Political News

Moore's Jewish lawyer is a practicing Christian

Posted January 5, 2018 9:48 a.m. EST

— The Jewish lawyer whom Kayla Moore, wife of failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, bragged about knowing is actually a practicing Christian.

Moore declared "one of our attorneys is a Jew" at a December campaign event before the Alabama Senate special election, explaining how her husband is not a bigot.

Turns out, the attorney to whom she was referring is actually a practicing Christian.

The eyebrow-raising remark led to several publications investigating, then misidentifying, the attorney. But she revealed to AL.com Thursday his real identity: Martin Wishnatsky.

"We read where we were against Jews -- even calling us Nazis," Kayla Moore wrote in an email to AL.com. "We have a Jewish lawyer working for us in our firm -- Martin Wishnatsky. (Roy Moore) hired him while Chief Justice, then I hired him at the Foundation."

Wishnatsky did not respond to CNN's requests for comment Friday morning. But he told AL.com that he attended a Hebrew school at a conservative synagogue and had a bar mitzvah -- but he considered his family not to be very religious.

"My background is 100% Jewish," he told AL.com. "My grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe, and came through Ellis Island. My parents were born in Brooklyn during World War I. There were no manifestations of faith; we were Jewish, that's why we went to synagogue and not a church. It was just an ethnic characteristic."

In his 30s, he became a practicing Christian.

"I had an experience of the reality of God at 33," Wishnatsky said. "I'm a Messianic Jew ... That's the term they use for a Jewish person who has accepted Christ."

He told AL.com he became a Mormon first, then later became an evangelical Protestant Christian.

Wishnatsky said he attends Centerpoint Fellowship Church in Prattville, Alabama.

When asked by AL.com on whether he identifies himself as a Jew or a Christian, he said he's both.

"You're a Jewish person that's accepted Christ. Jesus was a Jew. Most Jews are not religious. That's how I grew up. There are the Orthodox who are very serious about Judaism," he said. "It's about whether you think God is real, and whether you're accountable to him. It's whether you take God seriously. It took me quite a few years to take God seriously."