Does Chris Christie merit Jewish Sainthood via a Shmuley Boteach "Values Award"? He got such an award at the "Champions of Jewish Values International awards gala" this week.
I do think that Vanity Fair went too far calling "mealy mouthed" the name of the organization that was founded by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: "The event (at which Christie was honored) was hosted by This World: The Values Network, an organization with a mealy-mouthed name run by celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach." That's a cheap shot. And it was unnecessary to dig that one up when more expensive shots are available right on the surface.
Christie presides over an administration that closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge for four days in order to punish a mayor who did not support his reelection. (Notice I do not say he ordered the lane closings. We have not yet proven that.) He's a nasty bullying politician who also cancelled giant public works projects that are essential for the long-term well-being of the region so that he could use the funds to close the massive gaps in his failed budget and save his administration from immediate economic failure. (See this story and many others.)
I don't know what Christie "values" were spelled out in the presentation of the "award" to him by "Champions of Jewish Values International." But let's pretend for a moment to take this whole scenario seriously - as if a panel of values experts reviewed many candidates for the award and decided that Christie was most worthy. It's fair to ask - on what basis does Christie embody "Jewish Values" and win this award? I cannot think of any basis.
But of course this whole line of analytical thinking is ludicrous. We all know that the "award" was invented by one man (Shmuley) and given to another man (Christie) as a stunt to maximize publicity for a politician in trouble and to get exposure in the press to try to rescue his failing political career. As a publicity stunt - this one was a doozy.
It's sad that many news organizations (e.g. Time) are so eager to write about bullying politicians and about Jews and that they will present a fabricated mockery of an award event as if Christie received a legitimate honor bestowed by a bona fide organization.
So now some naive and uninformed people may believe that we Jews think that Christie is a champion of Jewish values. I do not think that.
For the record, I was not consulted about the propriety of giving Christie a "Jewish Values" award. If I had been asked I would have advised against it on legitimate substantive grounds.