Bachmann synagogue visit inspires Yom Kippur walkout
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Bachmann synagogue visit inspires Yom Kippur walkout

Chicago rabbi apologizes following appearance by controversial congressman

Former congresswoman and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (Courtesy/File)
Former congresswoman and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (Courtesy/File)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Congregants at a Chicago synagogue walked out of Yom Kippur services when the rabbi acknowledged the presence of US Rep. Michele Bachmann.

“I am aware of the fact that our congregation’s policy in regards to public officials clearly caused pain to some members of our community on the most precious day of reconciliation on the Jewish calendar,” Anshe Emet Rabbi Michael Siegel told the Chicago Tribune. “That we regret deeply.”

Siegel had greeted Bachmann, a Republican from Minnesota, during the service last week, citing what he said was a custom of the Lakeview synagogue to recognize public officials. The synagogue is affiliated with Judaism’s Conservative movement.

A number of congregants walked out, and one, Gary Sircus, contributed to the campaign of Bachmann’s opponent, Jim Graves.

“Even though I do not vote in Minnesota, please do everything in your power to take away this evil woman’s soapbox,” Sircus wrote to Graves.

Bachmann, who was a candidate in the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, is stridently pro-Israel, but deeply conservative on social and economic issues, making a focus her opposition to gay marriage.

Graves, a hotel magnate, has proven unexpectedly competitive in the congressional race.

It’s not clear why Bachmann was at Anshe Emet.

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