President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both Orthodox Jews, have reportedly received rabbinic approval to travel by car after the celebrations surrounding the Washington inauguration of Trump as the next president of the United States, which is set for Friday afternoon.
Marc Zell, the chair of the Republican party in Israel, said a family spokesperson told him the couple had received a special dispensation to use a car to reach inaugural events after the onset of Shabbat.
However, he told The Times of Israel he did not have firsthand knowledge of Trump and Kushner’s plans for Friday afternoon and evening and did not know which rabbi had given the two the pass.
“The family spokesperson simply told me they’ll be driving to some of the festivities after Shabbat begins,” he said by telephone from Washington, where he will also be attending the swearing-in. “They’ll be having a Shabbat dinner someplace and then I gather they’ll be going to one of these balls.”
The swearing-in ceremony is expected to end Friday early afternoon, but will then be followed by the inaugural parade and three official inaugural balls on Friday evening, a time at which driving or riding in cars is prohibited according to Jewish law. The parade is slated to end at about 5 p.m., with Shabbat beginning just a few minutes later.
The special permission was given based on the Jewish principle of placing the preservation of life over religious observance, known as “pikuah nefesh,” Zell told an Israeli radio station earlier Thursday, according to The Forward.
Security, normally tight around the president and his family, is expected to be ramped up for the inaugural festivities, and walking may have created a safety risk for the couple.
Ivanka Trump has described her family as “pretty observant,” in an interview two years ago, adding that “from Friday to Saturday we don’t do anything but hang out with one another… it’s an amazing thing when you’re so connected, to really sign off.”
Trump converted to Judaism before her marriage to Kushner in 2009.
Kushner, a wealthy real estate developer, was named as special adviser to the president earlier this month, apparently skirting anti-nepotism regulations. He will reportedly be in charge of the Mideast peace process and trade deals.
“Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration,” Trump said in a statement on January 9, calling him “instrumental in formulating and executing the strategy” behind his election victory.
In October, Kushner spent part of a Shabbat huddled with his father-in-law and other advisers amid the fallout from a scandal in which Trump was heard making lewd comments about women, according to The New York Times.
The couple and their three children will reportedly be moving into a $5.5 million home within walking distance of a Chabad center in the capital’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.
Ivanka Trump has indicated she will not have a role in her father’s administration.