Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mr. Obama Goes To Shul

This was written in May, but it's worth resending and rereading, as it addresses the fears many Jews have about Obama:
Many in the crowd were of the opinion that 'George W. Bush is the best friend Israel has ever had.' I hear this from my students more often than is comfortable. Senator Obama addressed this in words of stark simplicity:

'In the past seven years, Iran has become infinitely more powerful than ever before. It has given tremendous financial support to the major enemies of Israel. This has all happened under the Bush-Cheney-McCain watch. How can anyone conclude that the one who empowers your worst enemy is your best friend? It doesn't make any sense.'

One person in the crowd asked why, in saying he would convene a summit meeting of all Arab countries, he excluded Israel, Obama smiled and answered:

'Well first, Israel isn't an Arab country; its a Jewish State. Secondly, they are our strongest ally . . . our best friend in the region. The countries we would be talking to are the ones we want to convince that someday, somehow, they're going to have to learn how to live in peace with Israel. If you only talk to your friends, there is absolutely no chance that you're ever going to be able to change your enemies. That is part of the definition of courage'

By way of example, Senator Obama mentioned how, when speaking before students at a school of Ramallah, he told them, 'One day you are going to have to learn to live in peace with Israel.'

May 23, 2008

Mr. Obama Goes To Shul

Kurt F. Stone is a well-known lecturer as well as a practicing rabbi for more than 20 years. He has worked as a legislative analyst, campaign manager and press secretary. His latest book 'The Congressional Minyan' is a ground-breaking work of political biography.  Here is his report of Barack Obama's visit to Temple B'nai Torah. We think you'll find it interesting. 

BOCA RATON, FLORIDA * Senator Barack Obama came to Temple B'nai Torah this afternoon. As will often happen with candidates out on the campaign trail, his arrival was delayed by several hours. And although he apologized for being tardy and making us wait, he never did mention the reason for his delay. As I found out later that night, he had hopped up to Capitol Hill in ord er to vote in favor of a measure which greatly expands the G.I. Bill. He could have taken the high, self-serving road and told those assembled why he was late. He could also have taken the low, 'finger-pointing' road and flailed Senator McCain for being one of 22 Republicans voting against our men and women in uniform.

Instead, he did neither.  This was not his reason for going to shul. Rather, he was here, in the midst of approximately 750 mostly-Jewish men, women and teens, to talk about himself, Israel, and anti-Semitism, and to address head-on the virtual St. Vitus' dance of fear that has been such a noxious staple of cyberspace this past year.


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