Even though Israel has seen a decline in women's rights that correlates with the rise of the ultra-Orthodox right-wing, Melanie and Ivanka Trump didn't live up to the worst fears of Israel's right wingers by choosing to avoid the women's prayer section of the Western Wall and praying with the men.
Israel's Supreme Court ruled earlier in 2017 that women should be allowed to read from the Torah at the men-only, primary section of the wall. It also ruled that a separate egalitarian prayer area known as Robinson’s Arch did not represent access to the Western Wall.
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz joined US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who put prayer notes into one of the crevices in the wall, while Melania and Ivanka Trump did the same in the women’s section with the rabbi’s wife, Yael Rabinowitz and Dvora Berkin, director of public relations for the Western Wall.
“The Western Wall today is the spiritual center of the Jewish people and the heart of Judaism,” said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites in Israel.
It was Rabbi Rabinowitz who ruled in 2010 that women visiting the holy site should not use a Torah in the designated female area of the wall.
“This visit showed respect for the Jewish people and for tradition,” said the rabbi. “Jews don’t need international approval to recognize the connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, but we also cannot hide from what happens around the world where people try to deny the Jewish connection to the wall, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem.”
Ivanka Trump & Judaism
Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner, a devout Orthodox Jew. The couple visited Israel in 2010. Trump has spoken little about her faith but told Vogue in February 2015:
We're pretty observant, more than some, less than others. I just feel like it's such an intimate thing for us, It's been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but I'm also a very traditional person, and I think that's an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well. I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity.
The Trump-Kushner family have said they practice Modern Orthodox Judaism and Jared Kushner graduated from The Frisch School, the prestigious New Jersey yeshiva. In Washington the family has joined the Chabad synagogue attached to Washington's Kalorama neighborhood.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, heads the small membership synagogue, which is a seven-minute walk from their home. Throughout the years, many Jewish politicians have attended TheSHUL, including former senator Joe Lieberman and current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, several Jewish ambassadors posted in Washington, and Israeli Cabinet ministers from the Orthodox parties. If Trump and Kushner attend the synagogue on a regular basis, it is likely to gain a lot of public attention, writes The Forward.
In a separate article The Forward poses the very question that captured my attention, writing "It might seem odd for a Modern Orthodox Jewish family to join a Chabad synagogue. The relationship of Jared and Ivanka to the Chabad movement, also known as Lubavitch and Chabad-Lubavitch, was explored in one of the two Zembla videos exploring Donald Trump's relationship with the Russians. Chabad is the largest Hasidic movement in the world.
This evening, Thursday May 25, all US media confirms that Jared Kushner is under scrutiny by the FBI for his involvement with the Trump campaign and the Trump White House. Trump's lawyer, Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, Jamie Gorelick, has said that Jared Kushner will be fully cooperative with investigators.
Related: The Media Goes Deeper and Deeper Into Ivanka Trump: Zembla Looks At Jared, Ivanka & Lev Leviev. (Zembla videos embedded). AOC Redtracker Daily