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Non-Jew asked by ANC, to say a Jewish prayer




The master of ceremonies called on “Dr Ethel Phillips, from Judaism”, to say a prayer. She is a chaplain with the National Interfaith Council of South Africa.

She came onstage to the microphone and said the prayer recited by Jews before meals when they wash their hands, in passable but not 100 per cent correct Hebrew: “Baruch ata Hashem elokeinu melech haolam asher kideshanu bemitzvotavu (sic) vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.”

She clearly had no idea what she was saying in Hebrew and must have learnt the words by rote beforehand.

Phillips then continued in English. What she said bore no relation to the Hebrew prayer.

“Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who has given us this day, that we may gather here in Orlando Stadium. We commit the ANC into your hands, O Father, the G-d of Israel, the G-d of South Africa.

“We commit the President into your hands, we commit the national interfaith into your hands. Father, we pray for the youth, we pray for the cities, we pray for peace. Ad-nai El-heinu amen.”

The National Interfaith Council of South Africa (NICSA) is a non-profit organisation born out of the merger between the National Religious Leaders Forum (NRLF) and the National Interfaith Leaders Council (NILC).

In 2011 the two organisations dissolved to form a single national interfaith organisation, NICSA, to promote good relationships among people of different faiths.

Perhaps the ANC could find someone who is Jewish to deliver an appropriate prayer at future gatherings – as was done in the case of the Muslim and Rastafarian who followed Phillips on stage.




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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Errol Horwitz

    Jan 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    ‘The ANC did more than embarrass the Jewish community.  Its decision to have a non-Jew offer a Jewish prayer was was to highlight its utter contempt for the Jewish Community. ‘

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