Rabbinical Decision: Barack Obama is Glatt Kosher for Jews and for Israel

In the world of kosher certification of foods, glatt kosher is a higher standard than kosher. It means smooth or perfectly kosher. We use the metaphor of kosher to indicate that there is no defect that should deter Jews from supporting Barack Obama for President.

This rabbi, yours truly, has evaluated Barack Obama, carefully looking for any sign that he may be non-kosher. We find none.

In fact we find that Barack has a perfect record on Jewish issues and in his support of Israel. We have indicated our support in previous posts.

An article in today's New York Times covers the objections that some Jews have raised to the Obama candidacy and the responses that the candidate has given to them.

Here are the salient points from the piece, Obama Walks a Difficult Path as He Courts Jewish Voters By NEELA BANERJEE.

1. Barack does not want the support of Farrakhan.

The challenge of meeting the concerns of the Jewish electorate, a cornerstone of the Democratic base, was evident Tuesday when Mr. Obama was asked at the Democratic debate in Cleveland about Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has endorsed him.

Mr. Obama called Mr. Farrakhan an anti-Semite and denounced his support, but was pressed to go further by his rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, an experienced hand at Democratic politics who herself has been on the defensive with Jewish voters after an encounter in 2000 with Suha Arafat, the wife of the Palestinian leader.

2. Barack does not support the Palestinians.

Many also point to a now oft-repeated remark of his, made last year in Des Moines, that “no one has suffered more than the Palestinians...” Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that his remarks about the Palestinians were incomplete, and that he went on in his remarks to blame their leaders for the Palestinians’ plight.

3. Barack is not soft on Iran. He is open only to limited talks with Iran.

His supporters say his stance toward Iran does not mean capitulation.

3. Barak is not Muslim and did not attend a Muslim school.

Mr. Obama... has had to beat back false tales, spread in viral e-mail messages, that he is a Muslim who attended a madrassa in Indonesia as a boy and was sworn into office on the Koran. In fact, he is a Christian who was sworn in on a Bible....

“Those concerns have been continually stoked, whether through these e-mails that suggest that I’m a Muslim and attended madrassas and was sworn in with my hand on the Koran and scurrilous e-mails that were untrue,” Mr. Obama said.

4. Barack is a strong supporter of Israel.

“Nobody has ever been able to point to statements that I made or positions that I’ve taken that are contrary to the long-term security interests in Israel and in any way diminish the special relationship we have with that country,” Mr. Obama told reporters Thursday in Texas. “My job is just to keep on getting the information out and this is part of the political process.”

His campaign Web site says the American commitment to Israel’s security is “incontrovertible.” As a senator, he backed Israel during its invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and supports military aid to Israel. Weeks after he was sworn in in 2005, he visited Israel.

5. Barack is advised by pro-Israel advisors.

E-mail messages circulating about Mr. Obama’s untrustworthiness assert that the former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and diplomat Robert Malley, figures loathed by many Jews, are top advisers to his campaign. Mr. Brzezinski has met with Mr. Obama, but he is not a top adviser. Mr. Malley has communicated with the campaign by e-mail but has never spoken to Mr. Obama, a campaign spokesman said.

The candidate’s Israel advisers are three former staff members to President Bill Clinton: Dennis Ross, a top Mideast adviser; Anthony Lake, national security adviser and Susan Rice, assistant secretary of state. Other advisers on Israeli and Mideast matters are Mr. Wexler; Dan Shapiro, formerly of the Clinton national security council, and Eric Lynn, a former Congressional aide. (All but Ms. Rice are Jewish.)

6. Barack's church is not antiSemitic.

Many Jews have expressed concern about Mr. Obama’s minister, Mr. Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. In an article in The Jerusalem Post that is being circulated on the Internet, Marc Zell, co-chairman of Republicans Abroad in Israel, described Mr. Wright as “well known for his virulent anti-Israel remarks.”

The Anti-Defamation League, however, has said that it has found no evidence of anti-Semitism on Mr. Wright’s part.

7. Barack is the best candidate to lead our country in our continued support of Israel and our opposition to all forms of bigotry.

