Open Orthodox Rabbi Rewrites Prayer – To Avoid Blessing Trump


Shmuly Yanklowitz, an Open Orthodox rabbi and dean of the Valley Beit Midrash in Phoenix, Arizona, has responded to the election of the 45th President of the United States by rewriting the traditional Shabbos tefillah for the US President so as to avoid actually blessing him.

Arutz Sheva reports that Yanklowitz, who founded the Uri L’Tzedek Orthodox Social Justice organization, on Monday publicized an alternative prayer, dropping the blessing for the success of America’s president and instead accusing the incoming president of promoting white supremacy.

“Because of my commitment to the integrity of prayer, starting this week, I can no longer recite or say amen to the Shabbat prayer for the success of the U.S. President,” Yanklowitz wrote. “I felt that it was not enough to simply avoid the U.S. President in the prayer for the government but to remind myself of the billions of vulnerable people who are at risk under his rule, and challenge myself each Shabbat to build up the strength for another week of spiritual resistance.”




  1. Another tipesh. His grandfather said the prayer for the Russian Czar, or the German Kaiser, or, possibly, for some murderous sheikh, and this fool decides which president he likes to pray for, and which he doesn’t.
    Worse yet, for the Hawaiian he no doubt said the requisite blessings.

    • What is being ignored by many is that Rabbi Yanklowitz’s revised prayer asks for the success of the U.S. government in doing many positive things, consistent with basic American values and Jewish values in terms of justice, compassion, environmental sustainability, and treating all people as created in God’s image, contrary to many statements by President Trump.
      Can we pray for success of a President Trump who:
      1. wants to immediately tear up a climate change agreement signed by leaders of all of the 195 nations, including Israel, that met at the December 2015 Paris climate change conference;
      2. has already removed all references to climate change from the White House website, despite the almost unanimous agreement of climate experts that climate change is a major change to humanity;
      3. has appointed someone to head the EPA who has worked to oppose the EPA regulations that would reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions;
      4. wants to repeal a health plan that has given many more people health insurance without a plan to replace it.5. has made many hateful and bigoted statements that arguably have encouraged anti-Semites and other bigots and led to many recent acts of anti-Semitism and bigotry;
      6. has appointed someone to be Secretary of State who led a company that hid its research showing that its product, oil, was a major contributor to climate change;
      7. recently sent out his press secretary to tell many easily proven lies about the size of his inauguration and other inaugurations and the size of the recent protest demonstrations;
      8. has argued that Muslims should not be allowed to enter the U.S. and that there should be a registry of Muslims;
      9. wants to increase the use of coal and oil rather than solar and wind to generate energy, despite the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

      I am sure that many people wiser than me could give additional examples and express them better, but I hope this is enough to argue that we should pray for the success of the U.S,, but not for many of the things that Trump wishes to do.

      • It won’t be hard to find people wiser than you apparently. And since when is a disagreement about what energy sources we should aim for a valid reason to not pray for someone. How’s the US economy and the stock market now? And out of all the stupidity happening in our country presently, how much is Trump and how much is coming from the crybaby, sore loser Left? You need to go back to school and study up on what God actually wants and expects from us. Now that all of Trump prior accusations of the criminal Democrat Party, including wire tapping by the now disgraced Obama, have come to light, all your agreements are falling flat. Still waiting on the proof of his racism, misogyny or being an actual Fascist. You have nothing but your false accusations and are actually just a blubbering baby shitting in his diaper. Pathetic.

  2. Why do you keep on calling it open “orthodoxy” ? Call it what it is – conservative or reform. Stop legitimizing it by including the word orthodox

  3. Stupid idiot. Did he read the original prayer, which asks for Hashem’s mercy in guiding the country’s leaders to favor the Jewish people??

    Even the Jews of Russia said the mi shebeirach for Tzar Nikolai.

  4. Shmuli is an open orthodox (deliberately no capitals) “rav”. His acceptance here as a Rav or Rabbi is entirely inconsistent with the purported hashkafas of this site. This story really should be removed

  5. He should be reminded that when the Sages stated that we should pray for the Malchus, they were referring to the Roman Empire. But of course the Romans were preferable to Trump, just ask these free thinkers.

