Glenn Beck: The Grinch Who Stole Yom Kippur

It's not insignificant that Beck chose the holiest day of the Jewish calendar to launch his "day of Fast and Prayer for the Republic."
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Last April, a blogger asked if Glenn Beck is Jewish. If there were any doubt, Beck's tweet from Rosh Hashanah morning (last Saturday and the start of the Jewish New Year) puts that to rest. At 10:37 a.m. on September 19th @GlennBeck tweeted:

Sept 28. Lets make it a day of Fast and Prayer for the Republic. Spread the word. Let us walk in the founders steps.

Instituting "a day of Fast and Prayer for the Republic" may not exceed Beck's capacity as a Fox News talk show host, but co-opting Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, may be beyond even Beck's highest powers.

In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, I've sought to understand the thinking behind Beck's decision and I have come up with three possible explanations.

First, perhaps this is an attempt by Beck to connect with his Jewish brethren. In this scenario Beck sees a parallel between the greatest day of atonement for the Jewish people and his newly invented holiday. In fact, Beck may borrow from the Yom Kippur liturgy:

When the High Priest emerged from the Holy of Holies unharmed, having successfully achieved atonement for the people, he would offer a moving prayer for them. ... [L]ater he would prepare a celebration to thank the Almighty for allowing him to complete his monumental task.

Of course, as the founder of this new holiday, Beck would fill the airwaves in the role as High Priest of Fox News, in all of his greatness.

A second possible explanation is that placing Beck's "day of Fast and Prayer for the Republic" on Yom Kippur would allow Beck's September 29th show to be titled: "Millions Fast Worldwide on Beck Holiday." Given that Beck's holiday also falls on the most widely observed Jewish fast day, Beck and Fox News would be able take credit for more than 10 million people fasting from across the world. Unfortunately for Beck and his crew, they chose a day from one of the world's least populous religions. Had they chosen a Muslim fast day, which comprises about one-fifth of the earth's population, they could have gotten better bang for their buck and taken credit for billions who fasted.

Lastly, there's probably the most likely scenario -- Beck just didn't know. Is it possible that Beck wasn't aware of the holiest Jewish day of the year? What happened to Jews controlling the media? You would think that us Jews would at least be able to control the media events that fall on Yom Kippur. Maybe Beck will be surprised when his Jewish staff doesn't show up on Monday. I bet he will be surprised when they take the Fast and Prayer Day for the Republic that seriously. He will be proud that he has such devout followers. In fact, how many of us are going to take off work on Beck's "day of Fast and Prayer for the Republic" for "religious" reasons? I certainly will, and Beck and I don't agree on much.

All of this is why the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) will be sending Beck a Jewish New Years card and will be providing Beck a Jewish Calendar for 5770 to post in his office so he's aware of all the Jewish holidays for the upcoming year. Make sure Beck understands the importance of these holidays! Sign your name to the New Years greeting that will accompany the calendar.

It's not insignificant that Beck chose the holiest day of the Jewish calendar to launch his "day of Fast and Prayer for the Republic," but if this is simply a mistake we ask that Beck take another look at the date he chose. In the meantime, here's an online calendar for Beck and his staff.

UPDATE: Looks like Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown, may have read this post before he gave Beck the "Worst Persons" gold last night. Take a look for yourself. Of course, Media Matters may have had something to do with it too...

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