Swaying But Not Quite Swayed Sway Machine In Concert At NMAJH

The music group The Sway Machine made its Philadelphia debut the evening of September 20, 2012, at the National Museum of American Jewish History, performing a cycle of songs titled “Hidden Melodies Revealed,” which the group describes as “a secret celebration of Rosh HaShanah.” For this Philadelphia performance, The Sway Machine was Jeremiah Lockwood (guitar, vocals, composition/storytelling), John Bollinger (drums), Stuart Bogie (tenor sax), Jordan McLean (trumpet), and Nikhil Yerawadekar (electric bass). Each of these musicians is a prolific performer and collaborator, with each other and with many another group. The group’s ‘sound’, its ideal to which it is attuned and its traditional referential of origin, is a confluence and combination of various, call them, lineages of music: Klezmer, Jewish cantorial music (Jeremiah Lockwood is the grandson of cantor Jacob Konigsberg), the music of Mali guitarist, singer, and composer Ali Farka Toure, to name just these.
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Israeli Children With Cancer Can Make A Wish As Well

Six year old Shachar had a dream. He loves music and could often be found with an imitation microphone in his hand, pretending to be a radio singer and singing the latest popular songs. Schachar’s parents also have a dream. More than anything, they want their child to live. You see, Shachar has bone cancer.

While the oncology clinic treats the physical illness, Ezer Mizion treats the emotional and psychological ramifications of cancer. The patient, his siblings and parents are traumatized by the nightmare that has taken over their lives. With love and caring, with fun and games, trained professional staff deal with the worries, the fears of the family utilizing such pleasurable activities as sand play, stories, music and even a petting zoo. As is medically known, the body and spirit are closely related. Ezer Mizion, therefore, also tries to bring joy into the life of the patient to better enable his spirit to help the body in its fight for life.

To Shachar, joy and singing were synonymous. And the ultimate of joy would be actually
singing, not with a fake microphone but with the real thing, at a real radio station. At Ezer Mizion nothing will stand in the way of bringing joy to a small cancer patient. And that is how Shachar found himself, together with many of his friends at Ezer Mizion’s home for cancer patients at the radio station singing away like a pro.

The song Shachar and his friends chose to sing was a popular Hebrew song titled: “How Good it will be in the New Year”. The song talks of the simple dreams that people have, sitting on the porch together with family and appreciating the little things in life.

Like to share his joy? Just click and join Schachar, radio star for a day!

New Year’s Greeting from Shimon Peres, Mitt Romney


Transcript of Mitt Romney’s Remarks:

   As we approach Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur I want to wish everyone in the Jewish community a happy and healthy new year.

   The High Holy Days are a time for humility and reflection.

   They are a time for families to gather and embrace our many blessings and they offer a chance to think about how we can improve our lives in years ahead.

   The High Holy days highlight the role that faith plays in guiding our lives.

   They inspire us to become better people.

   I recently had the privilege of returning to Jerusalem for a few days, and during that trip I was reminded once again what a remarkable country has emerged in 64 short years.

   Israel is a vibrant healthy democracy where entrepreneurship is encouraged, the economy is thriving and innovation infuses nearly every aspect of society.

   Israel is among America’s best friends and closest allies in the world and I believe no one should never doubt this basic truth: A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel.

   Here at home Jews have also contributed greatly to the tapestry of our nation, public service and in the private sector.

   The Jewish community has helped build our economy, helped defend our freedoms, and helped earn our special place in history.

   We’re grateful for that immense contribution, and we look forward to an even brighter future.

   It’s Ann and my sincere wish that you have a sweet New Year.

The Sustenance of Torah and Honey

— by Hannah Lee

If Jews are mandated to avoid superstitions, why do we have so many symbolic foods on the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe?  I was privileged to hear Rabbi Meir Soloveichik answer this question at the Chabad Center of the Main Line on Sunday night.  This was the inaugural event of a year-long Torah-and-food series being coordinated by The Kohelet Foundation to showcase the Torah knowledge, foodie esprit, and sharp wit of Rabbi Soloveichik, the Director of the Strauss Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan. The series will also launch the kosher restaurant, Citron and Rose, due to open this fall.  The chef de cuisine, Yehuda Sichel, demonstrated two recipes that incorporate honey.