  6. I beat him to it, eight years ago, when I had a shul in Queens and the now outgoing President was then coming in. After the section praying for the welfare of the President, Vice-President, and his officers, I simply added the words: “…except for those who are against, and trying to destroy, morality, religion, and Eretz Yisroel.” Of course, in my shul, I did it in hebrew, because all of my congregants understood it well.

    One of the more brilliant elders of my shul approached after dovening on the first Shabbat I introduced the modification and asked me, “But Rabbi, that doesn’t leave anybody to doven for.” I told him that maybe, just maybe, there were a few hidden gems in the administration, and we needed to doven for them.

  7. What prayer did he exactly change? The prayer for the president, if one says it, the prayer for israel, if you also say that, are not from the anshei keneses hagedola. They were made up and is a chizuk and prayer for what we want as a nation living under a democracy.
    I am not a fan of open othodoxy, I don’t know Yanky at all. But know what you’re talking about before you bash someone. If he changed a blessing or an accepted prayer from the originators of teffila then there is a problem. He didn’t do that he changed a made up prayer.
    If you bash everything they do, even some things which are not a problem then no one will care when you oppose the real problems.

    • Isaac, the prayer is based on a pasuk in Yirmiyahu to pray for the peace of the city you live in. The Avudraham writes praying for the peace of the city means you should daven to Hashem that the king (or leader) should be successful and vanquish his enemies. Thus, the nusach must retain this idea, and not add or subtract from it, as Yanky has done by asking Hashem to protect us from Trump. That goes against the original intent of the tefilah.

  8. This is probably the least important of all the tefilos that they have changed,.. These guys believe that Chazal and the Shulchan Aruch were old fashioned women haters so they changed the text of Brachos in Davening to reflect ‘modern attitudes to women’ Clowns

  9. Please remove the title “Rabbi” or “Rav” when referring to this Idiot Shmuly Yanklowitz and call him what he really is: A left-wing, liberal, lunatic, activist.

    Even his location says something about him: Ari[za]zona!

  10. Waht an idiot. Did I miss something? Did Mr. Trump say something against the black people, or the hispanics for that matter?
    He specifically spoke against members of foreign nations and the high percentage of hardened criminals that have entered the country illegally. Even his proposed ban on muslim immigration is a foreign policy issue- though not a realistic one. Does said “rabbi” say the mishaberach for the state of Israel that has checkpoints at its border crossings aiming to weed out extremists? If he does he is anti-gentile, because he sets a different standard for his own people than for umos ha’olam. I intend to expose his double standard.

  11. Now he could go back to smoking Pot with his congregation.He got his attention for the Week.He should also write a teshuva explaining that it is a commandment upon all of us to smoke Pot on Tu B’shvat

  12. I agree he is a total idiot for trying to do what he believes in. And what is not against halacha. I think he should be lambasted for this.

  13. I do not identify as ‘open Orthodox’ and honestly personally disagree with writing a new tefila but will not go into it now because that is not why I am posting – instead I would like to suggest that while addressing a news story we disagree with, we a) point out any disagreements with kavod and no name-calling/lashon hara, as that can only cause pirud in Klal Yisrael and distance Mashiach, and b) even dare to acknowledge that there may be a point in the other’s stance that we can actually learn from, even as we do not accept the entirety of it! If we as a People try to learn from our differences while simultaneously respectfully disagreeing on some points, we will grow so much stronger.

  14. we have a special prayer for shmuli and his ochrei yisrael colleagues as well, and we say it three times a day. It goes like this: “v’hazaidim m’heira s’akeir, us’shaber, u’smageir, v’sashpileim, v’sachnieim, b’mheira v’yameinu”

  15. He’s actually a ger, his mother is Catholic and since he doesn’t believe in תורה מן השמים, he’s a גוי גמור.

  16. He stated his mother was not jewish on the radio one motzei Shabbos last year. He takes non jewish ideas and converts them to Torah. What a joke.

  17. Excellent idea
    Can always bless your country, government, city to do good for mankind without using SHEM HASHEM.

    We should all publicly, privately or however you prefer bless the government to do justice and benefit for Klal yisroel and may we answer AMEN.


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