Have you been wanting the courage to go down and visit congress to express your views? This video, taken yesterday of Philadelphia Rabbi Arthur Waskow leading the way, shows one clear and compelling way to do so. Filmed by an unnamed participant yesterday during a clergy visit to the office of House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Rabbi Waskow is joined by Gerry Serota of New Jewish Agenda, and Rabbi David Shneyer of Am Kolel, a greater Washington area congregation.
Seventy colleagues from a wide array of religions joined the effort, part of a Capitol Hill Pilgrimage with locked-out federal workers. Their goal: To urge an immediate end to the government shutdown and urgent passage of laws to prevent a default on the US debt. While Cantor wasn't in his office, interns and staff received what must surely have been an unforgettable delegation.
Chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art trustees, the Honorable Constance Williams, joins His Excellency François Delattre, the French ambassador to the U.S., and Michael Scullin, Esq., Honorary French Consul in Philadelphia. Photo: Bonnie Squires.
— by Bonnie Squires
Jules Mastbaum, the Jewish philanthropist who, in the early 20th century, created and donated to the City of Philadelphia his fabulous collection of Rodin sculptures and the "jewel box" of a museum to house it, would have been very pleased with the number of Jewish philanthropists who turned out on September 15 for the Rodin Gala and fundraiser.
Mastbaum, who made his fortune as a movie theater mogul, spared no expense in having his "jewel box" of a Beaux Arts museum designed and built to house his collection.
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today slammed the House Republican Caucus for continuing their quixotic campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act — the same bill supported by the vast majority of American Jews and deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:
This effort — the 31st such vote by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives — proves once again that Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) care significantly more about politics than policy, as this effort will simply not succeed. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has been found constitutional by the Supreme Court and will provide life-saving health insurance to millions of Americans. Sadly, House Republicans would rather waste time with one more unnecessary vote than focus on working to further improve on health care reform or focusing on job creation. Most Jewish Americans — along with countless others — supported Obamacare and millions of Americans will benefit from the legislation as it is implemented. It is way past time for Republicans to cease tilting at windmills and quit playing politics with Americans' health insurance.
Thursday, nearly all House Republicans voted against a measure that would have increased funding for joint U.S.-Israeli energy cooperation. Among the "no" votes was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Pennsylvania Congressmen Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Gerlach, Tim Murphy, and Pat Meehan. . National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David A. Harris said:
"Yesterday's vote by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and his Republican caucus against an initiative to increase funding for joint U.S.-Israel energy cooperation is just the latest instance in which Republicans have let partisan politics stand in the way of advancing the U.S.-Israel relationship. Israel is a shining example of a country seeking energy independence through research in clean technologies and the United States has everything to gain by forging a deeper partnership in this area with our strongest ally in the Middle East. It is very disheartening that so many pro-Israel Republicans who believe in American energy independence voted the way they did yesterday."
In an astonishing but brutally honest admission to POLITICO today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor-the only Jewish Republican in Congress-openly discussed the challenges of anti-Semitism and racism confronted within the House Republican caucus, adopting his questioner's labeling of it as the "darker side" of the caucus.
— by David A. Harris
It's both admirable and disturbing in the extreme to hear Majority Leader Cantor's candid remarks regarding the dual challenges of racism and anti-Semitism that he has detected in the House GOP caucus. From the widespread use of abusive Holocaust rhetoric among House GOP members and candidates to behind-the-scenes skirmishes like Cantor's own well-documented decision to oppose the reelection of Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) over his statement to Cantor that Cantor would not be 'saved,' there are clearly deep-seated problems within the GOP. The time has come for more GOP leaders to have Cantor's courage to step forward, and for the GOP to start addressing the problem directly — with actions, not just words.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA 6) was interviewed by Lesley Stahl on CBS's 60 minutes. She asked him about the Jewish tendency to vote for Democrats. Cantor, the only Jewish Republican currently serving in Congress, called this the bane of his existence and revealed the Republican version of tikkun olam.
2011 "Values Voter" Summit Schedule Featuring GOP Presidential Candidates To Conflict Yet Again with the Jewish High Holidays
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today criticized the 2011 Values Voter Summit in part because — for the third consecutive year* — the conservative conference coincides with the Jewish High Holidays. The 2011 Values Voter Summit, which will feature a majority of the Republican presidential candidates, perfectly symbolizes how the modern conservative movement does not include Jewish values under its umbrella. This year, the conference occurs on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park will host the 29th Annual Women Cantors' Network Conference from June 12th to 15th. Approximately 90 cantors and cantorial soloists from California to Maine will gather to sing, learn, and share their stories and issues.
