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Eddie Long Apologizes to Jewish Leaders for Torah Use in 'Crowning' Ceremony

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Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American –

Eddie Long has apologized for a church service in which he was wrapped in a Torah scroll and called a king.

Last week during a service at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., Ralph Messer, a Messianic Jew and self-described rabbi, ordered congregants to wrap Long in a Torah scroll and then lift him up on a chair bar mitzvah-style while he held the Torah scroll, which was identified as being rescued from Auschwitz.

“The ceremony was not my suggestion, nor was it my intent, to participate in any ritual that is offensive in any manner to the Jewish community,” Long wrote in a letter sent Saturday to Bill Nigut, Southeast Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Nigut released the letter on Sunday.

In an article in the newspaper last week, Nigut was critical of the ceremony, saying it “in no way represents any Jewish ritual that I’m familiar with. We do not proclaim individuals to be kings.”

In the letter sent to the ADL, Long also said “I sincerely denounce any action that depicts me as a King, for I am merely just a servant of the Lord.”

Nigut told CNN that he thought the apology was “very heartfelt, sincere.”

“I was very gratified by Bishop Long apparently recognizing what our concern was,” Nigut also said.

Information from CNN.com and JTA contributed to this report.

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