Poway rabbi calls Trump a ‘mensch par excellence’

Goldstein recalled coming face to face with the gunman, saying “I faced evil and the worst darkness of all time.”

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF, JTA
May 5, 2019 05:32
2 minute read.
A memorial near the Poway Chabad synagogue. Inset: Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein (Chabad.org)

A makeshift memorial a block away from a shooting incident at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, California, April 27, 2019. Inset: Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein (Chabad.org)) . (photo credit: JOHN GASTALDO/REUTERS)

 
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The rabbi of the Chabad of Poway synagogue injured in the deadly shooting there called President Donald Trump a “mensch par excellence” at the National Day of Prayer service on Thursday at the White House.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein in impromptu remarks told the president that his call and concern helped the rabbi begin the healing process following the April 27 attack, which killed one and injured three.

Oscar Stewart, the combat veteran who confronted the shooter in Saturday’s synagogue attack and forced him to flee, and Jonathan Morales, the off-duty Border Patrol agent who engaged the gunman as he fled the synagogue, accompanied Goldstein to the service.

Goldstein recalled coming face to face with the gunman, saying “I faced evil and the worst darkness of all time.”

He said he decided that he would save as many people in the synagogue as possible, adding, “We cannot control what others do, but we can control how we act.”

The rabbi said he had survived the attack to help others and would teach others “how to be strong, how to be mighty and how to be tall.”

He quoted the last Lubavitcher rebbe, the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who said that “As a Jew you are a soldier of God.”

He also said public schools should bring back a moment of silence.

Prior to his White House visit, Goldstein recited the Birkat Hagomel, a blessing said after being in a life-threatening situation, for the first time at The Shul, a Lubavitch synagogue in Washington.


The National Day of Prayer, observed annually on the first Thursday in May, invites Americans of all faiths to pray for the nation. During the event, Trump signed an executive order on promoting free speech and religious liberty.

Also meeting with Goldstein at the National Day of Prayer in the White House’s Rose Garden was Friends of
Zion chairman Mike Evans.

“What we are seeing today is an invisible war against the Jewish people. It can be seen ideologically, as in opposing the existence of the Jewish state, economically by those who want to BDS or boycott the State of Israel, and most prominently in the media, where we see the vile, disgusting propaganda against President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“It is with the help of Israel’s friends all over the world, that this war can ultimately be defeated,” Evans said.

At that event, the president signed an executive memo designed to protect religious groups, which also established a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative to serve as a liaison between the Trump administration and faith-based programs.

Evans serves on the Trump Faith Initiative, which in 2017 awarded US President Donald Trump with the “Friend of Zion” award in the Oval Office for his decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Friends of Zion Museum, located in central Jerusalem, tells the heroic stories of Gentiles who have assisted the Jewish people throughout the Zionist movement, as well as in critical times like the Holocaust.

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