Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Rabbi" - for U.S. President?

Jpost: Russell Feingold, the Democratic senator from Wisconsin, immediately raised his public profile here this past week when he stood up in Congress demanding that President George W. Bush be censured over his domestic eavesdropping program, which Feingold considers illegal. His proposal - a congressional action that has only been used once, in 1834, to reprimand Andrew Jackson - sent reverberations through both the Democratic and Republican ranks, with Vice President Dick Cheney issuing an unusual rebuttal, calling the motion "outrageous." It is hardly inconsequential that the senator's name is one of the three or four mentioned as possible candidates for president in 2008. And, though Feingold has not said whether or not he is going to run, he told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night that there was one issue that wouldn't stand in his way: his Jewish identity. "Even though I know people say it would be a big problem, I really believe that this country is ready to overcome these things, whether it has to do with African-American candidates, Latino candidates, women candidates or Jewish candidates," Feingold said. "Maybe that's na ve. But I have a faith that if people are confronted with an opportunity, whether it be me or somebody else, they are not going to make their judgment based on a person's religion." Feingold, fresh from his appearance on the senate floor, received an award on Saturday night from a liberal Brooklyn synagogue, Kolot Chaiyenu. There he spoke to the Post about his Jewish upbringing. Feingold grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, Janesville, which was not big enough to house a Jewish congregation, and so, he said, his parents drove one hour each way to Madison for 25 years to attend services and bring him to a religious school. Feingold's sister, Dena, is a rabbi at Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and his grandfather Max, who first arrived in Janesville in 1917, later emigrated to Israel when his wife died in 1950, living in Kibbutz Yafit and Tivon. He also said he had a nephew who is a law clerk at the Israeli Supreme Court. He described what he called a "deep, personal connection to Israel................. OK. OK. That's enough, We are very proud of you. Now just go back to your cave in Wisconsin.
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