He needs your support. Don't be taken in by the lies of the opponents of Obama or the bad-mouthers of Barack.

Get fired up for Barack.


Anonymous said...

he doesnt hold a candle to senator clinton and all the she has accomplished over her years of loyal and dedicated service to our community and especially her litany of accomplishments for israel and on issues of particular concern to the jewish community. obama has done nothing except talk - blank talk just like rudy or bush.
She has been a true friend throughout and has experience and understanding more thorough than anyone in a long time and derserves our support and respect.
Obama has speeches, but he does not have the record of service and accomplishments we have benefitted from her loyal and dedicated service and we owe her our thanks. She is the best to lead because she knows!

Fired up? Yeah, thats what Obama's fad campaign does. Its branding pep rally hype to a whole new cultish level, empty of any real substance or accomplsihment.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

My support is based on real substance such as... Barack was and is against the war in Iraq. Barack never kissed Suha Arafat after hearing an antisemitic rant from her.

Anonymous said...

WOW. did you justp ull the suha kiss card???
HSallow man, shallow and low. like all the bush lovers.
This guy wants to sit and have coffee with north korea, castro, chavez and ahmedinajad and you pull suha card?
Actions speak far louder the spur of the moment dimplomatic embraces and she has a long litany of accomplishments.
And he can say he was against the war in iraq all he wants but we can never actually know how someone who wasnt in the senate at the time "would have" voted.
(speaking of which, where was he when there were pivotal votes, say concerning the iranian republic gaurd? huh? oh right, the great obamarama was absent that day.)

Tzvee Zahavy said...

that's fine, just keep tearing down, while meanwhile we go ahead and build America back up in spite of you.

Anonymous said...

you need to make bricks before you can build.

Anonymous said...

You're joking when you say that Sen. Obama's friend and pastor, Rev. Dr. Jerimiah A. Wright, Jr., is not an antisemite, right? At least I certainly hope you're joking. Dr. Wright is a fast friend of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.He accompanied Farrakkan to Libya in the 1980s. In 2007, Wright addressed this by saying "When [Obama’s] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit Colonel Gadaffi with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell." In 2007, Trumpet Magazine, which is published and edited by Wright's daughter, presented the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to Farrakhan, whom it said "truly epitomized greatness." Dr. Wright is quoted in the magazine offering praise of Farrakhan "as one of the 20th and. 21st century giants of the African American religious experience" and also praised Farrakhan's "integrity and honesty."

John D. Enright said...

So, Rabbi, let me get this straight. Dr. Wright and his ilk are not antisemitic, yet the Pope and Cardinal Kasper are? You implied that the Pope is somehow responsible for the Nazi regime: "hysterical violence of the Holocaust era in Catholic Germany, where the current pope grew up as a member of the Hitler Youth." As for the Cardinal, you stated: "Do you get it now, Herr Cardinal 'in charge of relations with the Jews' "?

If you have anything close to a sacrimental form of Penance, or Confession, you really should consider it since you're obviously in need of it.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

We thank you for your concern for our soul.

The pope reinstituted what I consider to be an antisemitic prayer. He was a member of the Hitler youth. Are you not ashamed of that? I would like him to stop his antisemitic actions and build a proper religion without any hint of Jew hatred. But no - the Vatican defends its renewal of hatred and insults in its "worship".

Yes. Obama would be a good example for the pope to emulate in this process of clearly rejecting racism, bigotry and antisemitism. He has made abundantly clear that he condemns Farrakahn and rejects any smattering of antisemitism.

Which part of Obama's factual, clear and stated record will you try to distort next?

Perhaps a few Hail Marys are in order for you next time you go to confession.

Anonymous said...

Obama has no record.Hillary has a solid record and then some.
Obama is the patron saint of the foolish and unwise.

John D. Enright said...

