That there are people that are upset about the Reverend doing this is almost laughable – to Jews. We have been abused by this political rhetoric at the Jewish High Holy Day services for years. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur would seem to be sacrosanct times where Rabbis would reserve their comments to be focused on the Torah, Israel, and a commitment to Jewish Life. Just as frequently Rabbis see their biggest crowd of the year and think it is their opportunity to educate the flock on great Jewish issues like Climate Change. When George W. Bush was President, many Rabbis railed against whatever Bush had recently done that irritated them.
A bigger-picture question has to be what makes these people qualified to be religious leaders in the first place. Certainly we have seen religious leaders like Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan -- a man of massive abilities and leadership. The new Pope appears to be that way. But there are a lot of people entering the clergy who are doing so to further their public policy positions. Many of the candidates coming out of rabbinical school seem as impressive as wet noodles.
We have had some discussions with experienced rabbis who are summarily unimpressed with young Rabbis. When we asked what the credentials are for getting into rabbinical school, it certainly seemed like it was not high standards. More importantly, they are not drawing the cream of the crop of Jewish youth. Many are deeply confused about a central tenet of Jewish life today – Israel. They are not becoming Rabbis because they have heard a calling, but as we said to advance their favorite social issues.
What I saw of Reverend Leon fit right into this class of political leader. He seems entirely unimpressive as a man and deeply confused about what he should be doing in front of his parishioners. Unfortunately, our President did not see the clear rationale to set him straight. Easter is a holy day. Keep your political opinions off the pulpit.
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