For years, the presidential conference calls were a nonpartisan holiday tradition: President Barack Obama would speak by phone with hundreds of rabbis in advance of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, in what participants described as a meeting of minds, largely free of raw politics.
But that emerging tradition was thrown into jeopardy on Wednesday, in a sign of the still-intensifying backlash against President Trump’s response to the violence this month in Charlottesville, Va. Four coalitions of rabbis, hailing from different strains of American Judaism, publicly spurned Mr. Trump, denouncing him in unusually pointed language, and pre-emptively announcing that they would not participate in any conference call before the Jewish holidays next month.
Mr. Trump has drawn widespread criticism, and in some cases condemnation, from Jewish leaders after a string of public remarks in which he has played down the racist and anti-Semitic views of white supremacist demonstrators in Virginia. Jewish members of his administration have faced calls to condemn the president or resign, and a few have expressed public and private discomfort with his comments, including Mr. Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman.
But the rabbinical groups’ announcement on Wednesday was a rebuke on a different level, and appeared to signal that Mr. Trump will encounter extreme difficulty in any immediate efforts to reach out to American Jews.
In a joint statement, the organizations — which claim the backing of more than 4,000 rabbis and congregations — accused Mr. Trump of having given “succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia” with his comments after the bloodshed in Charlottesville, where a young woman was killed after a man drove his car into a crowd of protesters.
All four Jewish groups — the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism — said they could not participate in interactions with Mr. Trump around the fall holidays.
“We have concluded that President Trump’s statements during and after the tragic events in Charlottesville are so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred that we cannot organize such a call this year,” the statement said.
That’s how it’s done, Falwell, Metaxas, Graham, White, and the rest of you wrongly named ‘Christians’.