Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Menahem Frohman made an impassioned appeal today for American Jews to embrace Senator Obama as a harbinger of peace in the Middle East. Amidst controversial reports coming out of Israel that most Americans there voted for McCain Rabbi Frohman’s religious prayers stand out as exceptional. Most of those polled are Orthdox, and this dovetails American trends in which Orthodox Jews are mostly voting for McCain. Here is the video from the Kotel, the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem.
We live in an age in which religion as an ideology has been weaponized by at least some people in every culture and civilization. But sometimes one sees exceptions, passionate expressions of piety that are for peace, not war, for love, not hatred. The constant in history is that anything powerful is corrupting, and it is certainly the case that religion is a powerful human experience. What we do not know is where ultimately this power will lead the Middle East. For in the long run religious values in the West also gave rise to Enlightenment virtues, to a belief in the abolition of slavery, and to a belief in freedom. We simply do not know what will evolve, but we must look for signs of what is possible in the future.© Marc Gopin