the Chabad rabbi have the courage to walk off the stage or to respond to Rev. Jeffress’ importune remarks?
Judaism unequivocally considers belief in Jesus to be idolatry. Countless Jews have, over the centuries, proudly submitted to martyrdom rather than convert to Christianity. The halacha is clear: belief in Christianity by a Jew is avodah zarah, idol worship, and one must give their life rather than engage in idol worship. (Important to note: the consensus is that Christianity is not idol worship for a non-Jew.)
I was further stunned by the audience’s subsequent reaction to Rev. John Hagee, the Baptist preacher who presented the final prayer. Rev. Hagee asked everyone to stand, and like lemmings, the attendees acceded to his request, despite the lesson they should have learned just minutes earlier from the Rev. Jeffress debacle. And while I credit Rev. Hagee for delivering an ecumenical prayer, without specific mention of Christian doctrine, the audience could not have known in advance what he would say. Even had they known, what justification is there for Israel’s chief rabbis to stand for a pastor’s prayer?
If the cost of having a gala embassy dedication was the glorifying of avodah zarah, then we would have been served better by not having the celebration at all.
Far Rockaway, Queens