Mazel tov, Rabbi. "We thank you for your concern for our soul." Use of the word soul in the singular leads me to conclude that you are employing the Royal We. How very noble of you, even if it betrays a self-inflated ego. "The pope [sic] reinstituted what I consider to be an antisemitic prayer." The Pope did no such thing. The prayer as set forth in the Ordo Missæ of the Missale Romanum 1962 has been in continuous existence, in more or less the same form, since the third century. What you probably didn't realize is that the so-called Tinidentine Mass, which is properly designated as the Extraordinary Form, was never abrogated as Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum clearly states. What the Pope did , however, was to remove some language in an effort to placate those truly myopic souls who cannot understand that it is intended as a benefit. In any event, most Roman Catholics will never hear the prayer, since it is not contained in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Instead, the traditional prayer will be hear by very few Catholics who, in all probability, will not understand it since it is said in Latin.

As for the disingenuous remark about the Hitler Youth, your comment is really outrageous and deceitful; it deserves utter condemnation. In December, 1939, the Nazi government made membership in the Hitler youth mandatory. The Pope, who was compelled to join in 1941, nevertheless refused to attend its meetings. See The Third Reich in Power, Richard J Evans, 2005, pg 272. The Pope was eventually drafted into the military, but he went AWOL.

You state that Obama "reject[s] racism, bigotry and antisemitism." I know what he's said, but I'm troubled by his association with Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., who has exhibited antisemitic and racially bigotted behaviors. I hate to quote a cliche, but "You are only as good as the company you keep."

How should the Pope emulate Obama? Possibly Obama's support for live birth abortion? You know, Obama voted "present" several times and ultimately against legislation mandating medical care for babies born during botched partial birth abortion attempts. Chicago Trib article

"Which part of [Obama's] record will you try to distort next?" I missed something there. What part did I ever distort? Polemics and your ad hominum attacks aside, you haven't identified one single instance, and since what I posted previously cannot be seriously contested, you will not be able to do so.

The Sacrement of Penance is generally accepted, in various forms, by virtually all mainstream Christian denominations: Luterans, Anglicans, Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Methodists, etc. The Ave Maria - or Hail Mary - is a devotional prayer peculiar to Roman Catholicism and certain High Church Anglican traditions; devotions to Sancta Maria are by no means universally accepted by various Protestant sects, and in fact, repudiated by many.

Its quite clear that by my mention of Confession and your pastoral advice to say "a few Hail Marys", you are quite happy to assume that I'm Catholic, didn't you? Maybe you're right, and maybe you're wrong about that. It's none of your business one way or the other. Well, you know what they say about people who assume. In any event, your anti-Catholic slant shines brightly through.

Face the facts, Rabbi. Obama is long on rhetoric about unspecified "change" and short on concrete plans. He has spent virtually his entire single term as a U.S. Senator campaigning for the Presidency, and has almost NO Senatorial record of substance. He is essentially a junior State Senator with a mediocre legislative record with NO administrative experience running for the most powerful position on Earth.

Do you really feel comfortable about that? What if you're wrong?

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Yes John. I feel more than comfortable about my support for Barack Obama. After years of putting up with the negativism and tearing down of people like you, I am more than confident that Obama is the future.

Tell us who you are. Or hide in the shadows. It makes no difference. The Pope, your Pope or some Catholic person's pope, has revived an insulting and triumphalist liturgy. Shame, shame, shame. How indeed do you know that he did not attend the meetings of the Hitler Youth? A footnote in a book? Shame, shame, shame.

I do not await salvation from the Nazi Hitler Youth Pope. I am saved by my observance of the Torah, by my belief in Judaism and by my observance of the mitzvos. Shame on you for denying this to me.

Your denigration of Sen. Obama is beneath despicable. A man of honor must be taken at his word. But how would you know that?

John, I hope that you are not representative of the Christian Right Wing in our great land. For if you are then I am greatly dismayed.

John D. Enright said...

"[A] man of honor must be taken at his word." Does that apply to the Pope also? The Pope himself initially revealed his Hitler Youth past in Salt of the Earth Jerusalem Post Abstract, April 21, 2005

What does "negativism and tearing down of people like [me]" mean? Speak no evil? Where are the other two monkeys?

