Kehilat Yeshurun Rabbi Haskel Lookstein said on Sunday that he was not the rabbi who gave Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner permission to fly on Air Force One on Shabbat (Sabbath), calling the rumors “fake news”.
Rabbi Lookstein is the rabbi who converted Ivanka in 2009, prior to her marriage to Jared Kushner.
According to Yediot Ahronot, Lookstein told Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union) that he has not been in touch with Ivanka for “several weeks” and the information was false.
Ivanka and Jared flew on Air Force One together with US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia on Friday, landing after the start of Shabbat on Friday night. However, they did not state which rabbi had given them permission to do so.
Jewish law does not permit traveling on Shabbat except in cases deemed life threatening.
Ivanka and Jared are Orthodox Jews and generally observe Shabbat. Both serve as unpaid advisers in the White House.
In fact, since a plane is similar to a boat in Jewish law, and since the amount of additional gas Jared and Ivanka’s weight would cause the plane to use is minimal, the main issue with the couple’s flight is how they would get off the plane and get around after landing.
In addition, since both are close advisers of President Trump’s, and cannot safely fly to Saudi Arabia any other way, the halakhic (Jewish legal) discussion and decision is relatively simple for a practicing rabbi.
However, given the backlash expected, it is not surprising the rabbi who granted the permission did not feel comfortable with the couple publicizing his name.