On Tuesday, the White House correspondent for The New York Times, confident she had grabbed a “gotcha!” moment of President Trump when he ad-libbed a line about a Jewish Holocaust survivor by saying the survivor said that the Americans who rescued him “came from heaven,” triumphantly tweeted, “Jews don’t believe in heaven.”
Give that woman a zero in Biblical scholarship.
Annie Karni, the Times’ White House correspondent, noticed a discrepancy between the transcript and Trump’s actual remarks. The text Trump was reading from stated of Holocaust survivor Joshua Kaufman:
A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau concentration camp. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. “To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.”
Trump read the text, then ad-libbed, “They came down from heaven.” That prompted Karni to victoriously tweet, “Trump just ad-libbed ‘they came down from heaven’ when quoting a Holocaust survivor watching American soldiers liberate Dachau. Jews don’t believe in heaven.”
Of course, Karni had no idea what she was talking about. Where do we begin in educating her? How about Genesis 28: 12-17: speaking of the Jewish patriarch Jacob:
And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, to you I will give it, and to your seed. And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north and to the south. And in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.”
And Jacob awoke out of his sleep and he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!” And he was afraid, and said, “How full of awe is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
Or a little later in the Bible, in Deuteronomy 30:10-14:
For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say: “Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say: “Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?” It is within your close reach to serve God in your mouth and heart, to do.
In case quoting the Bible doesn’t suffice, how about quoting King Solomon from Ecclesiastes? “The dust will return to the ground as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”
The world-to-come is often referred to in the Talmud. Near the beginning of the Talmud it states, “In the future world there is no eating, drinking, propagation, business, jealousy, hatred or competition, but the righteous sit, with their crowns on their heads, enjoying the presence of the Shechinah (presence of God).”
Considering the general contempt the Times has for devout followers of the Judeo-Christian tradition, it isn’t surprising one of its reporters got this one totally wrong.