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Obama's Western Wall Prayer Stolen, Published


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MSNBC.com

 

Paper prints Obama's private prayer

Rabbi: Printing note was invasion of privacy, relationship with God

 

The Associated Press

updated 3:00 p.m. ET, Sat., July. 26, 2008

 

JERUSALEM - An Israeli newspaper's decision to publish a handwritten prayer left by Barack Obama in the cracks of Jerusalem's Western Wall drew criticism Friday as an invasion of his privacy and his relationship with God.

 

In the note, placed at Judaism's holiest site Thursday, Obama asks God to guide him and guard his family.

 

"Lord ? Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will," reads the note published in Maariv.

 

Maariv ran a photograph of the note on its front page Friday. It said the note was removed from the wall by a Jewish seminary student immediately after Obama left.

 

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs would neither confirm nor deny the note was Obama's, but the handwriting was similar to another message written by the presidential candidate during his time in Israel this week.

 

Rabbi criticizes actions

The paper's decision to make the note public brought quick criticism from religious authorities. The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitz, called it an intrusion on Obama's intimate relationship with God.

 

"The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them," Rabinovitz told Army Radio.

 

The newspaper's action "damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves," he added.

 

Many visitors to the 2,000-year-old Western Wall leave notes in its crevices bearing requests and prayers. Obama placed a small note and then bowed his head during a pre-dawn visit Thursday, following a day spent in talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

 

Judaism's holiest site

The Western Wall is the lone remaining outer retaining wall of the second biblical Jewish temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Revered as Judaism's holiest site, it stands where the Bible says King Solomon built the first Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

 

"It's inappropriate that the prayers of a person at the Western Wall should become a subject of public knowledge at all," said Jonathan Rosenblum, a Jerusalem-based analyst of the religious community and director of the Orthodox Am Ehad think tank.

 

"There is a rabbinic prohibition against reading other people's private communications, and certainly anyone who goes to the wall expects that those communication will be protected," Rosenblum said.

 

Another Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, published an article Friday saying it had also obtained the note but decided against publishing it out of respect for Obama's privacy. Nearly all other Israeli media ignored the story.

 

Prayer papers buried

Thousands of notes and prayers are stuffed into the cracks of the wall. In recent years, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which operates the site, has opened a fax hot line and a Web site where people overseas can send their prayers and have them printed out and put in the wall.

 

The wall is emptied of its notes several times a year. The papers are treated as a prayer book and buried, rather than burned.

 

While Maariv drew criticism, the removal and publication of the note did not appear violate any laws. Police officials said they were not investigating the incident.

 

The handwriting appeared to match a message that Obama wrote Wednesday in the guest book at Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial. It was written on stationery from the King David Hotel, where Obama stayed while in Israel.

 

Obama signed the Yad Vashem message. The note from the Western Wall was unsigned.

 

At the Western Wall, Obama was greeted by a crowd of curious onlookers and photographers. He donned a white skullcap, listened to a rabbi read a prayer, and inserted a folded white paper between the stones. One hardline Israeli protester shouted, "Obama, Jerusalem is not for sale."

 

The visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories was part of an international tour meant to shore up Obama's foreign affairs credentials ahead of the November election. Obama's prospective rival, John McCain, visited Israel in March.

 

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That's pretty low. I haven't heard about this happening to other major public figures in the past, although I could be wrong. Stupid kid.

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OBAMA PRAYER: "Lord ? Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will"

 

RIGHT WING TRANSLATION OF PRAYER: Death to americans, i hate the troops, go muslims, burn the american flag, which by the way isnt on my lapel, and um, something racist!

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Intentionally stolen, by the Obama campaign, to make him look like a good man? I hope not.

No, it was confirmed that it was taken (by of all things) a seminary student who got a hold of it right after Obama left.

 

Doesnt mean he wasnt hired. Im not suggesting he was, we probably wont ever find out, but politicians do that kind of crap. Im just saying it would be a shame if that was the real truth... and god forgive him if he did.

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Ok. I understand it's something private and is supposed to be sacred. And, I'm not saying I applaud what happened, but Obama is not only an extremely well known figure here but he has expanded that notariety abroad.

 

I'm not surprised this happened. I'm sure something like this were to happen if Hillary prayed at the Wall, or Mandela. Everyone wants their 15 minutes.

 

Plus, I don't think prayers at the Wall are like birthday wishes. If you speak them aloud, I don't believe it will negate them. Prayers are, in my opinion, always between the person, their soul and their God. Nothing can come between that.

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OBAMA PRAYER: "Lord ? Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will"

 

RIGHT WING TRANSLATION OF PRAYER: Death to americans, i hate the troops, go muslims, burn the american flag, which by the way isnt on my lapel, and um, something racist!

 

 

I would word it differently, but yes we are on the same page.

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According to INN:

 

In a statement issued following the public outcry over the leak, Maariv said that "Barack Obama's note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put it in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem." A third newspaper, Haaretz, quoted Maariv as saying that "Obama submitted a copy of the note to media outlets when he left his hotel in Jerusalem."

 

Based on these statements by Maariv, Israel Insider concluded that the Obama campaign "managed the event brilliantly, if deceptively, getting the double benefit of appearing to be victimized by the invasive Israeli press and prayer-thieving Jew while at the same time leaking out his humble Christian plea to the Lord." The report noted that by the week's end, "a (relatively) slick video appeared on [public video website] YouTube that blended Obama's Western Wall prayer with various church scenes, crosses aplenty, a dove of peace, and a soundtrack based on Amazing Grace. The video closes with a "vote" button and an invitation to visit the official campaign website."

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That's because it isn't accurate. Maariv fudged some stuff.

http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/a...vindicated.aspx

I just spoke with an editor at one of the four publications who quoted the alleged "Ma'ariv spokesman." This editor broached the possibility that Ma'ariv was trying to deflect criticims of it by releasing these spurious rumors about the Obama campaign, but upon realizing that they'll have to back up those accusations, is now disavowing them. This editor is going to look into this alleged "Ma'ariv spokesman" they quoted in his publication so we can try to ascertain if this is a Ma'ariv cover-up.

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Wouldn't surprise me if Obama wanted this to get out there, however I think the logic behind that would not be to make himself look like some humble man. Rather, the logic would be use this to quell the neverending rumors that he's Muslim, which the stupid continue to believe for some reason. I hope that isn't the case though, that'd be low.

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