WASHINGTON, DC -- Rabbi Jacob Baer stood before his congregation at Temple Sinai on Military Road yesterday morning, poised to perform a ritual that he had perfected just hours before. On a long table before him were a silver bowl, a small dark blue bottle, a lighted candle, a lockbox, and a blow dryer.
The Rabbi poured an ounce of Christian Holy Water from the bottle into the bowl. He removed from the lockbox a parchment scroll bearing a list of Jewish names and ignited it over the candle. When the scroll was entirely consumed, Baer sprinkled the ashes into the bowl, then
pointed the blow dryer at it and turned the dial to full blast. Within 10 minutes, the water had evaporated.
Rabbi Baer had just performed what religion scholars believe to be the first "Reverse Baptism" in history.
"The article in yesterday's Washington Post was the last straw. I could not let this stand," he told reporters, who had been invited to witness the rite.
The Post article revealed that last week elders of the Mormon Temple in Silver Spring had secretly baptized some American Jewish political figures posthumously. Among them were the maternal grandparents of Senator George Allen, R-VA., the paternal grandparents of Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, and the forebears of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
The list also included Rep.s Bella Abzug and Al Lowenstein, scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, attorney Roy Cohn, and convicted atom spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
When researchers discovered a decade ago that Mormons were baptizing deceased Jews, senior rabbis protested and Mormon elders promised to desist.
"Some promise," said Rabbi Baer. "But now we have our own ritual to fight theirs. If this doen't make them back off, the next step might be posthumous circumcision, starting with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young."
Baer advised families to thwart posthumous baptism right from the start by dressing deceased loved ones in waterproof clothing before burial. (Naked Britney Spears had no comment.)
Many Protestant sects believe only living people have a chance of salvation. But the Mormon church maintains it can salvage dead souls through proxy baptism. Church elders have posthumously baptized George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, all the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, Ghengis Kahn, Atilla the Hun, Conan the Barbarian, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy.