It’s a slightly soggy morning here in Tampa, Fla., where the Republican National Convention was postponed a day due to worries about Tropical Storm Isaac. Right now, it looks like Isaac won’t be delivering the major hit to the Tampa area that was feared.
Tomorrow, the convention will be getting started, and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik will be giving the invocation to open the first day. (Here is the updated convention schedule.)
Soloveichik, a member of a distinguished American Orthodox rabbinic family, is a rising intellectual star in Modern Orthodoxy and is a frequent contributor to the conservative Jewish magazine Commentary. Currently the director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Soloveichik was recently reported to be a top candidate for the post of British chief rabbi to replace the retiring Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
The three days of the Republican National Convention will be opened and closed with blessings delivered by a diverse group of religious figures, including Hispanic evangelical leader Sammy Rodriguez; Ishwar Singh, a leader in Central Florida’s Sikh community (who approached convention organizers about delivering an invocation in the wake of the massacre at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin); Archbishop Demetrios, the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America; Ken and Priscilla Hutchins, the president and matron (respectively) of the Mormon temple in Romney’s home base of Boston; and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the head of New York’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese.
UPDATE: The Forward’s Josh Nathan-Kazis notes that Soloveichik testified in Congress against the Obama administration’s application of the health reform law’s birth control coverage mandate to religious institutions. This stance aligns Soloveichik with the speaker slated to offer the convention’s closing benediction, Cardinal Dolan, who, in his role as president of the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops, has been an outspoken critic of the president on this issue.