This week's portion: beat
18 September, 18 Elul

Rabbinic conference call with Senator Obama

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg just posted her liveblogging of a conference call in which Senator Barack Obama spoke to 900 rabbis. (Holy wow.) Here's a taste of Danya's report from the call:

[Senator Obama] quotes Rabbi Tarfon (not by name), "You are not free to complete the work, but neither may you desist from it." He talks about restoring America’s promise to care for the vulnerable, provide health care, care for children and aging, invest in alternate energy sources and create green jobs, to create an economy for all, not just for the rich. He wants to get back to "I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper" as a value in the country...

He talks about how the new year is a time not just for celebration but for reflection and hard work. "I think it's time for us all to turn the page... and complete the work of Creation." He talks about the shofar as a way to rouse us from our slumber and help us repent for our misdeeds, chart a better path, as a call to action.

After Obama's opening remarks, four rabbis, one from each of the major denominations, got to ask him a question. Danya reports his responses to those, too.

Full disclosure: if it weren't obvious from what y'all know of me after reading my blog all these years (or from the photo of the bumper sticker that adorns my car), I strongly support Senator Obama's bid for the presidency. If Rabbis for Obama had made the decision to accept rabbinic students into their ranks, I'd be a founding member! But I think the notes from this call are worth reading regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum. If you're interested in US politics and the coming election (and who among us isn't, these days?), pop over to Rabbi Ruttenberg's blog and read.

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