Two women, one wearing a tallit, blow the shofar amid the Capitol rioting, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo/Lloyd Wolf)
Two women, one wearing a tallit, blow the shofar amid the Capitol rioting, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo/Lloyd Wolf)

Why right-wing Christian politicians keep blowing the shofar

Jews will soon hear the shofar at High Holiday services. Far-right Christians politicians have been blowing it at their rallies all year.

Shofars made an appearance onstage at one recent far-right rally in a Virginia Beach megachurch, for example. where speakers described their political opponents as demons and spread the falsehood  of a stolen 2020 presidential election. In another example, Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s GOP nominee for U.S. Senate and a leader in the “Stop the Steal” movement, incorporated shofar-blowing into an August rally.

Christians who use the shofar in these settings say it signifies a bond between them and Jews.

But the practice among right-wing candidates, which caught on years ago but has become increasingly common, draws criticism from Jews who consider it a misappropriation of Jewish ritual. They deem the insult apparent given how many of those who blow shofars at their political events have trafficked in antisemitism.

Mastriano, who once embraced a social media platform known for its antisemitic content, and has been accused of using dog whistles against his Jewish Democratic opponent, has defended himself against accusations of antisemitism by referring to the shofar blown at his campaign announcement. He shouldn’t be labeled an antisemite, he argued, for displaying “too much Jewish symbology” at the kickoff, where the shofar was blown by a man named “Pastor Don” who wore a Lion of Judah Messianic prayer scarf.

Adam Kovac

Adam Kovac is a staff reporter at the Forward, where he covers science, climate and health. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter as @AdamJKovac.

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