Rabbi Shmuley Boteach launches a new institute to promote Jewish values and has House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as an honored guest at the launch. But Cantor wants to cut taxes for the rich and cut services like Welfare for the poor to pay for them. Could Eric Cantor's punish the poor outlook really be Jewish?
At a 25,000 square foot mansion in New Jersey on Sunday, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach launched a new organization, The National Institute of Jewish Values. It will train young rabbis from Chabad-Lubavitch, Yeshiva University and other Orthodox groups to "advance Jewish values" in mainstream culture.
Boteach was surrounded by the rich and powerful, by rabbis like Chabad's leader, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, and the CEO of OU Kosher, Rabbi Menachem Genack.
Among the powerful in attendance was US Congressman Eric Cantor (R - VA), the House Majority Leader. Cantor, who supports privatizing Medicare and making large cuts in social programs meant to help the poor, was an honored guest.
Does that mean cutting welfare programs and casting seniors into a private insurance market that not so long ago refused to insure many seniors are Jewish values?
Or does it mean that power and money trumps the Jewish values Boteach's new institute is meant to promote?
Cutting welfare and related Cantor policies are certainly not Jewish values; in fact, Cantor's policies are antithetical to Jewish values. They are everything Jewish values are not.
Judaism mandates that the community and each of its members take care of those who are in need. That means supporting them at the pre-poverty level of their existence and doing so with dignity and respect, including providing housing, jobs, food, clothing, medical care and other assistance – all areas Cantor has voted to cut or supports cutting.
Make no mistake about it – Eric Cantor's values are not Jewish values.
I hope Boteach and his new "Jewish values" organization, funded by what one presumes are supporters of Cantor, remembers that.