July 27th, 2008
12:54 PM ET
15 years ago

Rabbi: Removal of Obama's purported prayer note 'sacrilegious'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/27/art.obama.ap.jpg
caption="Sen. Barack Obama places a prayer note in Jerusalem's Western Wall."]

JERUSALEM (CNN) - The rabbi who supervises Jerusalem's Western Wall condemned the removal of a prayer note purportedly written by Sen. Barack Obama, saying the action was "sacrilegious."

The U.S. presidential candidate visited the holy site early Thursday and placed a note in the cracks of the wall - a custom of visitors.

It was subsequently removed from the wall, according to the Israeli newspaper, Ma'ariv, which printed what it said were the contents of the note.

Ma'ariv said a seminary student gave the note to the paper.

Obama's senior strategist Robert Gibbs told CNN, "We haven't confirmed nor denied" that the note is from the Illinois senator.

"This sacrilegious action deserves sharp condemnation and represents a desecration of the holy site," said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who supervises the Western Wall, in a statement.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (407 Responses)
  1. RJ, CA

    WHO CARES! Just more of the Obama dog-and-pony show!

    July 27, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Mfon Okpok

    I was expecting a presidential candidate to visit Africa as well.
    Do it mean that Africa is not important? I guess instability in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria is creating gas price problems in U.S.A. Which means Unites States relationship with Nigeria (Africa) is Important not Europe and Asia alone.

    July 27, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Nathaniel

    The act of removal was dispicable. However, the prayer has no less meaning to Obama public or private. Prayer is prayer. It was a clear act of desecration to remove it from the Wall. It was in bad taste for the paper to publish it via photo rather than simply retyping the contents.

    The cynic in me says that Obama must have anticipated that someone might try to remove it. If I were consulting him, I would aniticipate such an act from occurring – not from enemies, but the curious. So write neat and be humbling in your sentiments while acknowledging a Higher Power. Acknowledge weakenesses but be vague. It is the kind of revelation that a news reporter knowing the contents could never ask him to clarify as it wasn't intended for his eyes in the first place and yet makes him more human to the general public. Of course, that is the cynic in me. 🙂

    July 27, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Richard (from Puerto Rico)

    I am not a first time Obama, believer. The first time I heard of Obama, was in 2000, when President nominee John Kerry introduced him to speak at the Democratic Convention. There he introduced him as a raising Star in future politics. I listen to him and I was in awe, with his speech. And much to my amasement, I saw a clip of the one of RFKs addresses in 1968 anouncing, (prophetically then) that; in forty (40) years we may have a BLACK PRESIDENT. So how about that? huh. I know from my heart, as I am witnessing with the rest of the world history been written, We will have one of the best Presidents of USA if not the ever BEST since George Washington. As it is said, So let it be written. We all shall see it, and live it for the next eight years. Obama, 2008-12.

    July 27, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. sj

    Removal of that prayer was a despicable, blasphemous act. Those who comment on the contents of that prayer, or who without proof, speculate on who might have done (e.g., Obama intended for it to be stolen) have made themselves complicit in the act and need to make atonement as well.

    July 27, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Tony

    Newspaper Maariv's publication:

    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."

    Does this note read arrogant or humble?

    Does this most private prayer of Obama sound presumptuous?

    Why would the RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISTS turn a man who truly trusts in his Creator?

    Why would a Senator McCain accuse this man of WRONG judgment?

    Who judged WRONGLY? The one who supported the Vice President's WRONG Oil War, i.e. McCain?

    Judge all yourself: Look at the accusation - and you know the accusation the accuser wants to divert from HIMSELF! Everybody carries his own mirror ahead of himself.

    Poor McCain, how LOW can you sink?

    Having been a prisoner of war – does this make you a security expert?

    Place yourself next to Obama - why should anybody lucid vote for you?

    July 27, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Richard (from Puerto Rico)

    July 27th, 2008 2:28 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I am not a first time Obama, believer. The first time I heard of Obama, was in 2000, when President nominee John Kerry introduced him to speak at the Democratic Convention. There he introduced him as a raising Star in future politics. I listen to him and I was in awe, with his speech. And much to my amasement, I saw one clip of the many RFKs addresses in 1968 when he , (prophetically then) that; in forty (40) years we may have a BLACK PRESIDENT. So how about that? huh. So 40 years now, I know from my heart, as I am witnessing with the rest of the world history been written, We will have one of the best Presidents of USA if not the ever BEST since George Washington. As it is said, So let it be written. We all shall see it, and live it for the next eight years. Obama, 2008-12.

    July 27, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. California Gold

    Proof positive Barack Obama isn't Muslim.

    I've been to the Western Wall many times in my travel. As a Christian I am shocked one of the holiest sites in The Holy Land was violated. What kind of media do we have that would stoop to this revolting, sacrilegious action by publishing anyone's prayer! Prayers are between the man/woman/child and God. This is a sad day in the history of the human race.

