Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of L.A.'s Simon Wiesenthal Center, was one of six clergy participating in the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States on Friday. Hier told Haaretz on Monday that he had accepted the invitation to attend the inauguration in part because refusing it would cause “ill will” toward Jews among the American public.
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The rabbi opened his prayer by blessing Trump: "Eternal God, bless President Donald J. Trump and America our great nation, guide us to remember the words of the psalmist who may dwell on your holy mountain."
"Bless all of our allies around the world who share our beliefs," Hier continued, "by the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill."
Hier finished with a message of justice and righteousness: "May the days come soon when justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile fields."
Hier told Haaretz that he received the invitation to attend Trump’s inauguration in late December, and that saying yes to it “was a no-brainer."
“It’s a great honor, but even before that, it’s my duty to attend the event," Hier said. "I was taught by my father that ‘Dereh eretz kadma l’Torah’ [roughly, ‘graciousness is paramount’] – and it would have been rude and unkind to turn down this invitation."