Haskel Lookstein Pulls Out of the Republican National Convention

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Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who heads the congregation that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, attend, told friends and congregants in an email today that he decided to back out of the Republican National Convention because his appearance had become too politically charged, the NY Times reports.

Rabbi Lookstein’s email is as follows:


When Ivanka Trump, a member of our congregation, invited me to deliver the opening prayer at the Republican National convention next Monday, I made a personal decision to honor her request out of respect for her and our relationship. Unfortunately, when my name appeared on a list of speakers at the convention, without the context of the invocation I had been invited to present, the whole matter turned from rabbinic to political, something which was never intended. Like my father before me, I have never been involved in politics. Politics divide people. My life has been devoted to uniting a community — Ahavat Yisrael and ahavat ha-adam. In the interest of bringing our community together, I have asked to be relieved of my commitment to deliver the invocation. My request has been honored with the same love and respect in which it was first offered and intended. May God bless us with a Sabbath of rest, harmony and peace. Shabbat Shalom.

Very cordially yours,

Haskel Lookstein



  1. I am as hostile to Trump as anyone you will find.

    But I had no problem with Rabbi Lookstein delivering an invocation at the Republican National Convention.

    I *do* have a problem with a beit din in Israel not accepting his conversions. That is an embarrassment for the beit din, not for Rabbi Lookstein.

  2. Shame on him. If you took the honor why throw it back into the face of Trump the possible future president of the United States.

  3. What was he thinking? That he could speak at a political convention (even to give a invocation) and still not get involved in politics?


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