Jack Kemp – pro football quarterback, congressman, HUD Secretary and VP candidate – 73.
Alan J. Steinberg writes:
…it was as an American Jew that I felt most deeply the greatness of Jack Kemp. He
grew up in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles, then a predominantly
Jewish area of the city and felt a deep personal kinship with the
American Jewish community. He was not only a friend to the Jewish community - he was a true brother for us. Many politicians, both Democrat and Republican, give lip service in support of Israel in order to attract Jewish voters. Jack
Kemp, however, was totally committed to Israel and Zionism, and the
State of Israel never had a better friend in Congress than Jack Kemp.
In fact, Jack had such an extensive knowledge of Judaism and Jewish history that he often quoted Rabbi Moses Maimonides in his speeches. Rabbi Maimonides was also known as the Rambam, an acronym of his Hebrew name, Rabbi Moshe ben (son of) Maimon. The Rambam, who lived in 12th century Spain, Morocco, and Egypt, was one of the truly outstanding personages of Jewish history - he was perhaps the most outstanding rabbi in history, as well as being the greatest physician in the world in his time, and a world renowned philosopher as well. His book, the Guide for the Perplexed is one of the most influential and widely read books in the history of philosophy. In fact, there is a famous Jewish saying that "from Moses (in the Bible) to Moses (Maimonides), there was none greater."
The following quote from the Rambam is a
remarkable summary of the life philosophy of Jack Kemp, a man who lived
eight centuries after the Rambam:
"Anticipate charity by preventing poverty; assist the reduced fellow man, either by a considerable gift or a sum of money or by teaching him a trade or by putting him in the way of business so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding out his hand for charity. This is the highest step and summit of charity's golden ladder."