Rabbi Geraldo Rivera Is it really necessary after all these years to spell out exactly what a malignant joke Geraldo Rivera is? If his history of shenanigans somehow escaped your radar, a quick glance at his Wikipedia entry is all one needs to see why Geraldo is one of those people who have helped turn US television news from what it used to be into the pathetic, dumbed-down, quasi-form-of-entertainment, nonsense and outright voyeurism that it is today. It’s no coincidence that this self-styled “liberal” is none the less mostly employed by Fox “News.”

In keeping with his long standing tradition of mediocrity – in a recent appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Geraldo launched another stupid rant about religious figures who express opinions on political matters:

“I must say, it gives me the absolute creeps anytime I hear a religious person being so blatantly political,” Geraldo said. “Why is it that these people get income tax exemptions?” … He then continued, “If I hear one more rabbi talking about Israel, excuse me: shut up!”

Geraldo, who was raised mostly Jewish and even had a Bar Mitzvah, must have not been paying too much attention during his lessons. Israel is of central importance in Judaism. Nary a Jewish prayer exists that does not mention Israel and Jerusalem. Programs like Taglit-Birthright Israel posit Israel as being of unique importance in any conception of Jewish identity. Even Reform Judaism, a movement that once christened Berlin as the “new Jerusalem,” requires all prospective Rabbis to spend a year in Israel and to develop a modicum of Hebrew literacy prior to receiving ordination. I’d view with great suspicion any Rabbi who didn’t talk about Israel.

Diasporists can now receive the respect they deserve with Geraldo on their side. You can see Geraldo’s rant at the Huffington Post.

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wendy in furs

I live and blog anonymously from New York. If my boss knew this was me, I'd be fired in a nano-second. Ha ha! Screw you boss man!

15 Comments

  • Most Diasporists I know are not terribly concerned about the political or cultural views of mainstream talk show hosts. Usually, pop culture references particularly of the basic cable variety, appear more frequently of interest to Zionists. Apparently, they feel television for the masses is part of the normalization of the Jewish condition.

  • I’m as impatient with Geraldo as anyone else, but the point he was making had to do with tax-exempt status. Your discussion treats Israel as a theological and not a political matter. But is the distinction easily made from a public-policy point of view?

    Tax-exempt status is a debate waiting to happen, for many if not all faiths, e.g., the evanglical churches that also stoutly view defending Israel (and defeating gay marriage, and overturning Roe v. Wade) as a religious issue.

  • Agreed. Tax exemption for religious organizations that stick to charitable works is one thing. Tax exemptions for organizations that actively participate in the approval/demonizing of candidates is a complete and total scam.

  • Hey – if you want to post thoughtful, insightful comments, at least have the decency to start a non-Geraldo thread…

  • Hasn’t Barack shown great courage in quitting his church as soon as it became too political?

  • Then again, major religions nowadays often enough function as the last bastion of defending human and workers’ rights in most Western societies. If their voices were silenced pro forma, public debate would dramatically decrease in value.

    I’d rather say, “Skip that endorsement nonsense in general.” Why should it matter to any informed citizen who some Hollywood A- to Z-lister is planning on voting for?

  • Geraldo confirmed for us his great self hatred as a Jew, how he can’t distance himself enough from his heritage.

    As a working Rabbi, I can discuss politics day and night, I am not supposed to ENDORSE a political candidate from the pulpit or endorse a political party.

    Any attempt to stifle clergy from speaking about politics, would kill our first amendment rights.

    Everything ABOUT GERALDO is ABSURD including this crazy comment.

    For our readers, here is a brief synopsis of the rights and restrictions the IRS places on churches:


    All 501 (c)(3)s (nonprofits) are tax exempt and are therefore prohibited from endorsing or opposing candidates running for public office. Churches and other houses of worship fall under this prohibition. The groups are allowed to take positions on political issues like ballot measures so long as “lobbying” is not a substantial part or more than 10-15% of their activities. The IRS says clergy speaking in an official capacity also should not indirectly imply who they endorse or oppose.

    Prior to 1954, religious groups and other nonprofits could oppose or support political candidates without risking their nonprofit status. In 1954, the IRS tax code was being revised in Congress and then Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson attached at provision to the law prohibiting nonprofits (501(c)(3)s) from engaging in political activity. LBJ did not do this to constrain religious groups. He did this because he was angry at two nonprofits in Texas that were campaigning against his re-election. Political activity for this purpose is defined as supporting or opposing candidates running for public office.

  • For what Geraldo said about Rabbis: “duh!” and “No $hit” come quickly to mind.

  • Actually, just listened to the clip and Geraldo would love the schools & shuls in our enclave in N.J. They NEVER talk about Israel…only God, Faith and Halaka. Israel? What’s that? Ok, the more “modern” Yeshiva will give the kids blue and white cookies and falafel for lunch on Yom Ha’atzmaut, but it’s business as usual at the “more religious” school.

    Not one child will complete 8 years at either school knowing how to sing “Hatikva” unless their parents taught them in the privacy of their own homes, probably in basement where they hide the t.v..

  • Are the rumors true that Geraldo’s multicultural heritage has put him in contention to be Barack’s running mate?

  • However he loves to throw around that he’s a Jew whenever there is a story about Israel and he’s criticizing it…is that something a supposed JOURNALIST is supposed to do??

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