The Women Cantors' Network (WCN) was formed in 1982 as a supportive and nurturing environment for women cantors to share music, knowledge, and experiences in the field. In 1981, WCN founder Debbie Katchko became the second woman in a traditional Jewish conservative pulpit. At the time, there was little opportunity to discuss issues unique to females in a male profession. Questions like "What about maternity leave?" "How do you manage with your growing family?" "What is the role of your spouse?", and even the seemingly mundane, but professionally crucial... "What do you wear on the pulpit?" were yet to be answered. Katchko found twelve women serving congregations who were interested in networking, and the group has held annual conferences ever since. From that original twelve, the WCN has grown to over 300 women and men from the United States, Canada, Israel, the UK, France, and Germany.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: "It should have some spending cuts as a down payment on controlling the size of our federal government."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Richmond, Virginia: "We've had to bring this president kicking and screaming to the table to cut spending."
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio: "It's time for us to get serious about how we're spending the nation's money."
These Republicans, along with others in Congress and statehouses like Trenton and Madison, demand smaller government and lower spending, yet they have not complained about the federal government's aid to the Republican-dominated Southern states ravaged by storms and tornadoes that left 350 people dead.
Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Strauss (R) is a member of Reform Synagogue Temple Beth-El in San Antonio.
-- Marc. R Stanley and David A. Harris
It is appalling and shocking that in this day and age, leaders of Texas' Republican Party have injected charged religious rhetoric into the race for Speaker of the House. Just a few weeks ago, emails appeared calling for current Speaker Joe Strauss, a Jewish Republican from San Antonio, to be ousted in favor of 'conservative Christian leadership.' Now another email chain has surfaced, this time between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee, Rebecca Williamson and John Cook, echoing that sentiment. Adding insult to injury, we now have a member of the State Republican Executive Committee insisting that Christians 'do the best jobs over all,' and invoking the dreaded 'some of my best friends are Jews' line.
"When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions," he [John Cook] told me [Abby Rapoport of the Texas Observer], explaining that he only supports Christian conservative candidates in Republican primary races.
"I want to make sure that a person I'm supporting is going to have my values. It's not anything about Jews and whether I think their religion is right or Muslims and whether I think their religion is right. ... I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They're the people that do the best jobs over all." ...
Cook said his opposition was not about Straus' religion, although he prefers Christian candidates.
"They're some of my best friends," he said of Jews, naming two friends of his. "I'm not bigoted at all; I'm not racist" ... Cook was absolute that his position was not bigoted.
"My favorite person that's ever been on this earth is a Jew," he said. "How can they possibly think that if Jesus Christ is a Jew, and he's my favorite person that's ever been on this earth.
This invocation of religion and dialogue asserting that 'Jews and other non-Christians need not apply for GOP leadership positions in Texas' is completely unacceptable and has no place in our public discourse. It is detrimental to our political process and, among so many other things, erodes community and interfaith relations. Unfortunately, this type of extremist rhetoric is nothing new; we have seen certain leaders and members of the Republican Party bring religion into the conversation repeatedly in previous election cycles. It's repugnant, and it has to stop.
Republican leaders cannot continue to sit idly by while the extremist factions of their Party continue to grow and grow. National Republican leaders, including incoming House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, must immediately condemn the actions of their fellow Party leaders and members and call on them to apologize for this well-documented, egregious behavior.
This is yet another example of how the agenda of the increasingly extremist and growing right wing simply does not reflect the values of the American Jewish community. The GOP claims to be engaging in a significant outreach effort to the American Jewish community, but given that this is how Republican leaders continue to go about it, it is not surprising that the dramatic majority of American Jews continue to support the Democratic Party."
Marc R. Stanley of Dallas, Texas is the Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, and David A. Harris is the President and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is an online non-profit volunteer based community newspaper serving the Philadelphia Jewish Community since 2005. We are dedicated to addressing the important social, political and cultural issues facing our community in a spirit of honesty, integrity and diversity.
Your tax-deductible donations will help give Voice to the Greater Philadelphia Jewish Community.
To pay by credit card or paypal, click here:
or send a check to:
Eric Smolen, Treasurer,
Philadelphia Jewish Voice,
327 Pembroke Road,
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is organized pursuant to
Pennsylvania's non-profit corporation law. We have tax-exempt status under IRS
Code Section 501(c)(3). Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of
For more information about the Philadelphia Jewish Voice visit