Who’s a Jewish president?
Jonathan Tobin’s otherwise insightful Voices article (“Mike vs. Bernie: Two approaches to being a Jewish president,” Jan. 30) fails to articulate the essential attributes of a “Jewish president” other than being a person having some Jewish ancestry. To me, a more expansive definition is needed to include a person, Jew (or even gentile), who manifests, by word and deed, an abiding respect for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, and recognizes that they constitute essential pillars of Western civilization.
Labeling someone as “the first Jewish president,” even a person having no Jewish roots, is not without precedent. The Sept. 16, 2011 issue of New York magazine labeled former president Barack Obama as such on its cover.
Accordingly, a number of distinguished past presidents, beginning with George Washington, are deserving of being called Jewish presidents. John Adams stands out as another exceptional example. Indeed, it was Adams who insisted that “the Hebrews have done more to civilize Men than any other Nation” (see “The Works of John Adams,” 1854).
They and other Founders of our nation heavily relied upon moral and ethical principles from the Hebrew scriptures to aid them in devising the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Although Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders may tout their Jewish roots on occasion, neither one could convince me that he is the first “Jewish president” if elected in November. I believe neither of them would be able to effectively protect Jewish Americans from the ravages of anti-Semitism, nor would they effectively help defend Israel against its many enemies. That is because they would be hamstrung by their politically correct views.
MARC L. CAROFF