Canton Rabbi to Josh Mandel : "You are not a Nice Jewish Boy"
OhioDaily has obtained a copy of a letter sent to Republican Treasurer candidate Josh Mandel from Canton Rabbi Leah Herz. In her letter, Rabbi Herz scolds the young Mandel for race-bating and asks "What would your Jewish mother say?" Tough words for a candidate who seems more concerned about politics than honor. Think Herz is alone in this assessment? Check back tomorrow morning at OhioDaily for more.
Here's the letter, unedited, from Rabbi Leah Herz:
Dear Mr. Mandel:
I was extremely troubled and disappointed to see the advertisement you have been running against your opponent Kevin Boyce, in the State Treasurer's race. In broad terms, the American public is simply done with the negative campaigning, the fear-mongering, the race-bating, and the Islamophobia which has gripped this Nation. You seem to have hit a grand-slam by incorporating all four into your current commercial.
First, there is Mr. Boyce, depicted in a rather "dark" and unflattering photograph reminiscient of OJ Simpson's Photo-shopped mug shot on the cover of Time Magazine. Then the allegations about secret connections to individuals with Muslim names as well as covert hiring practices in mosques. The photos and articles ripped out of newspapers which look grainy and sinister and finally, the squeaky clean war hero, presented as the antithesis to Mr. Boyce.
Mr. Mandel, I do not question your heroism, and like all decent Americans I applaud your sacrifices while serving in our military. As a Rabbi however, I say, "shame, shame" on the way you have behaved. You are not a Nice Jewish Boy. Our tradition commands us to be an, "Or l'goyim, "a" Light Unto the Nations." Jews are to serve as a moral exemplar to the world for what is right and just. This is what "chosen-ness" means; not that we are superior to or better than anyone else, but that we were "chosen" to bring this message of decency and compassion to our world. We are told over and over again to embrace the stranger for, "We were strangers in the land of Egypt." Jewish history is fraught with episode after episode of the most horrific anti-Semitism. We need not go back to the narratives of the Bible or the horrific crusades of the Middle Ages for evidence. We need only go back a few decades to see the results of what happens when a so-called civilization allows itself to be driven by fear or hatred of a minority.
I would encourage you, Mr. Mandel, to make a few African American and Muslim friends. Get to know them as people; as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, as proud hard-working, educated and law-abiding Americans. And if you already have made such friendships, ask them how they felt about your commercial. I am not naive enough to believe that all people are good, no matter what their race, religion, ethnicity, age or gender. I will say that my African American and Muslim friends are wonderful people and that the hideous habit of painting all members of any group with the same broad brush, is dangerous indeed.
Please Mr. Mandel, reconsider your strategy. More importantly, what would your Jewish Mother say?
Rabbi Leah M. Herz