Trump offers blessings to Jewish people for Yom Kippur
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Trump offers blessings to Jewish people for Yom Kippur

In statement, US president says he prays for all Jews to be inscribed in the Book of Life

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, left. watches as US President Donald Trump, his father-in-law, visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, left. watches as US President Donald Trump, his father-in-law, visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump offered his blessings to the Jewish people Tuesday on behalf of himself and his wife Melania ahead of the High Holiday of Yom Kippur, the traditional day of atonement.

“Melania and I send our warmest greetings to all Jewish people on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish faith,” Trump wrote in a statement.

“Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, prayer and fasting, and is the last day of the Ten Days of Repentance. Yom Kippur provides an opportunity to draw nearer to God through the practice of teshuva in accordance with the words of Leviticus: ‘For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins shall ye be clean before the Lord.’”

“Melania and I pray that you are all inscribed in the Book of Life and hope this period of reflection and repentance leads to a deeper relationship with God. We send our best wishes for a meaningful Yom Kippur and a Gmar Chatima Tova,” the president concluded.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2009 in ahead of her marriage to Jared Kushner.

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump attend a press conference at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

The Trump administration is reportedly frustrated with the American Jewish community for not embracing the US president more warmly after he moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.

new report released Sunday by the Jewish People Policy Institute, a Jerusalem-based think tank, quoted a White House official who alleged the president’s predecessor, Barack Obama, would be beloved for doing the things Trump has done.

Trump remains deeply unpopular with US Jews. An American Jewish Committee poll from one year ago found that 77 percent US Jews had an unfavorable view of the president.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington’s executive director, Ron Halber, said the Trump administration’s broader, deeply controversial policies made it uncomfortable for Jewish Americans to praise the president for anything.

“Even if a silent majority of American Jews support the embassy move, they find it hard to publicly give Trump credit when they, like other Americans, have such intense negative feelings toward the man and his policies,” Halber told The Times of Israel on Sunday morning.

“It’s frankly because of a simple fact,” he went on. “More Jews in this country are Democrats and many, many Jews in this country are very upset with the Trump administration for reasons that have nothing to do with Israel and are therefore emotionally reluctant to applaud him when he does something that many American Jews wanted.”

The JPPI’s 2018 assessment also found that Israel was becoming increasingly politicized in the United States.

Trump’s Mideast envoy defended his policies in the region.

“The President sets American policy on the basis of what is best for America, not what is best for any particular ethnic group or religion,” said Jason Greenblatt.

“The President’s pro-Israel policies have had widespread support among US citizens, including many in the Jewish community. The President appreciates that support in addition to the support he receives with regard to many other foreign and domestic initiatives,” Greenblatt said.

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