Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, the scion of a prominent family of American Orthodox rabbis, delivered the opening invocation at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.
“We Americans unite faith and freedom in asserting that our liberties are your gift, God, not that of government,” Soloveichik proclaimed in a speech that echoed Jewish liturgy in its insistence that humanity call ultimately on God to shape its destiny.
Rabbi Soloveichik, the director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and the associate rabbi at the Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue, quoted in Hebrew the Biblical verse emblazoned on the Liberty Bell and asked directly for blessings for the armed services, residents of the Gulf Coast in the path of Hurricane Isaac and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the presumed Republican candidates for president and vice-president.
Rabbi Soloveichik’s great-uncle, the late Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, was rosh yeshiva and a revered scholar at Yeshiva University.
The younger Rabbi Soloveichic (family members spell the last name differently) has established a track record of outspoken speech on various political issues. He testified in front of a House committee in February along with other religious leaders who believed that President Obama’s decision to require Catholic employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives was a violation of their religious freedom.
In his speech, Rabbi Soloveichik also singled out Israel for special attention.
“You have called us to be a beacon of the world and an ally of free countries like the state of Israel, an island of liberty democracy and hope,” Rabbi Soloveichik said.