Sacks: 'big, big mistake' for American rabbis to endorse political candidates

Former British chief rabbi said he never backed a political leader during his tenure


The former chief rabbi of the UK has said that American rabbis are making a “big, big mistake” by endorsing political candidates.

In an interview with JTA, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said he had always avoided showing an affinity for any particular candidate.

During his tenure as chief rabbi from 1991 to 2013, he never endorsed a political leader or allowed rabbis to advocate for a political party, he claimed.

“I can see that that is not the case in America. And I’m afraid American Jewry is making a big, big, big mistake,” Rabbi Lord Sacks said. “This is not a small thing. It’s a very, very big thing.”

The comments were made in response to a question regarding Shmuel Kamenetsky, a strictly-Orthodox rabbi who recently called on Jews to re-elect Donald Trump this November. “He’s done a good job. It’s hakaras hatov [good deed],” the 95-year-old from Philadelphia told Mispacha magazine.

At the Republican National Convention this week, another Orthodox rabbi, Aryeh Spero, blessed Mr Trump and his campaign.

Similarly, at the Democratic National Convention, Rabbi Michael Beals of Delaware appeared in a video talking about his personal experience of presidential candidate Joe Biden. The rabbi referred to Mr Biden as a “mensch”.

“You mix religion and politics, you get terrible politics and even worse religion,” Rabbi Lord Sacks said, adding: “I’m afraid I have absolutely not the slightest shred of sympathy for anyone who, as a rabbi, tells people how to vote.”

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