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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘candidate’

Trump ‘Soon to Pick’ Pence to Run as VP on GOP Ticket

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has chosen Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate — but Trump has deferred making the official announcement, planned for a Friday news conference — “out of respect for this horrible, horrible attack that happened in Nice…. It would be totally inappropriate to have a new conference on this in light of the terror attack in France.”

Trump condemned the attack with a statement approximately eight minutes after news of the attack broke on worldwide news networks.

Instead he said he would reschedule the official announcement, he told commentator Billy O’Reilly on the “Spin Zone” program on Fox News on Thursday evening.

Pence, 57, is a “born-again” Conservative Christian who signed into law a ban on abortions when the fetus has a disability, a major Republican move — but he grew up as a Democrat and to this day loves the late “Camelot” U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

He is known as a strong supporter of the State of Israel, which he says is a result of his Christian faith. This year he signed a bill divesting Indiana from local businesses that participate in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Pence met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders during a trade mission to the Jewish State in 2014.

The first-term governor spent 12 years (six terms) as a member of Congress and earlier in the campaign was a supporter of Texas Congressman Ted Cruz.

House Speaker Paul Ryan refers to him as a “personal friend.”

During his time in Washington DC, Pence served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and also on one dealing with technology. In 2008 he was elected chairman of the Republican Conference, the Number 3 spot in the party.

Pence has long experience in foreign affairs and has been a major critic of the JCPOA nuclear deal signed last year with Iran by the five world powers led by the United States, saying it was a threat to Israel.

Pence has also maintained a vigorous relationship with the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby organization. During his tenure as a member of Congress pushed for military defense aid for Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

“Go For Your Dreams And Don’t Compromise Your Religious Standards”: Rachel Freier Is Not Your Typical Civil Court Candidate

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

It was the week of erev Shavuos and Rachel “Ruchie” Freier was getting ready for the holiday just as any typical chassidic homemaker would. Over our conversation on the phone, she told me how she was busy preparing to bake challah, kugel, and other sumptuous delicacies for Yom Tov. Her children and grandchildren living nearby her home in Brooklyn were expected to be there for the seudos.

All this seems typical, but Ruchie Freier is not your typical Borough Park balabusta. The married mother of six is a real estate attorney, a community activist, and a current candidate for civil court judge in Brooklyn’s fifth judicial district, which includes Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Ocean Parkway and 21 other Brooklyn neighborhoods. If elected, Freier will likely be the first chassidic female judge in New York, perhaps in the United States.

“My mother always said that as long as it’s legal, moral and not against the Torah, just do it and do it the best way you can,” Freier said. “I grew up believing that I would do whatever I am allowed to do and succeed with Hashem’s help.”

The other contenders for the post include Mordy Avigdor, a former counsel to Agudath Israel of America who also has worked with former Congressman Anthony Weiner and current Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and Jill Epstein, who currently serves as principal law clerk to Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes. The election will take place in the September 13 primary.

At her law offices in Brooklyn and Monroe, Freier specializes in transactions, financing properties, and residential and commercial properties. She is licensed in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, and has experience in both the private and pro bono sectors.

“My knowledge and experience is broad-ranging,” she said. “I have years of experience in contracts and closings, transactional law, litigation, corporate law, trust and estates, family law and personal injury.”

Freier’s experience in the legal field started with modest beginnings. Born and bred in Brooklyn, Freier began her career as a legal secretary after graduating from the Bais Yaakov of Borough Park. She then started working as a legal secretary, advanced to become a paralegal, and eventually continued on to college and law school, all while raising her growing family.

Freier explained, “Attending college after high school was not the norm and at the time there were no separate women’s college programs in Brooklyn. Because graduates didn’t go to college, our high school trained us in legal stenography. I worked in the legal field for a number of years and loved it! After my husband finished his studies at kollel and received his BA from Touro, I realized it was now my turn. I began Touro College at age 30 and graduated six years later, majoring in political science and directing the Women’s Pre-Law Society. Afterward I attended Brooklyn Law School.”

It was at law school when Freier became intrigued with the idea of becoming a judge. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to become a lawyer,” she explained. “Then as I was studying law, the idea of becoming a judge began to percolate…. My interest in becoming a judge was a natural progression.”

The seeds began when she studied Constitutional Law. She remarked, “In law school I really appreciated the opportunity to learn Constitutional Law under William Hellerstein; he made the law come alive through his enthusiastic teaching style. And as a Jew, I believe that we have a mission to carry out justice in the world.”

