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Gumbel writes: "The childhood rabbi to Stephen Miller, special adviser to Donald Trump and a key architect of his 'zero-tolerance' immigration policies, criticized his former charge on Monday as a purveyor of 'negativity, violence, malice and brutality' who had learned nothing from his Jewish spiritual education."

Stephen Miller. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Stephen Miller. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)


'You've Set Back the Jewish Contribution': Stephen Miller's Former Rabbi Issues Fiery Rebuke on Rosh Hashanah

By Andrew Gumbel, Guardian UK

12 September 18


Neil Comess-Daniels denounces Miller as a purveyor of ‘violence, malice and brutality’ for zero-tolerance immigration policies

he childhood rabbi to Stephen Miller, special adviser to Donald Trump and a key architect of his “zero-tolerance” immigration policies, criticized his former charge on Monday as a purveyor of “negativity, violence, malice and brutality” who had learned nothing from his Jewish spiritual education.

Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Shalom, a progressive reform synagogue in the beachside city of Santa Monica where Miller grew up, devoted his sermon marking the Jewish New Year to a striking denunciation of Miller and the now-abandoned policy he championed of separating immigrant families at the border.

“Honestly, Mr Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole through your arbitrary division of these desperate people,” the rabbi said. “The actions that you now encourage President Trump to take make it obvious to me that you didn’t get my, or our, Jewish message.

“This is the season of apology, and to get to an apology, shame over past actions is necessary. Some shout at others when they are self-righteous enough: you should be ashamed of yourself! That’s not something I would ever shout or demand.” But Comess-Daniels went on to say it was up to Miller to acknowledge his wrongdoing.

The service for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, was held on the campus of Santa Monica high school, which Miller attended from 1999 to 2003, and broadcast live on Facebook. Rabbi Comess-Daniels found a receptive audience, which greeted his words with rapturous applause.

Comess-Daniels’ denunciation follows on the heels of a similar repudiation by Miller’s uncle, David Glosser, who described his “dismay and increasing horror” at the behavior of his nephew in an essay for Politico last month. “In the face of the virtual kidnapping of thousands of innocent children, I didn’t feel I had the ethical standing to remain silent,” Glosser later explained to the Guardian.

Comess-Daniels, a champion of immigrant rights and interfaith dialogue, particularly with Muslims, has spoken out about Miller before, but never so frankly. Miller’s parents, who still live in Santa Monica, have not been members of Beth Shir Shalom for many years.
Miller never completed his bar mitzvah there but he attended Hebrew school, where he was known as a provocateur unafraid to alienate his classmates. One contemporary has recounted how Miller sabotaged an ethical discussion over who should receive the last slice of a pizza by slapping his bare hand over it, “palm to cheese”.

Comess-Daniels told the Rosh Hashanah faithful that some of his fellow rabbis had questioned how he had educated Miller. “I can assure you, as I can assure them,” he said, “that what I taught is a Judiasm that cherishes, wisdom, values … wide horizons and an even wider embrace … [Separating families] is completely antithetical to everything I know about Judaism, Jewish law and Jewish values.”

Comess-Daniels made no apology for offering so overtly political a sermon. “In a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible,” he said. “Because we want this society to remain free, we will continue to act.”

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+7 # ER444 2018-09-12 13:21
Shalom !!! And Happy New Year to all of my Jewish friends. Neil Comess-Daniels is an inspiration in an uninspiring world. Thank you!!
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-09-13 06:28
“Honestly, Mr Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole through your arbitrary division of these desperate people,” the rabbi said.


Maybe this Rabbi has made this same comment about Israel and Netanyhoo's treatment of Palestinians. But if he has not, shame on him. Israeli treatment is far worse than the US treatment of immigrants. Israel is in the process of genocide.

It is very difficult for Jews to talk about Israel. Those who do, like Norman Finkelstein, are vilified by everyone. But Jews have, unfortunately, a special responsibility for Israel because Zionists claim to speak for all Jews and the also claim that all Jews are citizens of Israel whether they want it or not.

Miller is a disgrace. He's a typical "man of resentment" that Nietzsche wrote about. His viciousness grows out of self-hatred. Dostoyevsky wrote the best study of this sort of person in "Notes from the Underground." Such people are purely destructive.
 

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