I can’t recall seeing something like this on live television: a news anchor asking a Catholic clergyman for a prayer.
It happened Monday night, during a special on CNN marking the milestone of the 500,000th COVID fatality in the United States.
At the end of an interview with Washington’s Cardinal Wilton Gregory, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asks: “Before you go, Cardinal, would you lead us in a prayer to help comfort those who may be suffering right now?”
It seems clear the question didn’t catch the cardinal by surprise; he had a prayer prepared and appears to be reading it from notes.
But the moment marks a rare public intersection of faith and journalism. Of Tapper’s own religion, Wikipedia notes:
His parents are Jewish; his mother, who was raised Presbyterian, converted to Judaism. When Tapper was a kid he spent summers attending the Jewish summer camp Camp Ramah in the Poconos.
When it profiled him several years ago, The Jewish Forward added more:
He was born in Staten Island. When he was young his parents divorced, and Jake split his time between their homes in the Philadelphia area. His upbringing was fiercely Jewish: He attended high school at Akiba Hebrew Academy, a pluralistic Jewish day school now known as the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, and Camp Ramah,
He often mentions his Jewish education and attended Washington’s Adas Israel synagogue, a Conservative congregation where many of the city’s Jewish movers and shakers mix religious observance with political networking, before joining the Reform Temple Micah.
In 2006, Tapper married Jennifer Marie Brown, who has worked as an organizer for Planned Parenthood, in her home state of Missouri, according to their New York Times wedding announcement.
Jake Tapper’s brother’s wife, Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper, officiated at their wedding; Tapper’s brother Aaron Hahn Tapper founded Abraham’s Vision, an educational organization in Brooklyn that aimed to foster understanding among American Jewish, Palestinian and Muslim communities. He is a professor of Jewish studies at the University of San Francisco.