'We are very pleased to have Rabbi Rand Paul here," the senator's host, Richard Roberts, said as two dozen religious Jews sat down to lunch in Roberts's home in Lakewood, N.J.
"Senator, we have 6,500 men studying here," Roberts continued, referring to Lakewood's Beth Midrash Govoha, one of the largest rabbinical schools in the world. "Can you get me one or two Jews from Kentucky learning here?"
It was a sunny day in mid June and Paul had come to Lakewood, one of the nation's hubs of Orthodox Judaism, direct from Kentucky before returning to Washington, D.C. In the Orthodox community, Roberts, who last August sold his pharmaceutical company for $800 million, is a good friend to have. "If [Paul] has Dr. Roberts backing him, that is a great imprimatur for everybody in the community here," Rabbi Zisha Novoseller tells me. "These are movers and shakers in the audience here and he is looking for us to spread the gospel."
He says he's on a "speaking tour," taking the GOP message to new venues, and he faults Republicans for failing to do even a little of this. "Half of it is showing up" in minority communities, he told reporters on a May swing through Iowa, "and I don't think we've been showing up and asking."
His pitch isn't solely rhetorical, though. Paul has a legislative pitch tailored to minorities as well. He is planning to pursue legal action against the National Security Agency for what he considers a vast overreach of its surveillance powers and tells those assembled in Lakewood that "Jews should be very concerned about due process and liberty," and that "blacks should be too." In his remarks at Howard University, he railed against mandatory minimum sentencing for drug use, which many say disproportionately impacts African Americans and Hispanics. At times, he's gone further and argued that he doesn't believe people should be jailed for nonviolent drug crimes. "Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use," Paul told Fox News. "It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky. But a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don't get lucky."
Among the Orthodox in Lakewood, the senator has found a receptive audience. "I think that for politicians in general, certainly for higher office, including a president, the No. 1 thing we're looking for is integrity, somebody who's real," Roberts says. "He's real, he's authentic."
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Rand Paul reaches out to Orthodox Jews
A positive piece titled Rabbi Rand Paul in the National Review. I'm glad at least the National Review hasn't followed Commentary down the anti-Rand Paul lunacy hole: