Obama Says a Prayer: Asks for 1,000 Rabbis’ Help On Health Care


obama-rabbisJodi Kantor of the New York Times reports:
He has cited statistics. He has held town hall meetings. Now President Obama has turned to Jewish tradition for support in his campaign to overhaul health care, urging rabbis to help make the case in their holiday sermons.┬áRosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Sept. 18, starting the 10-day period when Jews believe their fates for the coming year will be decided. Indeed, that is also around the time when the fate of health care reform – the president’s prime effort – could be determined.

“I am going to need your help,” the president told a telephone audience of about 1,000 rabbis on Wednesday morning, according to the Twitter feed of Rabbi Jack Moline of Alexandria, Va., who added that Mr. Obama advised the group to share stories of health care dilemmas with congregants to illustrate what is at stake in the current debate.

Mr. Obama even recited one of the central prayers of the Jewish New Year. “On Rosh Hashana will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time,” goes one translation of the prayer he read.

During the hourlong session, the president laid out the “broad moral principles underlying health care reform,” according to David Saperstein, head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the chief organizer. (The group always invites policy experts to help rabbis develop material for high holiday sermons; this year, the organization invited the president to talk specifically on health care.)

For the rest of his talk, the president connected the religious new year, traditionally a time for reckoning and renewal, with what he described as a moment of reckoning for the health care system. The prayer he recited is thousands of years old, he said, and yet the suffering it describes – people dying before their time, by plague and by famine – still persists.

“We have the opportunity to quench the thirst and ease the hunger of those who are suffering here in America,” Mr. Obama said, according to one rabbi. (Participants were asked to keep the proceedings confidential; some described the call on the condition they not be quoted.)

Many religious leaders prefer not to make overtly political pitches to their congregations, and one rabbi asked Mr. Obama how to reconcile the sanctity of the high holidays with the partisan politics of the health care reform fight. The president responded, another participant said, by framing it as a moral rather than a political question, stressing the 47 million Americans who lack insurance.

Reid Cherlin, a White House spokesman, said in a statement: “There will certainly be rabbis and congregants on all sides of the debate, but one thing common to all Jews is Tikkun Olam – the commitment to making the world around us a better place – and today no issue is more central to that work than making our health care system work better for all Americans.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Obama spoke at a similar session with Christians, Muslims, Jews and representatives of other faiths. No word yet on which and how many prayers the president needed to recite then.

{NY Times/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. You know, if I were these rabbis, even if I were passionate about Obamacare, I would be leery of such linkage. Something like this could lead to a fast slippery slope ending in rampant anti-semitism.

  2. lies, dirty lies – no, not every Jew beleives in your version of tikun olam. Your version of tikun olam is a materialistic fantasy of making life easy and sweet for people who mock hasgem and do evil things against His will, making these denials into complete lifestyles in their arrogance. Arrogant people always want peace – but look at pinchas; there’s no peace without obedience to G-d and loyalty to him, goyim are included to this as well. If you want peace, why not first follow the rest of the torah, instead of picing and choosing whatever fits into secular american society? Peace is nice, but it’s not an end to itself like these secularists hiding behind religions think it is – peace is a tool to serve G-d, to be able to reach heights that are impossible when being oppressed, and to learn with yishuv hadaas without hester panim. The goal of tikun olam is to make the world a place for G-d to reveal himself at techiyas hamesim with the spiritual energy of our mitzvos; not just blindly helping everyone like abunch of hippies – these people are the opposite of true chessed; they awarded a jew for giving 20,000 dollars to the ACLU to support the right for nazis to march; they gave this moron a’ hillel award’!! have loyalty to torah and g-d, then we’ll talk about what tikun olam really means.

    these people dont even consider helping people to be a commandment, just a chtistian ‘good deed’ – honestly, there’s no spirituality in these people’s philosphy at all – just new-age christianized shtusim. when you help people who are cruel, against the words of chazal, when you deny the authority of g-d to tell you to help people, then you damage the world instead of repair it – when you champion eating treif and intermarrying, and the ‘right’, to be atheists, you are destroying the world, not repairing it – i think this is the definition of self-righteousness, smug liberal kofrim like them make me truly sick.

  3. interesting that the orst massacre of Jews happened at the highpoint of reform assimilation – right when they were polluting their souls with their anti-god philosophies and heresies, screaming about how they will bring peace – they are the new moshiach, they preaches, we didnt need the torah anymore, they preached, they preached peace and materialistic good will come by being as german as the germans are, even more so, by flouting hashem’s covenant with his people, by cow-towing to whatever philosphy the goyim grab on to – anythin just to avoid anti-semitism since the goyim miht think we’re different – well, what happened? can all the rabbi judy’s out there explain how right when they thought they were on top, that there’d be peace and no more anti-semitism, did the holocaust happen?

    I think hashem does this a lot. The same thing happened wit the christians – right when they were fulfilling, in their mind, their prophecy of taking over the world – it looked like they were takeh doing it! – hashem sent the muslims to show the christians that they were not true, they were nt taking over the world – same thingf here – hashem sent the holocuast after warning the secular heretics over and over, rabbi after rabbi said it’d be a miracle if there wouldnt be a holpcuast, due to all the heresy and violations of the torah – and did they listen?! No! they screamed down G-d once again, over and over until the jewish people were sucked dry of all optimsim in hashem and torah – they succumbed to materialism, to the philosophies of amalek – when it happened to the majority of hashem’s people, it could not be tolerated anymore; the damae to hashem’s people was so great that he needed to, as rav avigdor miller said, cut off the limb to save the body – it was all your fault, reform, conservative – the blood is on your hands; and they dare speak in the name of judaism!