(JTA) — The childhood rabbi of Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, said Miller learned nothing from his Jewish education and called him a purveyor of “negativity, violence, malice and brutality.”
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Shalom, a Reform synagogue in Santa Monica, California, devoted his Rosh Hashanah sermon Monday to denouncing Miller, the key architect of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policies, The Guardian reported.
“Honestly, Mr. Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole through your arbitrary division of these desperate people,” Comess-Daniels 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.”
The rabbi continued: “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.”
The service was broadcast live on Facebook from the auditorium of Santa Monica High School, which Miller attended from 1999 to 2003.
Miller never had a bar mitzvah but attended Hebrew school, “where he was known as a provocateur unafraid to alienate his classmates,” according to the Guardian.
Comess-Daniels said during his sermon that some of his fellow rabbis had questioned whether he had educated Miller appropriately.
“I can assure you, as I can assure them, that what I taught is a Judaism that cherishes wisdom, values … wide horizons and an even wider embrace,” the rabbi said.
Comess-Daniels also said that separating families “is completely antithetical to everything I know about Judaism, Jewish law and Jewish values.”