Top American Rabbi Endorses Trump for Reelection
Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky urges Jewish community to support president
A key leader of American ultra-Orthodoxy has endorsed President Donald Trump for the 2020 election.
"I think people should vote for him,” Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky said about President Trump in a rare statement to the Orthodox Mishpacha magazine.
"He’s done a good job. It’s hakaras hatov,” he said, using a Hebrew phrase for appreciation for a good deed or gratitude.
Trump has enjoyed passionate support from many Orthodox Jews.
The community sees him as a staunch supporter of conservative religious values and of Israel.
According to polls, roughly a quarter of American Jews vote Republican, including over half of Orthodox Jews.
Kamenetsky is a leader in the “Yeshivish,” world, one of two kinds of ultra-Orthodox communities.
Yeshivish leaders rarely weigh in on recommending one candidate over another.
The other, called “Hasidic,” tend to vote in blocks, with their leaders openly endorsing candidates.
95-year-old Kamenetsky is the head of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia.
He is also a member of an elite council of the Agudath Israel of America, the ultra-Orthodox world’s leading lobbying and advocacy organization.
While being interviewed by Mishpacha, Kamenetsky expressed his concern with the social unrest taking place throughout major cities.
“You see the matzav [situation], the anarchy … it’s frightening,” Kamenetsky said.
Lamenting the rise of secularism and attacks on religion and religious institutions, the rabbi stated that “God” has become a dirty word in much of America.
He said that religion and religious institutions have become the enemy, adding that if Trump does not win in November, it would be “worrisome.”
Asked if he was endorsing President Trump for a second term, Kamenetsky replied, “Yes, I think people should vote for him.
"He’s done a good job. It’s hakaras hatov.”
Though the majority of American Jews vote for Democrats, the Orthodox Jewish community has increasingly favored Republican candidates in recent years.
In 2013, a Pew Research Center survey found that 64 percent of ultra-Orthodox Jews considered themselves to be politically conservative.
In 2018, 91 percent of Orthodox Jews surveyed by Jewish weekly Ami Magazine gave President Trump favorable ratings — with 82 percent saying they would support him again in 2020.