    Nevertheless, this really flies in the face of those who keep claiming Senator Obama is not Christian.

    July 27, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Kyle in San Diego

    David – "The irony is that as one heckler shouted "Jerusalem is not for sale" the Israeli media proved that Jerusalem IS in fact for sale … disgraceful."

    ...VERY good point. And please, some of you really come on here showing your ignorance. It must end, whether you support Obama or not; whether you support McCain or not. Stop trying to tear people down, and let's try to come to some common ground. How about we all unite in demanding debates ASAP? I think that is something we can all agree on.

    July 27, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Low level people

    Disguesting.
    The world is so obsessed with this great man that they had to see what he is saying to God.
    What next?

    July 27, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. velmeezee

    I agree with the poster who turned a negative into a positive by stating that the publishing of Sen Obama's prayer was good because that means that thousands, perhaps millions, of people said that prayer. And all over the world people have said a prayer to God for the benefit of the Senator and the future of America. Although he most likely didn't intend for this to happen, God probably did...

    July 27, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. marie

    Obama campaign trying to make Obama look good–guess it may have backfired–shame on the people who have tried to blame the repubs for this fiasco. It smacks of democratic sleaze.

    July 27, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Cheryl

    What a world we live in where people steal prayers.

    And where some of the people in here can blame Obama himself for his terrible wrong that was committed against him. To say that his campaign set this up is despicable.

    You people are absolutely poisoned with hatred. Even if you disagree with Obama's politics there is no excuse for this level of obsessive hatred. It makes you look sub-human.

    July 27, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Tony

    Newspaper Maariv's publication:

    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."

    Does this note read arrogant or humble?

    Does this most private prayer of Obama sound presumptuous?

    July 27, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Tony

    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."

    Does this note read arrogant or humble?

    Does this most private prayer of Obama sound presumptuous?

    If this candidate is given a chance to be the next president, and if he continues thinking the way he does, America is in good hands.

    July 27, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. fellow Americans

    maybe its just me but wasnt it stupid of him to let the media film and take pictures of him praying and watch where he put the note?
    photo ops people, photo ops... once again explains why he ditched the hospital visit. plus, the note was all about him and protecting him ... not the popular opinion but still.

    July 27, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Doris,Memphis,TN

    This is awful. John McCain and his "Campaign of Whiners" have
    not commented on this terrible incident!

    July 27, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Dave in Illinois

    While revealing the note's contents was wrong, I'm sure Obama and his advisers considered the possibility when he wrote the prayer.

    July 27, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Obama bring it on we love you 08/12

    A Nightengale in Berkley Square.
    You can sing with McWar Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran that's your mental smarts WAR WAR WAR with well over 4,000 Warriors dead and thousands of Warriors injured and you fallow a war monger /a war started by these idiots for no reason but to make money for themselves isn't it about time warmongers wake up .
    McWar isn't singing "we ain't gonna war no more " .

    We could have a war on every street and neighborhood in this country if it wasnt for intelligent people wanting to have peace by negotiating to solve their problems .

    Obama is for peace 08/12

    July 27, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. K

    Obama makes arrogant Bush look humble. Obama's arrogance and hypocrisy is disgusting. Why have a vote in America? Obama and the media think he is already President.

    July 27, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Conservative and Proud

    Won't be voting for him and really can't stand his policies, but that was messed up. Also, they don't have security out there watching every person's prayer note, and they shouldn't have to. It's an understanding that people shouldn't do it, but these people left their morals at home, it appears.

    Btw, John Mccain had nothing to do with this, idiot.

    July 27, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. IfleftiswrongthenIdontwant2beright

    Does this mean Sen. Obama is STILL a Muslim? As absurd as it may sound, maybe God wanted the world to know Sen. Obama is a change agent working through the spirit of the Lord.

    I noted how Sen. Obama was so comfortable with ALL the world leaders. If he doesn't have the "experience" to b be President, he surely has the intellect.

    July 27, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. BJKidd

    To those that beleive that the prayer note that was taken and published was a set up. What warped minds you have. That type of thinking is partly what is wrong with this country. This campaign should be about the issues, not all these personal attacks.

    July 27, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. pam Eugene OR

    To the fools who say either McCain or Obama were behind this cowardly event...you are nuts.
    The student how stole the prayer and the shameless paper who printed it were should be shunned.
    I must however, it was a beautiful prayer.

    July 27, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Fitz

    I am amazed at how many people think this was some political stunt. Obama actually orchestrated this act to make himself look good to the religious crowd. It's just amazing to me. This man has been nothing but a family man from the start. A father and a husband and never hesitated to speak about his faith but the religious groups rather lean towards a man who obviously doesn't value marraige and family the same way. Speaks aloud and clear as to what role religion should really play in politics.

    July 27, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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