Among her role models are her uncle Judge David Schmidt (now retired), as well as Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Noach Dear. “Without my uncle’s encouragement and the encouragement I received from my husband and family, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have already,” she said.

Atara Arbesfeld

Hillary Clinton Makes History as First Major Party Woman Nominee, But Bernie Sanders Refuses to Quit Race

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday night, making American history as the first woman to lead the ticket of a major political party in a national race.

Clinton’s rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is however nowhere near to capitulating, even though he finally lost the California primary after what was, admittedly a very tough fight.

Speaking to supporters in Santa Monica towards the end of the evening while still waiting for final primary results Sanders said in a cracked voice from the podium: “The struggle continues. Next Tuesday we continue the fight in the last primary in Washington DC!” (He is under pressure from the Democratic Party leadership to ‘let go, already,’ so they can pull together the delegates for the fight against Donald Trump.)

In response to his fiery passion, the packed house roared, shaking and waving blue-and-white signs that read, “A Future to Believe In.”

“We are going …we are going …we are going to fight hard …,” Sanders went on, his weakening voice making it clear that his campaign has already been anything but easy.

“We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington DC…” he said stubbornly, his voice hoarse from shouting, “and then we take our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

But even Sanders knows the fight is almost over. His campaign managers and strategists have been discussing this issue for weeks. And he didn’t survive the U.S. Senate with a halo of white locks by ignoring reality, either. He told his supporters he had called Clinton to congratulate her on her victories. Although he won the primaries in Montana and North Dakota, the California loss made it clear that time is running out.

“I am … I am pretty good in arithmetic and I know that the fight in front of us is a very, very steep fight,” he added, “but we will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get,” he told supporters. Sanders is scheduled to return home to Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday before he heads to Washington DC on Thursday.

Both he and Hillary Clinton received calls from President Barack Obama, with congratulations to the two of them on their campaigns.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was rarin’ to go as she addressed her backers in Brooklyn, New York.

She clearly had much preparation ranging from a raft of speech writers, handlers, beauticians, hair and fashion stylists, makeup artists, media coach and PR advisers.

All had coalesced for this moment.

“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone,” Clinton began in warm, measured tones.

(Applause)

“The first time … the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee,” she said, nodding her head, eyes shining with just a slight glimmer of tears, hair carefully, conservatively coifed for the occasion.

Presidentially. Wisely, she wore understated makeup – for once, even her lipstick wasn’t loud.

“Tonight’s … (here she hesitated to give the audience more time to applaud longer – and they obliged, of course) tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.

“In our country (ed.- an unstated reference to the fact that in many other countries there have already been female heads of state; for Jews in the audience it undoubtedly called up the image of Israel’s late Prime Minister Golda Meir) it started right here in New York, in a place called Seneca Falls, in 1824 when a small but determined group of women and men came together with the idea that women deserve equal rights and they set it forth in something called the Declaration of Sentiments – and it was the first time in human history that that kind of declaration occurred.

“So we all owe so much to those who came before. And tonight belongs to all of you,” she smiled.

Then she raised her voice, calling for unity within the party – and yes, from Bernie Sanders too, aiming straight for the jugular.

“I want to congratulate Senator Sanders for the extraordinary campaign that he ran,” she said.

Her next compliment was a direct shot designed to remind voters that he is probably too old to have really been considered a serious contender for a presidential run. It was also a quick slap at his largest support base, discrediting the youth of America with an emphasis on their lack of experience. But with all of that, she tried to heal the breach as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Candidate Kasich Uses Matzah Factory Visit to Sermonize on ‘Blood of the Lamb’ [video]

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Republican presidential hopeful and Ohio Governor John Kasich visited Haredi Brooklyn on Tuesday, including stops at a Jewish bookstore, a school and a shmura matzah bakery. There, at the matzah bakery, where 18 minute discs of unleavened dough are hand-made with the proper spiritual intent by kosher Jews, for the crowd that wouldn’t touch a machine-made matzah on Passover, there is where cultures and religions clashed.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community – the Passover,” Kasich told reporters after his tour of the matzah bakery, holding a box of precious, fresh “shmura matzah” in his hands. Then he proceeded, quite naturally, into a mini sermon about the connection between the Passover blood and the blood of you-know-who.

