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Saturday, July 26, 2008

When Barack Obama visited Jerusalem's Western Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish religion, he followed custom by leaving a private written prayer in the crevices of the wall.

Apparently, the sanctity of prayer no longer outweighs the human thirst for celebrity gossip.

Someone stole Obama's prayer out of the wall and an Israeli paper printed it.

Time magazine:
But after Obama and his entourage left the sacred site, an orthodox seminary student went to the Wall, fished out Obama's personal note and delivered it to Maariv newspaper, which duly printed the senator's prayer.

The newspaper's decision to publish Obama's private words was "an outrage", said Rabbbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, supervisor of the Western Wall. "It damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves," the rabbi told Army Radio. "The note placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make use of them."

No story that has come out of this campaign - not the Muslim smears, not Hillary's RFK remark, not the efforts to dis Michelle Obama or the The New Yorker cover, nothing - has disheartened me in the manner in which this story has. Because as I grow more and more comfortable with prayer at a later age than most, I increasingly understand the importance of private communication with the Creator.

And someone violated Barack Obama's trust, his privacy and the very prayer itself. For gossip.

And journalists, who every day inch closer and closer to their contemporaries at Access Hollywood, think that it's their responsibility to share every possible detail about everyone with everyone. The truth is that journalists are responsible for both what they print and what they don't, and to paraphrase another famous prayer, have the serenity to know the difference.

I don't blame the Israeli student as much as the journalists that printed it.

They need to visit the Western Wall, and hopefully, no one as craven as they steals their prayers, and shares them with everyone but the One who needed to see it. (Oh, that's right - they're not famous. What's be the use of that?)


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