Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who recited a prayer during Trump’s inauguration, is the first non-Israeli chosen to light a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, its Museum of Tolerance, and of Moriah, the Center’s film division, will be the first non-Israeli to light a torch at Israel’s Independence Day Eve ceremony, May 1, on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Yedioth Ahronot reported Friday.
Hier is one of 12 torch lighters who have been slated for approval by Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud). Also on the list is billionaire Amnon Shashua, founder of Mobileye—which he recently sold to Intel for a record $15.3 billion.
In January, Hier said a prayer during the inauguration of President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, ignoring many calls from within the liberal Jewish community to refuse the honor. He recited a verse from Psalm 137 that reads: “If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand wither away. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
if I fail to remember you, if I fail to count Jerusalem as the greatest of all my joys.”
Hier was born in 1939 in New York City and grew up on the Lower East Side, attending the Rabbi Shlomo Kluger Yeshiva on Houston Street for elementary school and the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School for high-school and six years Kolel (advanced Talmudic study). Hier received his ordination in 1962 from Rabbi Mendel Kravitz, dean of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School.
In 2007, Newsweek described Hier as being “one phone call away from almost every world leader, journalist and Hollywood studio head.” In 2007 and 2008, the magazine listed him as the most influential rabbi in America.
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