web analytics
April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Why Cory Booker’s Message of Social Civility Resonates


Cory Booker

Photo Credit: Screenshot

Share Button

For a moment, let me remove my hat as a Republican candidate for public office and speak only wearing my yarmulke, as a Rabbi who has known Cory for twenty years and has had the blessing throughout that time of an intimate, brotherly friendship.

Many of us back at Oxford thought that Cory might be the first African-American president. Not because of his resume or his ability to connect with people. Not even because of his charisma. Rather, Cory had a gift that I have always envied. He genuinely loves people. He likes being around them. Likes speaking to them. Likes listening to them. He believes he has something to learn from everyone. He sees his role as conferring dignity on those he meets. And that kind of respect for others usually leads to something big.

Today Cory is one of America’s most successful Mayors, having substantially reduced crime, increased investment, and restored promise to New Jersey’s largest city. But I continue to focus simply on the way he treats others.

A few weeks ago he invited me and my kids to the Cirque du Soleil tribute to Michael Jackson in Newark. Sure enough, there was Cory’s mentee, a young Newark child, whom Cory guides and with whom he studies as part of his city-wide mentoring program. And Cory is a busy man. For those who believe he started this only when he entered the national spotlight, I remember him doing the same at Oxford, where he led a mentoring program with several other Oxford students in Blackbird Leys, a housing estate a few miles outside the University.

Now Cory finds himself in a firestorm between right and left. His sin? To have said that negative attack ads from both parties are nauseating. Why was he so honest? Because bringing people together has been what he’s all about from the moment I met him twenty years ago this September. He has always hated division. It has always nauseated him, from the moment I met him. Few people I have met have been more committed to social unity and bringing people together than he. He is – I say this sincerely – a magnanimous soul who finds it easy to praise people and painful to criticize.

And about the political negativity he cites? He’s right. No matter how much we don’t want to hear it. And both parties are indeed guilty, both Republicans and Democrats alike.

Which other African-American Christian Rhodes scholar would have agreed to become President of an orthodox Jewish student organization that was run by a Hassidic Rabbi? And why did Cory do it? Because our organization, though Jewish, had thousands of non-Jewish members from all walks of life. Every Friday night we would gather together. Catholics from Spain. German students from Berlin. Israeli doctoral students from the extreme left. Orthodox American students who were often more conservative. Islamic students from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Gay students. Straight students. Old and young. Liberals and conservatives. And Cory would get up and give inspirational talks, often from the lives of great African-American leaders, that would draw these different strands together. And it was the presence of so many disparate people, who shared a common humanity, that inspired him in turn.

The end of his final exams, the culmination of two years, was a sight to be seen. Who was waiting for Cory outside the University Exam Schools? Well, for most students it would have been similar-aged male and female students, pouring champagne over their heads, in the time-honored Oxford tradition. For Cory it was a group of mature, female students, perhaps in their fifties, that he alone had gone out of his way to befriend at his College, while they were ignored by others.

It’s kind of sad that a political leader as accomplished as Cory, who has been as successful as he at reviving a city, should be hit by the left for criticizing the Obama campaign, and by the right for later defending the campaign. Does politics mean never speaking your mind or living by your values?

Few have done more to support President Obama than Cory. In each of our conversations for the past few years Cory has been the President’s great admirer and stalwart defender. But if he has an issue with him from time to time, no big deal. Being part of a party should not have to mean being a brownnoser. Conversely, the Republicans need not portray Cory as being out of step with his party just because he doesn’t agree with everything they do, and the Republicans should not be putting Cory into the uncomfortable position of appearing to be a serious critic of the President when is a supporter.

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Why Cory Booker’s Message of Social Civility Resonates”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
BDS targets Zabar's; Carole Zabar promotes BDS proponents.
All in the Family: BDS Protests Zabars; Carole Zabar Promotes BDS
Latest Indepth Stories
Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

Yossi Klein HaLevi

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

More Articles from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin, Nov. 20, 2013.

On the one hand, Putin has been a friend to Chabad and to Israel. On the other hand, Putin is a brutal dictator.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the American Jewish public.

Rabbi Schochet wrote the Johannesburg Beis Din: It is totally prohibited and unacceptable to hear someone like Boteach.

If you’re feeling down, stop reading right now. You’re only going to be more depressed.

The world and the United State continue to give Rouhani a pass.

American Jews – especially those working on campus – don’t accept that we have a battle on our hands.

But the most painful part of an otherwise illuminating and extraordinary Forum was Iranian President Rouhani’s speech.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/why-cory-bookers-message-of-social-civility-resonates/2012/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: