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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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DEPT. OF OPEN MINDS

The Sheer, Small-L Liberalism of ‘Rabbis for Romney’

The man behind that organization is not a partisan individual. He's a registered Democrat, who didn't want there to be rabbis united for only one candidate.

Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg

Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg

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Despite recent polls suggesting Jews may not be voting as a monolithic bloc for the Democratic ticket, at least in this presidential race, it still has to be lonely being a rabbi who has publicly committed to supporting Mitt Romney for U.S. president.  And it must be even lonelier for someone who publicly committed to creating an organization called “Rabbis for Romney.”

But when you talk to the man behind that organization, you discover that not only is he not lonely, he is not a particularly partisan individual. In fact, he’s a registered Democrat, whose sole purpose for starting Rabbis for Romney  is that he didn’t want there to be rabbis united for only one candidate, when he knows that there are Jews who also support Romney.

And while, unlike Rabbis for Obama, Rabbis for Romney does not boast hundreds of members, Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg is confident that the hundreds of hours and thousands of emails he has written has had an impact.  He knows there are people who are just a little bit better informed because of the efforts he and his dozens of volunteers have put in.

Rabbi Rosenberg makes it very clear that he is not a conspiracy theorist and he insists that “the president of the United States deserves our respect,” he explained to The Jewish Press.

The basic policy differences that Rosenberg sees between the choices for president this year are: partisanship, the economy, and the threat Iran poses to Israel and to all of western civilization.

On all three, he sees Romney as the one more likely to be a better leader.  He thinks Romney is more likely to be willing to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats than Obama has done and would do in a second term with the Republicans.

Romney is someone, according to Rabbi Rosenberg, who not only has many years of experience in the business world, but he actually understands how business works both on the smallest scale, on up to the largest size corporations.

And finally, for someone born in a Displaced Persons camp whose parents were both survivors of the horrors of the Holocaust, it is Rabbi Rosenberg’s belief that left undeterred, Iran will perpetrate another Holocaust on the world’s Jews, and do its best to destroy western civilization in the process. Rosenberg is convinced that Obama will not do what needs to be done to prevent that catastrophe.

What Rosenberg doesn’t believe is that what people see in the presidential debates matters.  “Both sides lie, these are shows, with the players coached by fantastic people.”  As someone who lost virtually his entire extended family to evil, Rosenberg isn’t easily charmed by such shows.  “Anyone who believes either side is a fool.”

When asked how his congregation feels about his latest project, Rosenberg says he “does not discuss it with them.”  He believes the sanctuary is sacred and should not be used for politics.

But deciding to create a group called Rabbis for Romney is not the only time Rosenberg has put his beliefs into action.  He told The Jewish Press that he has volunteered for every war Israel has been involved in, not in combat units, but as a volunteer, for example, in hospitals.

The reason he wants Jews to be knowledgeable about the choice they will be making in this year’s election, is because, while he does “not think Obama is evil or an enemy of Israel,” he thinks “Obama is the wrong man for this time.”  It may sound nice, says Rosenberg, for Obama to try to make peace with extremist Muslims, “but it cannot be done.”  And, despite his promises, “Obama has failed to turn around the economy.”

When asked his position on Obamacare, and whether it isn’t part of Jewish values to take care of everyone, Rosenberg agrees that “it is a mitzvah to help others,” but helping others does not mean encouraging them not to rely on themselves.  When Rosenberg’s father came to America, he was given $13 from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and that’s it.  There was no food stamps, there was no welfare, his father only spoke Yiddish, but he worked hard and Rabbi Rosenberg, the only child of his parents who survived the Holocaust, proudly reveals that he has two masters degrees and two doctorates, and is the author of several books.

When Rabbis for Obama was launched, a long list of members was released, and the claim was that there were 613 members in the group – a significant number, of course, because it corresponds to the number of mitzvot.  But there was immediate controversy about some of the members, a number of whom are not considered to be rabbis according to halacha, and quite a few of whom had ultra-left-wing views, and had engaged in activity that suggested outright hostility to the Jewish State.

Rosenberg won’t disclose the names of the rabbis who have signed on to Rabbis for Romney, he says “there is just too much hostility directed against them by too many Jews.” He told The Jewish Press that he received an email after announcing Rabbis for Romney, that said that he “should have been cremated with the rest of his relatives.”  Still, he is pleased with the numbers who have signed on and with the support he has received from so many.

Rabbi David Algaze of Havurat Yisrael, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, is the co-chairman of Rabbis for Romney.  Algaze recently said in an interview with The Jewish Star, “We clearly deny the impression created by the Rabbis for Obama that American Jews want ‘daylight’ between America and Israel, as Obama declared, or that the social views espoused by these Rabbis are rooted in our authentic tradition.”

Both Rabbis Algaze and Rosenberg acknowledge that the American Jewish community historically supports the Democratic Party, many fully believing it is one of the 613 mitzvot. “However,” Rabbi Rosenberg has written, “this tie pales in comparison to ties of 5773 years. Mitt Romney’s outspoken support of Israel has left no ambiguity. I believe he is genuine. While you may not agree with Mitt Romney’s positions on various issues that matter to you; in this election his support of Israel trumps everything else. He deserves our support. This is our opportunity to end up on the right side of history. Let’s not miss it.”

Given his personal history, perhaps the single greatest organizing principle of Rabbi Rosenberg’s life has been “never again.” But, he says, “Without Israel, ‘Never Again’ is nothing more than a mere slogan.”

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About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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53 Responses to “The Sheer, Small-L Liberalism of ‘Rabbis for Romney’”

  1. Jews who care about Israel's survival have a choice.

    Vote for Obama and see a nuclear armed Iran nuke Israel.

    or

    Vote for Romney and see him give Iran an ultimatum to give up its nuclear program or be attacked.

    As a liberal California Democrat, I like a lot of both Obama's and Dianne Feinstein's policies.

    But Feinstein has declared against a military option under any circumstance, while.

    Obama has made only ambiguous threats with others in his administration saying no military strike.

    There are many other issues for Americans to consider, But a nuclear armed Iran trumps all of them.

  2. Charlie Hall says:

    Actually, the Obama Administration has repeatedly stated that military action is possible. In fact, it is specifically threatened in the Democratic Party Platform — and not the Republican Party Platform.

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    "there is just too much hostility directed against them by too many Jews".

    And there has been similar vitriol directed towards the rabbis who endorsed President Obama, some of it in the comment fields of this site. No wonder rabbis are cowed into silence on important issues. One can disagree while still accepting that your adversary is a good Jew committed to the welfare of America, Israel, and the Jewish people. While I disagree with Rabbi Rosenberg on this issue, I decry any vitriol that may have been directed towards him.

  4. I can understand that some uninformed, bigoted or one-issue Jewish people back Willard because they perceive him to be more pro-Israel than Barack is, but Willard is so utterly immoral that every religious leader should condemn him, not support him.

  5. Obama has a very sad history relating to support of Israel. He questioned the legitimacy of the settlements, asked Israel to make concessions and asked nothing of the Arabs. He said that solving the Israel/Muslim problem would lead to solving the problems of the Middle East. He also said that the State of Israel was established because of the holocaust. He demanded a settlement freeze and return to the 67 borders, but made no demands of the Arabs. The settlement freeze became a pre-condition for peace. His treatment of Prime Minister Natanyahu was despicable and in contrast, he met with Arab leaders and treated them with respect.

  6. Charlie Hall says:

    Every President since Lyndon Johnson has opposed settlements in the WB and Gaza. It is not true that Obama has asked nothing of the Arabs. It is hard to argue that the guilt feelings from not having done anything to prevent the holocaust did not contribute to the willingness of the world to tolerate a new Jewish state. Obama did not demand a return to the 1967 borders; he simply repeated Bush's policy that they should be the basis for negotiations. Israel's treatment of Vice President Biden was despicable and the snub to Netanyahu was a necesssary payback to save face for the US. (Do you not care about America's honor, too?)

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    I don't think Romney is immoral — just mistaken on domestic policy and mistaken on foreign policy.