“The great link between the blood that was put above the lampposts (he meant the doorposts, or mezuzahs to you and me) — the blood of the lamb, because Jesus Christ is known as the lamb of God. It’s his blood, we believe …”

That was it. At least that’s all that the YouTube clip allows us to see of the Kasich visit’s Christian sermon part.

Publicist Ezra Friedlander tried to soften the blow for the press, as JTA’s Uriel Heilman, who was quite stunned by the blood of the lamb thing, described it.

“He’s very knowledgeable and he takes his religion very seriously,” Friedlander told Heilman. “In context, I thought it was appropriate.”

According to Heilman, Kasich also emphasized his points by shaking the box of shmura matzah, turning it into “shvura (broken) matza.” Considering how much these things cost on the week before the seder, he probably didn’t understand why folks were ogling him like he was using a Fabergé egg to hammer in a couple of nails.

At the bookstore, according to Heilman, Kasich told a group of young religious men, “You know who I like? Joseph. You guys like Joseph? You study Joseph? What do you think about Joseph? Did you hear the most important thing Joseph said to his brothers?” And the governor provided the answer, saying Joseph told his brothers, “My brothers, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

In other words, Kasich, a Roman Catholic turned Anglican, was actually implying for the benefit of his potential Jewish voters, that even though you people crucified you- know-who, it’s all good in the end.

A very knowledgeable man.

David Israel

‘5 Shades of Israel’ Debate the Issues for Anglo Votes in Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The top five political parties in Israel vied for the English-speaking vote in Jerusalem on Wednesday in a far more polite debate held at Cinema City in Jerusalem than is usually seen in Hebrew-speaking forums, in keeping with the cultural tenor of the audience.

JewishPress.com editor-in-chief Stephen Leavitt noted at the start of the event that Israel is home to nearly half a million “native English speakers” who have immigrated from countries as diverse at Australia, South Africa, the UK, Canada, the U.S. and other areas where the English language is spoken.

Representatives of the Likud, Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor-Tnua merger parties addressed the anglo voters on a set of five core issues. Among those that has been raising blood pressure in Israel and abroad is the Iranian nuclear threat and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned trip next week to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.

Yisrael Beytenu representative Ashley Perry led off the responses by asking, “How can we take on Iran if we cannot successfully take on Hamas and Hezbollah? We can achieve a draw at best,” he said, pointing to the results of the recent operations carried out against terror groups in Gaza and Lebanon.

“We have to first deal with the more imminent threat on our borders,” Perry said. “We have to take the gloves off. We need to return deterrence. The next time a single rocket comes over, we need to respond with such impact that … quiet returns for generations.”

Yesh Atid representative and MK Rabbi Dov Lipman commented, “There are times when leaders speak with bravado, but create tremendous damage to Israel along the way… I see it when I travel abroad. There is a way to go about such things.” Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, Lipman contended, is “doing tremendous damage.” He insisted the Congress could have — and would have — come up with a two-thirds vote to “override” any deal with Iran that President Barack Obama would have brought before the Congress for approval. Now, he said, “Congress cannot do anything about it.”

Hillik Bar, representing the Herzog-Hatnua parties, said he believes in “smart diplomacy” and that in essence, he agreed with Lipman. “But this time I agree with Netanyahu in that we in Israel do not believe the Iranians when they say they are using their nuclear power for peace. We know better.” The difference, Bar said, was that his party differs with Likud on how to differentiate between “those Arabs who want to live with us and those who don’t — those who want to live here INSTEAD of us. With those, we should speak with them in the language of the IDF; on this we agree with Netanyahu,” he said.

Likud representative and former MK, Professor Benny Begin’s oratorial skills prompted even the moderator to lose track of his own timekeeping — for which he later apologized to the audience.

“What a miracle,” he began quietly. “I should remind you that in the last decade and up to about two years ago, everyone agreed that Prime Minister Netanyahu was exaggerating about the Iranian threat in order to keep the debate about “internal” issues. The P5+1 was claiming there was “no weapons program” there in Iran… everyone was insisting that Netanyahu was making it up.

“There was only one person who carried that banner and he carried it high. It speaks about the far-sighted ability of Netanyahu, and his courage to carry it in the face of major opposition from everyone… These guys are a menace not only to Israel but to the whole world.

Hana Levi Julian

Abusing Clout

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

There is an article in the  New York Times that discusses the clout Chasidim in America have achieved. And it does not paint a flattering picture. Some might say that this is just typical New York Times bashing of religious Jews. But I’m not so sure it is. Let us examine the issue.

