Rabbi Levi Shemtov, a Chabad emissary in Washington DC, was invited to a White House event last week during which President Trump was supposed to sign the “Securing American Non-Profit Organizations Against Terrorism Act”.
The law in question provides federal money to protect religious organizations and other nonprofits, and authorizes $ 375 million in funding to secure religious institutions.
When Rabbi Shemtov realized that the ceremony was scheduled to be held on Shabbat, which began at 5:02 pm, he politely declined the invitation.
The White House did not give up. According to a report on the Chabad site COL, about an hour later, the White House contacted Rabbi Shemtov again, announcing that they had made the event earlier by an hour, so that he and two other observant Jews could attend and ensure they were home on time for Shabbat, even if they had to leave in the middle of the event.
Also in attendance together with Rabbi Shemtov was Howard Friedman, chairman of the Orthodox Union, who was in Washington on Shabbat, and Eric Fingerhut, head of the Jewish Federations of North America, who lives in Washington.