    I do think that Ayn Rand's ideology is immoral, and Romney's running mate is follows that ideology, as evidenced by this:

    http://www.atlassociety.org/ele/blog/2012/04/30/paul-ryan-and-ayn-rands-ideas-hot-seat-again

    Rand was an atheist hedonist, with a scandalous personal life, and a avowed enemy of everything religious. If you don't believe me, hear her own words:

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=20361

  8. Lying is immoral. Opposing civil rights is immoral.

  9. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    Let's review your "one issue" concept of the "bigoted" Jews who by your definition have the sheer audacity to oppose a know Jew hater! obama sat in a pew in front of rev wright for 20 yrs as wright spewed forth Jew hating venom and supposedly never heard a word; obama is the major proponent of the muslim brotherhood financing and arming them to the teeth – all following their President being taped repeatedly saying Amen to sermons calling for the extermination of Jews; your obama KNEW the benghazi massacre was underway and was watching it in REAL TIME and ordered US military to stand down blaming some supposed "Israeli and his 100 Jew financiers; obama REFUSES to speak out against the jihadi onslaught against women (latest of which is his silence over the 14 year old shot in the head in Pakistan; women that work for him get paid on average 18% less then men. His allowing the black panthers to threaten voters; his arming narco-terrorists – weapons that now have massacred over 400 Mexican civilians and at least 6 YS LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS; obama has now STARTED NEW wars in Libya, Yemen, Mexico, Pakistan, The CAR, Mali, Somalia, and has put US boot on the ground in Jordan to start a war in Syria and potentially take his adviser Powers' advice to attack Israel

    And there is so much more!

    One issue?

    Let's get real Michael: your opening comment alleging that disagreeing with obama is an act of bigotry says volumes for the type of lemming you really are. Why didn't you just quote chris matthews who alleges disagreeing with obama is unconstitutional? All that put together – you should adhere to your admonition about lying – given obama's whole career and presidency is based on lies.

  10. Another great difference between the two major parties is their position on parental choice in education – Republicans support it, while Democrats are opposed.

  11. I wish to know If president Obama is for the United States or for Iran.We did not want to get into a war with Germany.just like with Iran Millions of peaple died for thet mitake.President Obama Who is bossing the situation with Iran russia Syria Iraq and the rest of the middle east country.You should cry in shame for allowing what happend to this country because of your so called leadership.

  12. Rc Fowler says:

    Obama's so called but not threats are all talk–he would not strike Iran!

  13. Rc Fowler says:

    Its obvious Charlie Hall–is either a useful idiot and or a Marxist democrat–its obvious he is supporting the Marxist anti-Semite Barack Obama!

  14. Rc Fowler says:

    What we see here is another useful idiot and or Marxist democrat drone!

    He calls Mitt Romney "utterly" immoral–when it is Barack Obama who is Utterly immoral–it was Barack Obama who repeatedly voted as a senator to murder unborn children–even those who had been born!

    Barack Obama also voted to deny Americans their civil right to defend themselves against violent criminals.

    And Barack Obama and the Marxist democrat party–are not good on civil rights–they repeatedly trample the civil rights of Americans every day and have for decades.

  15. Rc Fowler says:

    Yes–this is a very important issue–Americans must have the choice of where and how they want to educated their children–including homeschooling!

  16. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    @RC: You left out the usual demoslamist canard that voting against obama is an act of "bigotry." Did I get that right Mikey?

  17. Edward Lobel says:

    Jean Pierre Katz, let's make one thing absolutely clear, your choices as to what will happen is striclty your opinion and not a fact!

    The fact of the matter is that willard has no plans to attack Iran. He wants to continue the blockcade. On the other hand, President Obama has made it clear that he would attack if and when necessary.

    You are foolish to think willard is so string and powerful when he is really a chicken hawk. He is willing to send you and your son to fight, but would NEVER himself fight or send his sons to fight!

    President Obama has demonstrated over and over agin he will iuse force if and when necessary. willard has no such plan and will not attack especially if his millitary advisors say not and as of now the joint chiefs are not calling for a war with Iran.

  18. Edward Lobel says:

    Rc Fowler ou are completely wrong! President Obama has demonstrated over and over again he will use force when necessary!

    On the other hand, willard is full of bluster! He talks a good game but has never sent anyone to fight anything. He is a chicken hawk
    who is willing for you and you son to go fught, but would never himself fight or send his sons to fight, that's you job!

  19. Edward Lobel says:

    Francine Lashinsky – Are you aware that willard has NEVER helped Israel in any way manner shape or form and currently has the same Israel policy as President Obama!

    As a matter of fact, the only thing willard has ever done for any Jew was to baptize dead Jews into the Mormon faith! Wonder if he baptized any of your relatives and perhaps you are no longer Jewish!