Chasidim do have clout. There is no question about it. How did they get so much clout? Prior to the Holocaust, Chasidim in America barely existed as an identifiable entity.  But they grew exponentially into huge numbers since the Holocaust. Chasidim tend to get married early (in some cases both bride and groom are in their teens) and have many children. A family of ten or more children is not uncommon. As a result, now over sixty years later they are a force to be reckoned with.

Although I have argued that – despite their rate of growth –  their current numbers do not necessarily predict their future dominance as a culture in Judaism… their numbers are very definitely huge as is their current influence in government. This is mostly seen in the power of their vote. If their rabbinic leadership tells them to vote for a certain candidate, they tend to do so in large numbers without question and without needing to know what that candidate stands for. This gives Chasidim as a group out-sized political power!

This power does not go to waste. This community uses it to their full advantage. When they make a request to a government official, he pays attention. And often sees to it that the request is granted.

I have no problem with using one’s clout to get things done for your community. There is nothing wrong with petitioning your government for your cause. It is no different than any group lobbying for their particular agenda. In that sense Chasidim are no different than – say – the gun lobby. It is the right of every American citizen – no less Chasidic citizens – to petition their government.

The question arises when petitioning for rights becomes pressuring for rights.  Requests then turn into demands with unspoken threats of political defeat in the next election if those demands aren’t met. Although it may be legal to do that – it can easily be interpreted as a form of political extortion to get what they want  – sometimes at the expense of others.That can only result in resentment at best… and at worst create (or expose latent) anti-Semitism.

First let me say that I view it unethical to vote for a candidate without knowing what he stands for just because you were told to do so by a rabbinic leader. I understand why they do this. It is obvious. It gives them an extraordinary amount of power over elected officials.  But one ought to vote for a candidate because of believing what he stands for – not because it will give your group collective power over him.

This is not good citizenship. And it makes religious looking Jews look bad. How does this affect the image of religious Jews in the world? Does this result in a positive image of Chasidim – or a negative one? What about the rest of Orthodox Jewry? Will we all be judged the way?

And how necessary are those demands? Are they Halachic or cultural? Let us look at some examples (described in the Times article) of achievements their clout has brought them.

How important is it for Chasidic women  to demand a female lifeguard at their beaches that are apparently sex segregated? Although I understand their request – it is a not a Halachic requirement to have a female lifeguard.  Is it worth exercising the community’s clout to get one?

I also do not understand why they insist on well water for their Pesach Matzos. They apparently object to chlorination. What does chlorine have to do with Chametz? It is not a leavening agent. It is a poison which if used in small quantities kills bacteria and has no harmful effects on human beings.

Separate – sex segregated public buses are now the norm in their neighborhood. Men in the front and women in the back. That is no doubt illegal. But since they do it voluntarily, no one bothers them. Is that so necessary? I know Chasidim consider separate seating on a bus to be more modest. But is violating the law the right thing to do if it isn’t a Halachic necessity – even if no one bothers them about it?

Harry Maryles

Rivlin: Knesset Must Regulate Politicians’ Ability to Switch Parties

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin (Likud) criticized the practice of switching between parties by various Members of Knesset and Knesset candidates , calling on the next Knesset to regulate such behavior, Israel’s Channel 10 website reported.

“We need to ask ourselves what is transpiring in our political culture,” Rivlin said. “To my regret, what was in the past an exception, has in recent days become routine and accepted behavior.”

“The next Knesset must answer to the constitutional and democratic question: can a candidate that competed in the primaries of one party join soon after in another party?”

The latest candidate to switch parties was former Labor Chairman Amir Peretz who just resigned from Labor and will be joining Tzipi Livni’s party, “The Movement,” as the second candidate on that party’s list after Livni herself.

Peretz claims that one of the reasons for his leaving the Labor party was that its new chairman, Shelly Yachamovitch has not publicly ruled out the possibility of joining a government with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Many members of Kadima have either resigned or have also left their party for Livni’s new party in recent days.

In the Israeli political system, to be elected to the Knesset a candidate must win a secure spot in a party slate or start a new party himself.  Running with a party on a spot below the number of seats polls show that party will receive is political suicide.

Many polls show that Kadima will not pass the voting threshold and will not have any seats in the next Knesset.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rivlin-knesset-must-regulate-politicians-ability-to-switch-parties/2012/12/06/

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