Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, will offer a prayer at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Hier reportedly will offer readings, recite an original prayer and give Trump and incoming Vice President Mike Pence each a benediction at the Jan. 20 ceremony.
“Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people,” Tom Barrack, the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said in a statement issued Wednesday announcing the six faith leaders who will participate in the inauguration. “I am pleased to announce that a diverse set of faith leaders will offer readings and prayers at the swearing-in of President-elect Trump and honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.”
Hier told the Los Angeles television station KPCC that the Inaugural Committee contacted him about his participation and that he said “it would be my honor to do so.” He said his prayer will have a “21st century ring to it.”
The last rabbi to pray during a presidential inauguration was Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk, head of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion for 30 years, during Ronald Reagan’s 1985 ceremony.
Hier and his Wiesenthal Center earlier this week called the US abstention on a United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning Israel for settlement building the top anti-Semitic incident of 2016.
The other faith leaders who will participate in the inauguration are Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York; the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center; the Rev. Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Bishop Wayne Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International.
On Jan. 21, a Saturday, the National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral will include representatives of all religious faiths, according to the committee, which said it would release more details about the participants in the coming weeks.