Ivanka Trump Gets Rabbi's Permission to Ride in Car on Shabbat for Inauguration

The safety concerns apparently met the threshold of 'pikuah nefesh' - the concept of saving a life that's used to violate Jewish law during special situations.

Ivanka Trump carries her son as they arrive at Andrews Air Force Base for her father's inauguration, January 19, 2017.
Evan Vucci/AP

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have received special permission from a rabbi to ride in a car Friday evening to take part in the inauguration festivities, Marc Zell, co-chairman of Republicans Overseas, said Friday.

According to Zell, a source in the Trump transition team “who is neither Jewish nor observant” said Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner had consulted a rabbi, who has not been named. He allowed them to violate the Sabbath, citing safety concerns.

Orthodox Jews face many prohibitions from Friday sundown to Saturday sunset, including riding in a car

The safety concerns apparently met the threshold of pikuah nefesh the concept of saving a life which is used to violate Jewish law during emergency situations and wartime.

Zell is an Israeli-American lawyer who spearheaded Donald Trump’s efforts among Americans in Israel during the election campaign. The Inaugural Committee invited him to take part on Friday, he said, “in recognition of the role the Israeli Republicans played in the election.”

Ivanka Trump, center, and Jared Kushner arrive at an inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, January 19, 2017.
Mike Segar / Reuters

“This is an extraordinary moment in history,” Zell told Haaretz while standing in line at 5 A.M. waiting to get into the inauguration.

“I am proud that Israel played such an important role in the election victory. I am grateful to our hundreds of volunteers and donors who made this possible. It is both humbling and an honor to represent the voters of Israel at this 58th Inauguration of the 45th president of the United States. A new and exciting era is about to begin.”

In Washington, Zell will also be attending the quarterly executive committee meeting of Republicans Overseas, where he is a vice president.

Other Israelis attending the inauguration include Likud Knesset members Yehudah Glick and Sharren Haskel. They are part of a delegation from HaYovel, an American evangelical group that brings Christian volunteers to pick grapes and olives in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.