The Slatest

I Asked the Rabbi Who Gave the RNC Invocation If He Supports Trump

And so the rabbi says …


CLEVELAND—Funny thing happened just a short while ago. I was walking around the concourse, looking for Trump supporters to speak on camera, when I ran into Rabbi Ari Wolf and his wife. Wolf, chaplain to the Cleveland police department, had given an invocation earlier in the day, leading the entire gathering in prayer.

Wolf is an Orthodox rabbi. He’d been asked over the weekend to deliver the invocation after Trump’s first pick, Haskel Lookstein, the rabbi who’d converted Ivanka Trump to Judaism, backed out amid an outcry from congregants and former students.  “A shanda beyond the pale,” as one petition put it. That’s Yiddish for shame. 

I wondered how Wolf would respond if I asked him the question I’ve been asking everyone: Do you support Donald Trump?

His wife chimed in: “What do you think? Of course!”

Rabbi Wolf quickly jumped in: “We’re impartial. I gave the invocation. We don’t support anyone. We’re impartial.”

“Ah, I see,” I responded. And then I walked away. Disunity everywhere you go here.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.