You are "saved by [your] observance of the Torah, by [your] belief in Judaism and by [your] observance of the mitzvos." Several points have to be made. This doesn't sound like traditional Jewish belief. It sounds almost as if you believe in personal redemption, rather than the collective salvation of Israel. Don't you think it sounds just a bit like St. Paul, albeit with an improper emphasis on you saving yourself? Traditional Christian escatology emphasizes that we are redeemed through the saving Grace of God manifest by good works. Hmm. That sounds like your Hashkabah service: "May the supreme King of kings, through His infinite mercy, have mercy, pity, and compassion on him. May the supreme King of kings, through His infinite mercy, hide him under the shadow of His wings, and under the protection of His tent, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to wait in His temple; may He raise him at the end of days, and cause him to drink of the stream of His delights. May He cause his soul to be bound up in the bond of life and his rest to be glorious. May the Lord be his inheritance, and grant him peace; and may his repose be in peace . . ."

You used the phrase "beneath despicable" in relation to my thoughts about Obama. I'm genuinely impressed. "Despicable" means worthless. To be less than worthless must be a record of sorts, but I digress. You still haven't refuted my allegations; you only engage in ad hominum attacks.

You asked me to tell you who I am. Er, don't tell you who I am. Er, you don't care. That sounds like John Kerry's vote to fund the Iraqi war effort before he voted against it. BTW, you supported him, didn't you? Please notice that I don't hide in the shadows, and I don't post things anonymously.

Finally, you termed the traditional Latin Good Friday prayer as "triumphalist liturgy." Well, what about your Morning Blessings where you thank G-d that you're not Gentile? Isn't that the flip side of the same coin?

Oh, I forgot to mention, I'm not a Christian Fundamentalist, although I am very anti-abortion. Theologically speaking, I am moderate in most cases. For instance, I think the "Dual Covenant Theory" has merit.

Anonymous said...

My generation's short attention span
By Ori Raphael
I recall watching Obama's stump speech late one Saturday night after he had swept the Potomac primaries. After 30 minutes or so, I was beginning to believe him. I was, to put it simply, inspired. But, as he continued to speak, I understood why I could never vote for this man. I still do not know anything about him.
For the past few months I have been running a political campaign for a state race. I have been able to see and hear more than one presidential candidate along the way. I noticed, after conversing with different demographics, that young Jewish voters were the most out of touch and misinformed.
Why is Paris Hilton famous? She fulfills two main criteria for a movie star: good looks and the media spotlight. Therefore it would make sense to put in her the movies, wouldn't it? No, not at all.
So why do so many young Jews love Obama? Ask any of his followers and they will give you the same answers. "He is new." "We need a change." "Anything but Bush." "End the war." Etcetera, etcetera. I am ashamed and frankly worried that so many young Jews are infatuated with this man. Why is Obama the "best" option? Maybe he fulfills the two criteria for a great politician: an amazing ability to speak and the media spotlight. But what is missing, as for the infamous Paris, is why that makes him the best candidate.
Obama began his political grab for the most powerful position on earth in 2004 during the Democratic convention, when he wooed the masses, and the minority vote, to stump for the Democratic Party. I do not think his young followers know that, nor the old. He used that forum to springboard into the Illinois senate seat. Did we hear anything of his time serving as senator? Did Obama author or pass legislation? Did he vote for most bills presented to him? Do most of the young voters who love him know or care? The truth is, he didn't even have time to make an impact; he was too busy preparing for his presidential bid.
I am not telling people not to vote for him. I am asking young Jews to do the most Jewish of things: Ask questions. I want a president who will finally make a positive difference like anyone else, but I am afraid of what can come of someone who has absolutely no track record. Realizing that the president always has a leather briefcase containing a button to activate nuclear weapons, it is important to know more about whoever holds it.
There are many problems a young Jew should have with Obama. For one, he says he wants to repair our image in the Muslim world. Shouldn't they be repairing their image? What do the majority of Israel- and America-haters across the Muslim world have in common? They have never met a Jew and want us dead. Yet many young Jewish voters want a president who will appease their interests. We are taught to be competitive, get into good schools and get great jobs, yet why are we ashamed of our country that is just as competitive? Striving to be the best has made our lives in this country great. I do not know why we would be ashamed of it.
If you were a football coach and a kid came out of nowhere and told you to put him in as the quarterback, would you listen? What if it was for the Super Bowl? Chances are no. But it is the same with Obama. He comes out of nowhere and tells us all his ideas and hopes, but there is no true way of knowing what he can or will do. Too many times in history, people — especially young Jews — have gotten onto the bandwagon because it was different and the times needed "a-changing." The lessons are still felt today. It is a matter of education. I would never make a decision without studying the facts. I know what the other candidates can and will try to do, but I do not know what to expect from Obama. When it comes to the most powerful position on earth, it is sad to say that young Jews are voting for one person because he seems, like Paris Hilton, "hot."
Too many young Jews are busy watching their TiVo-ed shows or worrying about where they are going out that night. All I ask is that you get informed and get involved. I do not think we all understand the impact of this election. Young and old, make sure to ask questions, because if not, the consequences could be dire. Get informed and vote wisely.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

