By Rabbi Menachem Genack
Joe Lieberman is a path-breaker not only for Jews, but also for Judaism. He showed his fellow Americans that one can be both a traditionally observant Jew and, at the same time, a fully engaged citizen and public servant. With grace and dignity, he skillfully navigated between the religious and secular worlds, elevating the image of Judaism in the process.
Lieberman’s commitment to Torah informed much of what he did, including in public policy. He spoke the language of faith and lived his faith publicly, making him a role model for Jews and non-Jews alike. In particular, he showed that it was possible to observe the Sabbath while fulfilling his duties as a senator.
Lieberman has recounted how, during the 2000 election, Al Gore told him he admired how he could disengage and contemplate on Shabbat and wished he could do the same on Sunday. “It’s okay,” Lieberman quipped, “I’ll watch the country on Sunday. You watch it on Saturday.”
Rabbi Menachem Genack is CEO of OU Kosher.