Rabbi Lookstein: Please do not attend the Republican National Convention

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Dear Rabbi Lookstein,

We, the undersigned, are writing you to implore you to reconsider your decision to perform an invocation at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. We ask that you not attend the convention at all.

You are a man who represents what is best in contemporary Judaism. Throughout your career you have inspired generations of Jews through your example, through your commitment to the cultivation of middot (virtues), to education, to decency, to integrity, and to loving every human being created in the image of G-d.

Rabbi Lookstein, we write this letter as Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. Our objection is not partisan or political. It is about the character of a single and singular man who represents a unique danger to our republic and betrayal of everything to which your rabbinate has been devoted.

The presumptive nominee of this convention is Donald Trump. You have taught us about the dignity of every human being; he smears and stirs up hatred and violence against entire faith and ethnic communities. You have taught us to welcome the stranger; he has run on promises of excluding, deporting and summarily expelling millions upon millions of people. You have taught us to defend the powerless and voiceless; he has mocked and derided the physically disabled, casualties of war, countless women and "losers" everywhere. You have taught us to love justice; he has called for lawless violence, the murder of innocents, impugned the character of judges on account of their heritage. You have taught us to prize curiosity, education, civil disagreement and to love the truth; he has failed to educate himself on the basic functioning of the government he proposes to lead. You have devoted yourself to ahavat yisrael, the love of the Jewish people; he has courted the support of neo-Nazis. You have spent your life modeling the virtues of humility, honesty, discipline, generosity and kindness. He betrays them all, laughingly. He is cruel, vindictive, dishonest, erratic, lazy and narcissistic. He is unfit to govern.

Many prominent Republicans and conservatives are absenting themselves from the RNC this year for just these reasons.

We do not presume to know why you accepted Trump's invitation to address the convention. But we are convinced that, given your relationship with the Trump family, your presence on the podium will be seen as an endorsement of Trump's candidacy. And that will be remembered as a notorious chapter in the history of our people in this blessed nation.

Please, Rabbi Lookstein, we implore you: Do not make this mistake.

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