Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
At first glance, it’s not surprising that I voted for Barack Obama for president this election. I’m a New Yorker and a Jew, and so any pollster would have predicted my choice.
Among my Orthodox Jewish peers, however, I am definitely an outlier.
Over the past few months – indeed for more than a year – I heard comments and fears raised about Obama. With only a few exceptions I kept my mouth shut – both because I believed that hardline McCain supporters (as most of family and friends seemed to be) would not be swayed by my arguments and because someone who believes rumors, lies and hearsay is not worth a rejoinder.
But now that Obama is our president-elect, it’s a good time to say that I believe he needs our support and that I hope other Orthodox Jews will join me and rally behind our new president.
First, the obvious: Obama is not a terrorist, nor is he a Muslim. His middle name and never-ending e-mails notwithstanding, he is a Christian. I believe Obama will be a friend to Israel. In fact, I believe that Obama will be a better president for Israel than John McCain would have been.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In order to be a close and valuable ally to Israel, America must be both powerful and influential. The amount of respect this country has lost under President Bush is overwhelming. While the United States does not and should not be concerned with winning a popularity contest, financial and military help is increasingly necessary to carry out our two wars, especially given the worsening economic climate. We are more likely to obtain such support and help with a president whose appeal is international.
Obama’s substantial win has excited the world in every place from Africa (the continent) to Europe to South America. People everywhere have been reminded about the splendor of our system, our democracy.
McCain, justifiably or not, was seen as an extension of the hugely unpopular President Bush. Under a President McCain, our prestige and influence would have continued to shrink. A President McCain who supports Israel would, therefore, not have been nearly as valuable as a President Obama who supports Israel.
Obama sent a strong signal that he is, in fact, an Israel supporter when, the day after the election, he appointed Illinois Representative Rahm Israel Emanuel as his White House chief of staff.
Emanuel is the son of an Israeli immigrant who fought in the Irgun before Israeli statehood, and Emanuel himself went to Israel as a civilian volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces during the first Gulf War. He served in the Clinton administration and supported the current war in Iraq, breaking with the nine other Democrats in the Illinois congressional delegation.
That appointment alone should be enough to alleviate fears that an Obama presidency will somehow be bad for Israel and Jews.
Obama’s foreign policy positions, especially in the Middle East, are rooted in reality and run deeper than the tough talk employed by McCain and Bush.
It’s all well and good, after all, to say you don’t negotiate with terrorists, and while terrorists certainly shouldn’t be engaged as equal partners at the world table, five former secretaries of state – Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker and Henry Kissinger (two Democrats and three Republicans) – support opening talks with Iran.
I believe Obama’s position is more rooted in reality because he has a firmer grasp of foreign affairs than McCain. Yes, McCain is a war hero and deserves to be treated as such, but he has shown time after time that he does not have a firm grasp of foreign affairs.
In a famous blunder, he accused Iran of supplying al Qaeda in Iraq. Iran is largely Shi’ite country and al Qaeda is Sunni. The Sunni-Shia balance in the Middle East is so important, both to the war in Iraq and U.S. policy in Iran, that this type of mistake raised questions about McCain’s readiness to be commander-in-chief.
And it was not simply an isolated slip; when asked to elaborate, McCain actually repeated his mistake and Sen. Joseph Lieberman had to whisper a correction to him.
About the Author: Shoshana Batya Greenwald recently received a master's degree in decorative arts, material culture and design history from Bard Graduate Center. She is the collections manager at Kleinman Family Holocaust Educational Center (KFHEC) and a freelance writer.
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President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
As shocking and insulting and horrifying as it is, Nazi war criminals are still living freely among us.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
Ramaz is a venerable Modern Orthodox educational institution whose mission statement contains the explicit commitment to “Ahavat Yisrael, and love and support for the State of Israel.”
In the course of the ages there wasn’t a Jewish community more convinced of its capacity for survival than the Jewish community of Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Liberals got an Affirmative Action president who doesn’t have the wisdom or the authority to change the battle plan.
The world excuses Islamic murder, but focuses on flaws, often imaginary, on the part of Israel.
Abbas also sent wreath to honor suicide bomber who killed 8.
It has been a very challenging year that has taken a toll on the Cohen family.
People often ask me why do we need another Holocaust center? The story of Isaac Avigdor is the answer.
As professions go, an international children’s rights advocate is probably not listed anywhere as a low stress job. Fighting on behalf of children in places as far off as Sudan, Yvette Garfield took their plight to heart and came up with – a cookbook. Handstand Kids, Garfield’s company, was established in 2007 to connect children in a global community. In her words, “I had done a lot of traveling and wanted to introduce kids to the world and food seemed the best way to do it.”
On my third visit to the annual New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show, I did not take any pictures.
Work-life balance has been in the media a lot lately. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who served as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, wrote a groundbreaking article in The Atlantic entitled “Women Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter writes about her struggle with balance—parenting and working, and the importance of being present, as well as the importance of absolute boundaries between work and parenting. As evidence—both of the compartmentalizing men are capable of and as an example of the type of behavior women should engage in more, Slaughter writes about Orthodox men she has worked with: “Come Friday at sundown, they were unavailable because of the Jewish Shabbat.”
Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.
It’s time for the next chapter in the re-education of kosher cooks. First came correctly pronouncing quinoa, incorporating edamame into salads and soups, and who can forget the strawberry mango salad? Now, there is a mass of new recipes available with the introduction of Kolatin, a parve bovine-based, kosher gelatin. Espresso panna cotta, here we come.
Memo to the New York Public Library: I’m sorry that I still haven’t returned several books by Livia Bitton-Jackson. They are a series of vibrant, touching memoirs of a young girl navigating her way through the world, both literally and on an emotional plane; the stories of a Holocaust survivor with wanderlust in a world that doesn’t want to hear it are not easy to part with.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-i-voted-for-obama-and-why-im-not-worried-about-the-next-four-years/2008/11/19/
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