The argument for Clinton is turning into an argument against democracy. Her backers argue for the insider with the right kind of experience. Real democracy allows us to choose an outsider who inspires us and who we deem our leader as a collective majority voice and vote. Without the corrective of real democracy we end up in a vicious cycle of one gang of corrupt insiders replaced by another - Bush - Clinton - Bush - Clinton. That's what we have tired of and that's why we vote for change. Not perfection - change.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Re: the pope. As I read the record the pope attended Hitler Youth until he stopped. He was in the army until he went AWOL. Do you want the pictures of him saluting, "Heil Hitler" during the time that he admits he was in both the Hitler Youth and the Nazi Army. Perhaps a youtube video of the man with arm upstretched in a nazi salute in front of the image of the Fuhrer. And now the man is pope.

Anonymous said...

So superficial. you fail to look beyond names now? so pretend her named is rodham not clinton.
You need someone who "inspires" ? inspires what ?
Lets elect tony robbins president! lets elect the amway guy! thats what i feel like doing when obamarama talks. i feel like i CAN be an amway millionaire. "do it!" do what? "we can do it" do what? make change? change what ! washington! ok.

hype, hype, hype. A year and half ago, some smart person was quoted as having said that if the country wanted a leader they'd elect hillary and if they wanted therapy theyd elect obama.

Obama is all about branding and hype. he might be smart, but is unqualified. at leas as unqualified as the great bushie was, or the hyped up rudy giuliani.

Anonymous said...

His Eloquence, The Would-Be President
Posted February 27, 2008 | 02:31 PM (EST) SYLVIA WELSH
In the past several weeks, as the democratic race for the nomination comes to its dramatic conclusion, a consistent theme voiced by supporters of each of the two candidates has increasingly revolved around a "war of words." The argument, on both sides, is that the other candidate is the one whose words cannot be trusted. In this war, the consensus appears to be that Barack Obama is the clear winner, the poet, the "man of words." This is alternately cited as either his greatest strength or his biggest weakness.

While His Eloquence is undisputed, his authorship has been. Ignoring the doubters of His Eloquence, just yesterday Alec MacGillis in the Washington Post declaredthat Obama's most "powerful weapon has been the oldest [of weapons] - words." Adding to His Eloquence's aura, Arianna Huffington definitively stated that it was, in fact, Hillary, and not Barack, who should be compared to Bush in her use of words.

Here are some examples of what MacGillis and Huffington would no doubt agree are the "powerful weapons" of eloquent words:
[The greatest generation] "was a generation of Americans who stormed beaches, liberated concentration camps and delivered us from evil. Some never came home.
Those who put their medals in drawers went to work and built, on a heroic scale, highways and universities, suburbs and factories, great cities and grand alliances — the strong foundations of an American Century.
Now the question comes to the sons and daughters of this achievement: What is asked of us?
This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid. But times of plenty, likes times of crisis, are tests of American character.
Prosperity can be a tool in our hands, used to build and better our country. Or it can be a drug in our system -- dulling our sense of urgency, of empathy, of duty.
Our opportunities are too great, our lives too short, to waste this moment....We will seize this moment of American promise.
We will confront the hard issues — threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security — before the challenges of our time become crises for our children...
This nation is daring and decent and ready for change...
But this administration, during eight years of increasing need, did nothing. They had their moment. They have not led. I will.
Our generation has a chance to reclaim some essential values, to show we have grown up before we grow old...
But when the moment for leadership came, this administration did not teach our children, it disillusioned them....
We must teach our children the values that defeat violence. I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life, the life of the elderly and the sick, and the life of the young...
A hundred years from now, this must not be remembered as an age rich in possessions and poor in ideals...
Should I become President, I will work to call upon the best of the nation. A leader's responsibility is to understand that the great armies of compassion, which exist all across America, must be rallied to make sure no one gets left behind.
It is the role of a leader to share wisdom, to share experience with people who are looking for someone to lead.
I understand the awesome responsibility of this job. I understand the serious undertaking of answering to the calls of mothers and fathers who I see all the time around America, who come to my rallies and hold a picture of their child and look me in the eye and say, 'Never let us down again.' I hear those calls.
This country is ready for change. It's ready for bipartisan leadership. It's ready for a leader who will bring this great country together. This country wants a leader who understands how to lead, how to bring folks together.
I stand squarely with the people. There's a big difference in philosophy in this campaign. I'm running against a candidate of Washington, by Washington and for Washington. Mine is a campaign that stands squarely on the side of the people and the families and the workers of America.
It's time for a leader to bring Republicans and Democrats together. After eight years of partisan bickering and name-calling, it's time for new leadership to bring Republicans and Democrats together, to be able to say that a promise made is a promise kept, to reject old-style politics that tries to frighten folks, to reject the old business of trying to tear someone down while the issues still remain.
Now is the time for new leadership that understands we must trust younger people...
Now is the time, now is the time, for Republicans and Democrats to end the politics of fear...
On principle, those in the greatest need should receive the greatest help. The world needs America's strength and leadership.
Thus spoke His Eloquence. However, in the words cited above, His Eloquence is not, as one would suspect, Barack Obama. His Eloquence was a candidate running for President in 2000. His Eloquence was George W. Bush, speaking at the Republican National Convention.

His Eloquence won. And the world lost.


Tzvee Zahavy said...

If you convince enough people to vote for you - then you win. It's a system called democracy and it puts it's confidence in a system that relies on the collective wisdom of its people. Branding and hype is part of the way candidates get votes. Tearing the other guy down is part of the way bad sportsmen get thrown out of the game.

Anonymous said...

and you dont get to play in the big leagues no matter hoe pretty your uniform is and no matter what kind of a fan base and reporter hype because of that pretty uniform you have if you've never trained at all to play the game. If you never accomplished anything of suibstance that matters at all to anynone that your miniions cant even think of any then you are grossly unqualified to be the starting center.

Oh, and the blind hillary hatred and denial of obama's biggest fans is truly sad..talk about tearing people down.

John D. Enright said...

To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: Go ahead, Rabbi. Make my day. You promised to post a picture of the then 14 year old Joseph Ratzinger raising his hand in a Nazi salute before a picture of Hitler. In the immortal words of Jean Luc Piccard, "Make it so."

In the meantime, you might like to see what Jewish leaders have said about the Pope's past. Jewish leaders say pope's past cause for optimism, not concern

You said you live by the Torah. Well, actions speak louder than words, and you apparently missed the words about bearing false witness. I think your buddy Obama would agree: "Just words?" Oops. Sorry, I forgot that the words in that speech WEREN'T HIS.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Read the entire article, "Some Jewish leaders were concerned about "Dominus Iesus," the document the doctrinal congregation issued in 2000 affirming Catholic belief in Jesus Christ as the only savior of humanity. Many non-Christians felt the document not only called into question the validity of their religions, but also opened the door for new Catholic campaigns to convert members of other religions."

Heil Ratzinger.

Anonymous said...

"I stand squarely with the people."

odd. if the democrats had a winner take all policy like the republicans, hillary would be up by 200 over obama.
its all about the system

Tzvee Zahavy said...

"odd"? or do you mean "fair!"?