INVITATION: Several years ago, there was a special Shabbos program at the Road to Majority conference, run by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. Last year a few of us were privileged to hear President Trump, along with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and David Perdue (R-GA) at the Thursday luncheon (though there were no Kosher meals, as it was arranged at short notice). The next day’s speakers included Michael Medved, Charles Krauthammer, Kellyanne Conway, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ambassador Ron Dermer… and me.
This year’s Road to Majority conference will be June 7-9, Thursday through Shabbos, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. We are hoping to be able to arrange a full Shabbos program, with our own meals and speakers. The cost will be “reasonable,” with specifics to be determined ASAP.
Would you like to join us? Please let us know by email to [email protected] . We will keep you posted!
ALSO: We are going to begin a series of conference calls with political leaders and activists. Due to space limitations, attendance on these calls will be limited to advisors, financial supporters and members of our Rabbinic Circle. If you have not done so before, now is the time to join the fight to represent true Jewish values in public policy.
This having been the month of Passover (and my son’s wedding), you might imagine that we got a lot less done this month. Fortunately, this is very much not the case, and I have much to report to you.
First and foremost, we are pleased to unveil our official platform document, “To Return the Crown to its Place.” This is an important explanation of who we are, why the CJV is needed, and the issues we cover. It was approved by Rav Aharon Feldman, shlit”a, the Dean of Ner Israel Rabbinical College and one of the foremost rabbinic scholars of our time.
We sent the PDF version of this document to our entire Rabbinic Circle on Tuesday. One replied to a member of our Rabbinic Board: “I was absolutely thrilled by this document. It beautifully expresses the views I have had for the last fifty years in Rabbanos.” So I urge you to download, read and share our platform.
This is especially true for those who are family members of past and present Kollel students, whether or not they have formal semicha or are practicing rabbis — please invite them to support our voice by joining our Rabbinic Circle. It is free, comes with benefits, and most importantly demonstrates wide rabbinic support for the CJV’s platform and statements.
Before Passover, it was my privilege to address the House Values Action Team, a congressional caucus focused upon religious liberty, family and life issues. [We are also invited to Senate VAT meetings, but they do not seek introductory remarks of this nature.] I was the only visibly Orthodox person in the room, and when it was my turn on the agenda, the Congressman chairing the meeting looked directly at me as he invited me to speak. I responded, “Congressman, how did you know that I was me?” It was a good moment, especially when he responded that it was a lucky guess.
Even more important was the level of engagement with our material (which included a briefing linked in last month’s update, which formed the nucleus of the platform document). They put me on the agenda as offering a “Jewish perspective” on their issues of concern. I said that it was a tragedy that a Jewish perspective wasn’t already self-evident, and that that was why our voice was needed. There was a lot of nodding in agreement at that point.
Meetings are informal and off the record, but I can tell you that one of the Congressman interrupted me for a moment to underscore and strengthen one of the points I was making, which we discussed for a minute before I continued. I was told afterwards that that was very unusual, that usually discussion is only after the speaker’s remarks are concluded, and questions more frequently come from other organizations than from a congressman. So clearly there is a lot of interest in what we are bringing to the table.
We similarly are finding more people coming to us for our opinion, making us part of the story beyond anything we have said in a press release. Most notable is a piece in New York Magazine which is mainly a hagiography (an adulatory essay) on Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism. Only two detractors with the title of Rabbi were quoted in the article: a supporter of the anti-Semitic “Jewish Voice for Peace,” and Rabbi Lerner — who pointed out that Jacobs is charting a divisive course, talking down to Israelis about both their security and their Judaism, and turning his congregants against Israel. No other Rabbi or rabbinic organization was quoted on this point.
The Jewish News Service asked for a quote on the appointment of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State, while the New Jersey Jewish Link quoted our opposition to New Jersey’s proposed bill to permit assisted suicide.
All of this, with two weeks essentially out of commission.
The second release was in response to opposition to the appointments of Pompeo and John Bolton, the President’s new National Security Adviser, from left-wing Jewish groups. As Rabbi Pruzansky pointed out, Bolton’s appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation, so there was no positive benefit to criticizing him at this juncture. But it is astounding how supposedly “Jewish” groups wish to stifle concern regarding Islamic terrorism by equating any criticism with “animus towards American Muslims.”
All of our activities continue only with your support. Please join the CJV today!