To accommodate an orthodox rabbi, the White House changed the time of the event that originally was scheduled ahead of the Jewish Sabbath.
By United with Israel Staff
US President Donald Trump was scheduled to sign the “Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act of 2019” on Friday, a short time before the arrival of Shabbat, when travel is not permitted according to Jewish law. However, the signing was expedited in order to ensure that Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Founder and President of the Capitol Jewish Forum, could attend without violating the holy day.
Rabbi Shemtov originally declined the White House invitation as it likely would have conflicted with Shabbat, Chabad News reported. An hour after responding, he was informed that the ceremony time had been changed so that he could attend.
Howard Friedman, Chairman of the Orthodox Union, and Eric Fingerhut, head of the Jewish Federations of North America, also attended due to the change.
After the signing and with Shabbat quickly arriving, “dedicated White House staff whisked the Jewish leaders through security gates so that they could quickly exit the complex and return home before Shabbos, which they did with even a few minutes to spare,” the report said.
Rabbi Shemtov maintains “close relationships with numerous members of the United States Congress, senior Administration officials and leaders in the international community, including a number of heads of state and government [as well as] strong support of the leadership and members of both parties in the US Senate and House of Representatives,” according to The Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington. He is “often at the White House, Pentagon, United States Department of State and other venues in official Washington, [as he is] seen by many as an effective, bipartisan unifier and premier Jewish resource.”
The Act provides federal money for the protection of houses of worship and other nonprofits, authorizing $375 million in funding to secure synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions in the wake of increased attacks.