Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jewish Values & Politics

Last night was the Jewish Americans for Obama event at KI which I was lucky enough to not only attend but help work. It was scheduled for 7:30 and it was decided to open the doors at 7:00, perhaps 6:45 if necessary. By 6:00 people started arriving, by 6:30 we had to open the curtain to double the room size, and by 7:00 we were scrounging up every last chair the synagogue had. There were over 1000 chairs, all filled, and both sides of the room were packed with standing people. It was amazing. 

Lots of speeches, all of which were just the right length and combination of humor and passion. We got to hear our own Dan Siegel who was terrific and then Pa Treasurer Rob McCord, (Jewish, who knew!) State Senator Daylon Leach( yes, also Jewish!) , County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and the Chair of the Dem National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
They represented a broad spectrum of Jewish practice from Josh Shapiro who was educated in Jewish day schools and educates his 4 children the same, to the speaker who summarized his Jewish upbringing as 'read the new york times and go to an ivy league college'.

But they had one unifying message. As committed Jews, they could not and would not support any president who was not 100% supportive of Israel. More on that near the end. 

The speakers also touched on something I think is often over shadowed by the emotional hot button of Israel. They spoke of the need for their politics to reflect their Jewish values. The concept of electing officials who reflect our Jewish morals and values is something we need to think about and talk about more often.

What are some of these values?
Tikkun olam; to repair the world. This is the idea that as Jews we have a responsibility not only to ourselves and our families but are also responsible for the welfare of the society at large.

The separation of church and state. It is essential that the next President appoints Supreme Court Justices who understand the importance that religious doctrine have no place in our schools, and in our laws.

Never again, never forget.  These words strike a chord deep in Jewish hearts. How do we best honor their meaning? By protecting and fighting for the rights of others. There is nothing Jewish about discrimination. There is nothing Jewish about laws meant to restrict the rights and the lives of others, whether they are Jews, immigrants, homosexuals, or women.

Ok, back to Israel. All the speakers listed many facts to illustrate the Presidents unequivocal support for Israel.  Remember facts? The news used to include them.
One quickie:
President Obama has sent record levels of security assistance to Israel and has increased the amount requested each year since taking office. In 2013, President Obama requested $3.1 billion—the largest security assistance package to Israel ever-and has armed Israel with the most advanced military hardware and missile defense systems.

The best place to find more facts and help in separating the myths from facts is on

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