  20. Rc Fowler says:

    Yes–very true!

  21. Edward Lobel says:

    Rc Fowler It is clear you have no understanding of what a Marxist is!

    If you want to classify President Obama a Marxist then you must classify willard as a fascist! You do know that it was the fascists who tried to gas all the Jews.

    You do know willard has NEVER done a damned thing for any Jew except to baptized dead Jews into the Mormon religion! Maybe he baptized some of your dead relatives!

    Rc Fowler, it is idiot people like you who cause anti-semitism and we need you to stop!

  22. Edward Lobel says:

    Hi Charlie Hall, In this case I have to agree with Michael N. Marcus, willard is indeed immoral. He has lots of credits to his negative side which shows how immoral he is.

    Forget the fact that when he was on his mission in France and caused an automobile accident which killed a passenger in his car, he spent lots of time in France, baptizing dead Jews into the Mormon faith. He still believes that is the right thing to do and does not regret what he did!

    He continues to lie and misreprent what he has accomplished and how bad he will be for America and especially Jews if he is elected!

  23. Edward Lobel says:

    Israel Teitelbaim you comment is totally NOT TRUE!
    What repubs are in support of is having the public pay for private schools including Yashivias and Catholic schools (but of course not private Muslim schools!) Democrats are opposed to using public money to send kids to private schools!

    Lets be honest about this!

  24. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    @Edward: How about a response to Mikey's comments that Jews are "bigoted" and voting against obama is "bigoted." That reflects NBC's comments by chris matthews who claimed criticizing obama is "unconstitutional."

    You mention the car crash: You may want to check your FACTS before demonizing (although demoslamist lies and demonizing is quite the norm!). Romney did not cause the crash – a DRUNK CATHOLIC PRIEST did and killed a Mormon missionary! So, as your buddy Mikey state, lying is immoral – and you are purposely lying!!

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-23/romney-in-car-crash-led-mormons-from-tragedy-in-france.html

    As for the baptisms, he did NOT engage in the Baptisms and I defy you to prove he did – and please don't post your usual sources from realjewnews.com

    As for knowing who will do what to Jews, obama and hillary have offered significant indication: their overt Antisemitism; their slavish devotion to the muslim brotherhood; obama alleging he sat in the front pew of wright for 20 years and never heard him utter an Antisemitic comment; his beholden to his paymaster soros, an admitted nazi who called his days helping the nazis the "happiest days of [his] life." I can continue if you wish. And I checked your FB page: The repeated obfuscations speak volumes. And anyone that admires a misogynist and Jew hater like Maher has issues themselves. But you have sufficiently proven yourself to be either ignorant or an outright liar. Either of which will require you to again review mikey's admonition about immorality.

  25. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    Edward knows nothing of FACTS! You are right about one thing – obaa will use force when it suite the benefits of jihadists. To date he has begun 10 NEW wars on Chinese credit cards as he likes to put it: The CAR, Somalia, Libya, Troops in Jordan to prep attacks against Syria and Israel, Yemen, Pakistan, Mexico, Honduras, and helping the ottoman genocide against the Kurds. obama's military chief of staff has referred to Israel's daring to defend itself as criminal while obama's senior security adviser (and soros employee) has called for a "US led NATO invasion of Israel to return the land to the indigenous people and send the Jews back to Europe." FACT is obama is an existential threat not to Israel but to Jews. But then, Edward knows and appreciates that

  26. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    OH – and did I leave out that edward agrees with the comment that "only bigoted and ignorant Jews" would vote against obama – as you indicated in your defense of your fellow obfuscator mikey

  27. Edward Lobel says:

    Arie – g-d has told me when he sees you soon he will a few things to say to you about hating and being not nice!

  28. Edward Lobel says:

    arie – now you know why g-d will be seeing you soon and will not be happy with you!

  29. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    G-d speaks to you Eddie? Perhaps time to ease off the meds! BTW – I notice no response to the exposure of your lie about Romney pulling a Kennedy. Wonder why that is?

  30. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    eddie still talking to G-d? Take note eddie……obama is NOT G-d! Perhaps in the jihadi world…but not in anyone's reality. Ease off the meds before even an intervention couldn't help.

    But I notice you…like any good demoslamist, resorts to personal attacks once you've been exposed for what you really are

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