Volume 33 Number 21
                 Produced: Thu Aug 24 10:59:05 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Politics and Mail-Jewish
         [Oren Popper]
VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman (7)
         [Michael Feldstein, Deborah Wenger, Eli Linas, Janice Gelb,
Elanit Z. Rothschild, Shoshana L. Boublil, Mordechai]


From: Oren Popper <opopper@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 18:13:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Politics and Mail-Jewish

Please keep politics off this list. The original question re Joe
Liberman was legitimate, but led to political answers. I think this is
inappropriate for this list.


[I agree that we need to keep off the list discussions of whether you
agree with political positions of Senator Leiberman or not, and I think
that the question of whether Senator Leiberman's political positions are
"good for the Jews" or not are also not appropriate for the list. The
question of a religious Jew in a position of high visibility, e.g. VP of
the US and it's implications are topics I view as appropriate for the
list. Mod.]


From: Michael Feldstein <MIKE38CT@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:03:47 EDT
Subject: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman

<< Lieberman distinguished himself as the only senator to publicly
 criticize Clinton on the floor of the Senate for l'affaire
 Lewinsky. When it came to tachlis, however, Lieberman "choked," to use
 the sports metaphor, and voted against conviction in the impeachment
 trial. >>

In fairness to Lieberman, let's distinguish between his personal moral
obligation or need to speak out against Clinton's actions in the
Lewinsky scandal, and the legal decision to impeach or not impeach a
President.  I don't see one action conflicting with the other.

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT  

From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:51:54 -0400
Subject: Re: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman

I'm sure this will be a long debate - possibly lasting at least through
November - so I don't wish to prolong the "agony." :-)

However, I just wanted to make one small point from a sermon that was
given last Shabbat:

During the 20th century - and probably before that - the "prevailing
sentiment" among many Jews immigrating to the US was that the only way
to "make it" in this country was to assimilate as quickly and thoroughly
as possible - including changing names, giving up all religious
observance (at least outwardly), etc.  At the very least,
Sen. Lieberman's becoming the VP candidate disproves this theory to the

Kol tuv,

From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 15:27:27 +0300
Subject: Re: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman

Regarding Senator Lieberman's candidacy, I am concerned about a few
issues, including his political views and extremely recent changes
therein, and antisemetism. Here, I'd like to address the latter. While I
have heard others express similar concerns, I haven't heard anyone give
a Torah "take" on it. Namely, we know it is axiomatic that Eisav hates
Yaakov. Now, it's true that sometimes this hate is very low key, and,
according to one opinion in Chazzal, can be temporarily suspended. But
in general, it is always there, and doesn't need much impetus to
erupt. The Gemara says that if they tell you Rome is extant and Israel
is extant, don't believe them.  Only one can rule at a time. Now
consider: I believe it is commonly accepted that Western culture, as
epitomized by the U.S., is the manifestation of Eisav in the world
today. The U.S. is Eisav's showcase country, where technology rules,
there is prosperity for (almost) everyone, and if nothing else (but
sometimes more), lip service is paid to ideals such as altruism, helping
others, etc. In short, the U.S. represents Eisav's best shot to show how
good he can be. Now, I can't imagine that (Sar shel) Eisav is too
pleased to have a Jew appearing in the upper eschelons of power and
authority in his territory. Eisav's on top now, and I don't think
there's much room for Jews in his circles. It doesn't seem too far out
to me that there might be horrendous consequences (and I for one don't
believe the idea that "it couldn't happen in America" - despite being a
melting pot, or multi-cultered, the Jews are still different).  Chazzal
tell us that we should be low key in galus. Mashiach hasn't come yet,
and we still need to tread very carefully.  

Eli Linas

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 11:42:10 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman

In Vol. 33 #16, Robert Sherer <ERSherer@...> wrote:
> Lieberman distinguished himself as the only senator to 
> publicly criticize Clinton on the floor of the Senate 
> for l'affaire Lewinsky. When it came to tachlis, however,
> Lieberman "choked," to use the sports metaphor, and 
> voted against conviction in the impeachment trial. 

The two items are not the same. Saying that Clinton acted immorally and
improperly but that those actions did not rise to the level of an
impeachable offense is not contradictory.

> He has also advised Clinton against a pardon, or 
> at least a commutation, for Jonathan Pollard, and, more
> recently, has spoken out against moving the US embassy 
> in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We really don't 
> need any more Jews in government to supply the goyim a 
> justification for doing things to Israel. Clinton had 
> more Jews like that on his payroll than any prior president.

First of all, not all Jews agree that Pollard should be pardoned. And I
would want to learn more about the stage of the peace talks at which
Lieberman recommended not moving the embassy before I could comment on

One of the more interesting commentaries I heard on the Lieberman
situation is that Jewish lobbyists would have an even harder time
lobbying him because they couldn't use the argument "The Jews won't be
happy about this" :->

-- Janice

From: Elanit Z. Rothschild <Ezr0th@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 17:34:30 EDT
Subject: Re: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman

Without wanting to turn this into a political debate, I would just like
to point out one thing.  When Lieberman voted against impeachment, he
voted as a lawyer, not a Jew or a Democrat.  What many people forget is
what is written in the Constitution regarding impeachment-- Article II,
Section 4, Clause 1 states, "...shall be removed from Office on
Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high
Crimes and Misdemeanors."  Although what President Clinton did was
abhorant, Lieberman obviously believed that it did not constitute
treason, bribery or a high crime or misdemenanor.  And Lieberman proved
that by speaking out against him but voting against impeachment.

