While no major party or candidate is perfect, I believe Obama and the Democratic Party line up more closely with Jewish values than Romney and the Republican Party.
Israel - Setting the Record Straight
While both Romney and Obama support Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told CNN, "I can see long years . . . administrations of both sides of political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israeli . . . But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past." Unlike false accusations, Obama steadfastly works to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons to keep the U.S. and Israel secure. He may go about it differently than Netanyau or Republicans, but the goals are the same. In 2011, AIPAC "appreciate(d) the President's ""unshakeable'" commitment to Israel's security and his clear statements outlining the daily dangers and strategic threats facing Israel. (He) demonstrated his understanding . . . that the Jewish people --in their historic homeland -- deserve recognition and normal relations with their neighbors." Obama helped the Israeli embassy in Egypt when it was being attacked. These are only a few examples of Obama's support for Israel.
Helping the Downtrodden
Many Republicans think their wallets will be siphoned off unless Romney becomes president. The Torah tells us numerous times to feed "the stranger, the fatherless and widow." While many Jews are generous in giving tzedakah to their preferred charities, the Talmud (Gittin 61a) says, "We (must) provide support to (non-Jews) along with the Israelites, in keeping with the ways of peace." Despite Romney's accusations, 47% of Americans are not lazy. Obama and Democrats don't want to give a hand out; they want to give a hand up. In the Amidah we say, "God lifts up the fallen, heals the sick and frees the captive." Helping those in need is our way of lifting the fallen.
It is a mitzvah to visit the sick. Jews say healing prayers as a community. Israel has a national healthcare system. Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah) says, "Doctors are required to reduce their fees for the poor. Where that is still not sufficient the community should subsidize the patient." There are many aspects regarding the Affordable Care Act that help everyone, one of which includes not refusing to insure based on pre-existing conditions. As it says in Leviticus 19:16, "Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds."
At the time of the Torah, a man and woman married to fulfill, "be fruitful and multiply." Today, gay couples can adopt children from biologic parents who can't take care of their babies. According to Genesis 1:27, "And God created human beings in the image of God . . ." President Obama is doing the right thing by supporting gay rights. The decision whether or not to marry should be made by the couple, their clergy and God - not the government.
Mitt Romney mocked at the Republican convention, "President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet." This is not funny. Jews are commanded to be good stewards of the environment. As it says in Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28: "See my works, how fine and excellent they are. . . . for you have I created it . . . do no corrupt and desolate My world; for if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you."
The Republican Party will not accept abortion under any circumstances, even if, God forbid, your daughter is raped. Under a Republican congress and president, she will not be able to have an abortion even if the mother's mental or physical health is at risk. While Jewish law does not always support abortion, Mishnah Tractate Ohalot says, "If a woman is undergoing a perilous pregnancy, the fetus may be destroyed since her life takes precedence over its life." Abortion and birth control should be a matter between a woman, her family, doctor, clergy and God - not politicians.
The U.S. was founded on religious liberty and separation of church and state. Many non-Jewish right-wing Republicans see our country as a Christian nation. They don't want separation. That is not good for Jews and other minorities.
Shalom Bayit (Peaceful House)
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