Rabbis at the presidential inauguration

Rachel Gordon has a great story over on Religion & Politics about rabbis at the presidential inauguration. 

When did Americans first hear Hebrew at a presidential inauguration? It was at the swearing-in of John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the United States (a victory that poet Robert Frost called “a triumph of Protestantism—over itself”). Kennedy had invited Rabbi Nelson Glueck to pray. As the president of the Reform movement’s seminary in Cincinnati, Glueck was a leader of American Jewry, and his archeological scholarship had earned him international renown. ...

Glueck was not the first rabbi to recite a prayer at a presidential inauguration. That honor went to President Truman’s old friend Rabbi Samuel Thurman, in 1949. In fact, all of the post-WWII inaugurations from Truman to Kennedy included rabbis’ prayers. Glueck’s participation, however, was notable for his use of Hebrew; the rabbi recited the priestly blessings in their original language. It is a detail of American religious history that has been largely ignored, but it provides insight into Judaism’s position in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Help fund independent Catholic journalism.
Donate now.

Read the rest of the story here. When Was the Last Time a Rabbi Prayed at a Presidential Inauguration?

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.