And, the fact that Senator Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew does not make it
mandatory for him to believe that Jonathan Pollard deserves a pardon, or
that the political situation in the Middle East is ready for the United
States to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Being a religious politician in America is a very tricky thing.  On the
one hand, one has a strong conviction towards his/her religious beliefs,
but on the other hand, one is also a servant to the state-- a state
whose citizens are not of the same religion and who believe many
different things.  One thing that may be "good" for the Jews (or a
specific Jew) might not be good for the state itself.

I am personally proud that Joseph Lieberman was chosen as the vice
presidential nominee for the Democratic party, but not specifically
because he is a Jew.  The country has done just fine without a Jew in
the highest office.  The reason I am proud is because it seems that he
is one of the rare politicians who think and vote with their head, not
their heart.

Elanit Z. Rothschild

From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 18:57:04 +0300
Subject: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman

Sorry to rain on most everyone's parade -- but Lieberman isn't the first
jew to be up for nomination as VP.

Joseph was there first (Mishne LaMelech).  Anyone remember the Golden
Menorah: A Golden Treasury of Jewish Tales?  Well it has at least one,
and I think two stories of Jewish "princes", Jews who were senior
government members.  Remember Spain?  There were a few generations of
Jewish government members there as well.

Why do I start as I did above?

B/c Josephs seems to be the basic storyline for this position:

First very successful VP.
This is followed by a Golden age for the jews.
Then "Vayakam Melech Asher Lo Yada Et Yoseph" (and a king came who
didn't know Joseph) -- either literally or figuratively -- and the
jews become slaves.
In Spain the jews were expelled.  The story repeats throughout Jewish

I would highly recommend that any American Jew who can afford to delay
his arrival in Israel -- at least purchase an apartment here so he'll
have somewhere to go.

Good luck to Lieberman, and may Mashiach come SOON!


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 19:35:00 EDT
Subject: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman

Since the topic has been brought up for discussion I would like to add
my proverbial two cents to the discussion.

Of course, some things about the Lieberman nomination are a significant
kiddush Hashem - esp. his shemiras Shabbos, laudable reputation as a
voice of morality, etc. However, to be fair, we should step back and
think about some other apects of the situation too, as follows -

1) Politics and religion don't always go well together, politics
involving compromise and religion having absolute lines.

2) He may be seen by many as 'the' model orthodox jew in all senses - so
anything he does will be assumed to be acceptable to all orthodox
jews. The public at large doesn't necessarily know / realize that all
orthodox are not the same.  Questionable behavior (e.g. women jogging in
shorts in public, hugging / kissing spouse of another, married woman not
covering hair in public, attending church services, shaking hands of
opposite gender, etc.) will be seen as okay because 'Joe did it' and
anyone refusing to engage in such behavior would be put on the defensive
/ feel pressured to not be 'holier than Joe'. Recently I heard someone
(R. Y. Levin) refer to this as 'defining orthodoxy down'.

3) There could also be dangerous confusion re orthodox positions based
on some of Mr. Lieberman's stances, e.g. opposing restrictions on
abortion (even 'partial - birth') and supporting 'gay rights'
legislation). Though I know there are reasons for his positions (which I
don't agree with), still, many people can get the mistaken impression
from them that abortion and the 'gay' lifestyle are not problematic for
orthodox Jews - which is not the case.

4) While one may be able to do certain things (ask a competent Rabbi) on
Shabbos and other times in order to save lives, etc., the question is,
should one knowingly enter / place oneself into a situation that most
likely will require wholesale / constant such ' violations' of the
Sabbath, etc., even if allowed, or is it preferable to try to avoid /
minimize such situations as much as possible? An argument can be made, I
believe, that one should try to avoid and minimize any permitted '
violations' as much as possible as, if they become the rule, rather than
the exception, the 'normal' Shabbos (and 'normal' observance of other
laws) may become less the rule than the exception.

5) Let us not be deceived by the relative lack of high profile anti -
semitic comments into believing that that feeling has become extinct. In
the current American climate open expression of anti - semitism is not
acceptable - as with anti asian, anti- hispanic, anti black, anti -
chinese, etc. remarks.  That doesn't mean however, that such remarks are
not being made privately.  Let's not be swept away by the initial
euphoria / relatively positive media coverage after his choice was
announced. That tone will not last through a long campaign and / or
Presidential term(s). The press has been known to quickly change it's
tune. Also, I think that euphoria was mostly limited to some (by no
means all) Jews.

Let us think back to when a similar feeling of euphoria was in the air
in some circles (particularly African - Americans) - when Jesse Jackson
was running for President. We should recall how the open surge of ethnic
pride made other groups (esp. Jews) nervous and apprehensive. Should we
jews be reacting to the Lieberman nomination in the way blacks reacted
to the Jackson run? Let us remember that we are still in exile and act

6) I heard a Rabbi on tisha beAv also say that having a Jew in a center
of power could also be bad from a religious viewpoint, as people could
think (even if only subconsciously)that 'achos lanu biveis hamelech' (we
have a sister in the house of the King) and they could look primarily to
that person for help, rather than to Hashem.

In closing, I think we should all be praying to Hashem, that this
situation should not be detrimental to us.

Let us recall what Rash"i in chumash states (Shemos 34:3) - that because
the first luchos (tablets) were given with great publicity 'shalta bahen
ayin hara' (they attracted an 'ayin hora') - and they didn't last
(rather ended up broken) - and therefore the second ones were given in
private - because 'ein licha davar yafeh min hatznius' - there is
nothing better than low - key modesty. Publicity and the spotlight are
not always desirable - even when focused on the luchos!

General Colin Powell knew what he was doing when he declined to run. A
minority candidate still faces obstacles - despite all the rhetoric of
equality. Let us not delude ourselves.



End of Volume 33 Issue 21