After converting a Klansman, rabbi tries to revive Queens synagogue


After surviving several years in prison as a kid, and then nursing a dying former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, eventually facilitating his conversion to Judaism, Michael Weisser should have little trouble reviving a failing Reform synagogue in Queens.

A remarkable story in the New York TImes:

Last Friday night, the topics of hatred and understanding took on a larger meaning, as the rabbi discussed the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians. He told the congregation that God had taken clay from the four corners of the earth and breathed life into it to create humanity. “Our religion teaches that we’re all made of the same stuff,” he said.

Mr. Trapp, the former Klan leader, died in Rabbi Weisser’s Lincoln home in September 1992, less than a year after they met. The rabbi spoke at his funeral.

“People were taken by the idea that an act of kindness can make a change,” Rabbi Weisser said.

Recommended from JTA