What role for Trump in his grandson’s Jewish circumcision?
Is it going to be Donald the ‘Sandek’ at Sunday’s ‘bris’ for Theodore James? Probably not
JTA — It’s going to be a busy weekend for Donald Trump.
Just ahead of what’s expected to be a close Republican primary in Wisconsin, Trump’s newborn Jewish grandson is to be circumcised.
The GOP frontrunner anticipated Theodore James Kushner’s arrival in his speech to AIPAC last week, announcing: “My daughter, Ivanka, is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby. In fact, it could be happening right now, which would be very nice as far as I’m concerned.”
It took a few more days, but Ivanka Trump gave birth Sunday. According to Jewish law, the bris will take place eight days later, this coming Sunday.
Trump’s eldest daughter has said Judaism in important to her family’s life in New York, calling her family “pretty observant.” The celebrity businesswoman underwent an Orthodox conversion before marrying Jewish real estate investor and newspaper publisher Jared Kushner in 2009. She and Jushner belong to an Orthodox synagogue, observe Shabbat and in 2013 had a bris for their firstborn son, Joseph, now 3. They also have a 4-year-old girl, Arabella.
Donald Trump has touted his daughter’s Jewish family to appeal to Jews in his campaign for president. But he’ll have to hustle to make it to Theodore’s first Jewish lifecycle event. The bris falls a day after Trump is to hold a town hall in Wausau, Wisconsin, and two days before the state’s primary.
Assuming Trump manages to jet to New York for the occasion, what will his role be? USA Today tried and failed to get an answer from the Trumps.
Here are some possibilities (and impossibilities):
The mohel: Removing the foreskin is a job for a professional — and a Jew. Trump may have a degree from the Wharton business school — and know a thing or two about getting “schlonged” — but he’s never mentioned any mohel training. And giving his fondness for self-promotion, it’s fair to assume it would’ve come up by now.
Plus, Trump’s allegedly small fingers could make scalpel work difficult.
More to the point, Trump is not Jewish, though he was introduced to the Republican Jewish Coalition in December as a “mensch” with “chutzpah.”
If Ivanka Trump and family don’t yet have a trained Jewish mohel picked out, JTA’s America’s Top Mohels special report in 2014 can recommend several options in the New York area: There’s Philip Sherman (wears a bowtie and sings). Emily Blake (a rare female mohel, she reads Native American poems and uses Manischewitz in her anesthesia). For more traditional options, there’s Mordechai Mozes or Paysach Krohn — or any of the combined seven sons in their families that also do circumcisions.
The sandek: Usually it’s a grandfather who holds the baby during the bris, which would make Trump one of the two top options on Theodore’s big day. But the sandek traditionally is a Jew. That leaves Kushner’s dad, Orthodox Jewish real estate developer Charles Kushner, as the person most likely to have his lap used as an operating table.
The kvater: The rules about who gets to bring the baby from the mother to the mohel are loose enough for Trump to qualify. However, it’s considered good luck for recently married couples who want to conceive children to perform the ritual schelp. So it might make more sense for the honor to go to Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump’s younger brother. The businessman, who runs Trump Winery, married Lara Yunaska under a chuppah at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in November 2014. The couple doesn’t yet have children.
That leaves the Donald without a ritual role. But that doesn’t mean he has to twiddle his thumbs.
Donald Trump might be of most service as a spokesman for the bris. Just image his post-op press conference at the bagel-and-lox spread: “It was yuge! I guarantee you there’s no problem, I guarantee.”