Would Vilna have voted Kerry?

There’s a Reform Temple in Pennsylvania that, for several decades, blew a French Horn on Rosh HaShanah. Then younger members started agitating for the use of a real Shofar, instead. The old-timers responded with resentment, saying the youngsters had no respect for the shul’s traditions.

Whether historical or apocryphal, this story certainly comes to mind when reading the The Jewish Week‘s treatment of the split between Orthodox and liberal Jews in the last election — in which Staff Writer Steve Lipman calls the Jewish Kerry vote “true to their Democratic roots.” Since when is the Democratic party uniquely representative of Jewish values?

True, the Democratic party is that of liberal values, but only those Jews who have traded in their Judaism for a new ideology could ever side uniquely with one party or the other. Much was made of the “split” this year, but all it would take was another Bush Senior to drive the Orthodox and liberals back into the same Blue column.

Kerry entirely failed to articulate a position that would favor saving Jewish lives, similar to that taken by “W” even before 9/11. The recognition that Palestinian terrorism is *the* major obstruction to peace in Israeli-held territory, and that it must be stopped before Israel can be called upon to make further moves, was a major change in US policy. Bush defended the anti-terrorism wall, while Kerry spoke in defense of it to Jewish audiences — and called it an “obstruction” in front of Arab ones. This was entirely typical Kerry behavior, but that’s almost besides the point.

Kerry’s talk of “UN approval” and a “global test” was a grave danger to Israel. As proven at Durban and countless other UN meetings, the UN — far from being an agent in the prevention of anti-Semitism — is today one of its most prominent advocates. Kerry would have put the foxes in charge of the proverbial hen house.

This, more than abortion, same-gender marriage, or any other issue, explains why Orthodox Jews voted for Bush. And when someone calls the Democratic party the source of “Jewish roots,” it merely shows that he has cut himself off from our true spiritual values — our true roots — that sustained us for thousands of years.

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