By Inthemoment contributor Larry Kessner
A few years ago, not long after my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I was talking to a good friend who had attended the service at our large, Washington DC-area Reform temple. My friend, whose politics are similar to mine, was raised Baptist in South Carolina and educated at Princeton and Georgetown. He is funny, very well-informed and culturally aware (meaning discard any preconceived notions you may have about Southern Baptists) I asked him what he thought of the service, which was the first he had attended at a Reform synagogue.
“Interesting,” he said. “I half expected Ted Kennedy to march up there any minute. The sermon sounded like the Democratic Party platform. Is that what your religion is about?”
“Good question,” I responded. Continue reading
Yesterday we wrote about Rabbis for Obama. Today, according to a Forward article, we should focus on Rabbis for McCain. Well, sort of. Says the Forward:
A group of leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel is preparing to release a statement that urges the country’s American expatriates to exercise their voting rights in November by casting absentee ballots…
[Director of government affairs at Agudath Israel of America and Haredi lobbyist Rabbi Yehiel] Kalish said that the campaign, the first of its kind, is a nonpartisan effort to maximize the voting rate among American Israelis in order to strengthen the Jewish community’s bargaining power in Washington. The hope, he said, is that a high turnout will encourage the winning candidate — and other decision makers — to pay attention to the Jewish community’s priorities when formulating policy. Continue reading
Over 300 American rabbis publicly announced their support for Barack Obama yesterday with the launch of a “Rabbis for Obama” website.
The movement was founded by Rabbis Sam Gordon and Steve Bob of Illinois in response to what they call the “smear campaign against Obama” that “has been waged in the Jewish community.”
“The smears and lies are specifically targeted to the fears and prejudices of Jews,” Gordon said in a phone interview this morning. “The kind of attacks and criticisms of him are totally unwarranted and caused me and others to respond in a way unprecedented in the history of Jewish rabbis.”
While Gordon and Bob both belong to the Union for Reform Judaism, they say rabbinical support for Obama—and for their movement—comes from across the spectrum. Continue reading