More after the jump.
Athletes are notoriously superstitious, began Rabbi Soloveichik, and Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs had a curious ritual wherein after multiple steps in his pre-game preparations, he would take his bat and carve out the Hebrew letters for Chai (life) in the batter’s box. It helped him hit over .350 in four straight seasons and score over 3,000 hits in his 18-year baseball career, primarily with the Boston Red Sox (but also the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays). It was even more remarkable because he was not a Jew!  His sister later was quoted as distinguishing between superstitions and her brother’s rituals for focusing the mind.  Each act helped Boggs to tune out the noisy stadium of people and concentrate on his goals.

The symbolic foods of Rosh HaShanah, the simonim, similarly help us understand what actions to take for the new year.  Sephardi Jews serve the head of a lamb while Ashkenazi Jews serve the head of a fish.  These foods represent thoughtful action in which the head should direct the body, just as a dog’s head should wag the tail and not the other way around.  (The rosh in Rosh Hashanah actually  means “head” and not “new,” which linguistically would be chadash.)  The decisions we make on Rosh Hashanah have the power to reverberate through the rest of the year. The simonim can inspire us to actively engage and focus on the aspects of life and the values that are truly important to us.

Honey almond crunch cake gale gandAbout 1,000 years ago, the Jewish sage Rokeach wrote about the use of honey smeared onto a tablet on the first day of school for young boys.  Honey cake, lekach, with Torah verses iced on top was similarly served to engender a love of learning. By the 14th century, lekach was the centerpiece of all Jewish celebrations. Up until the 20th century, lekach and schnapps were customarily served and referred to as shorthand for a Jewish celebration.

Jews are akin to bees in their service to God, according to a midrash (homiletic method of biblical exegesis) on Devarim, Deuteronomy, the final book of the Chumash, the Jewish Bible. Why are bees so central?  First, because bee honey never spoils.  (The Rabbi retold the story from Calvin Trilling about his mother serving leftovers whose origin no one in the family remembers.) Second, they offer one of the highest caloric content of any natural foods.  The Biblical Yonatan, in a battle with the Philistines, came upon a beehive and was revived by a taste of honey. Finally, it’s unique amongst foods that are kosher despite its source from a non-kosher creature.

Typically, products from non-kosher animals are not kosher, such as camel’s milk, because camels do not chew their cud and lack split hooves. Honey, however, is not technically produced as part of the bodily processes, whether digestive or mammary. Pollen is stored in the bee’s stomach but nectar is stored in a separate sac. Other bees in the hive add enzymes that turn the sucrose into glucose and fructose. Worker bees then evaporate most of the moisture by fanning their wings, leaving only about 18-percent water in honey.

Lekach, honey cake, reminds us of all the enjoyable experiences — the mitzvot, Biblical commandments — that are truly sustaining, being gifts from God. It says in Proverbs that Torah is like milk and honey.  Mother’s milk is a basic necessity of life, but honey represents all the delights of this world.  Just as the Biblical Shimshon (Samson) was able to take pleasure in the honeycomb that was created amidst the carcass of the lion that had attacked him, so too may Jews take joy from the belly of the beast of this complicated and maddening world. Me, I’m going to try Chef Sichel’s recommendation to substitute beer for the liquid in the traditional recipe for honey cake.

Citron and Rose, located at 368-370 Montgomery Avenue in Merion, will be open Sunday — Thursday for dinner.  Catering contact information: [email protected]. For other events in this series, contact [email protected].

Traditional Tuscan Rosh Hashanah Cookies

— by Ronit Treatman

“Evictions?!  Who gives a cookie a name like that?” I asked Alessandra Rovati.  Rovati, the founder of Dinner in Venice, shared her traditional Tuscan recipe for Rosh Hashanah with me.

More after the jump.  
She described Sfratti, rolled cookies filled with nuts and dried fruits.  “Sfratti means “evictions” in Italian.  These cookies, in their original version (without the figs and candied fruit, only with honey and walnuts), are said to have Jewish origins.  Sfratti are served for Christmas in several Tuscan towns from Pitigliano to Sorana. Apparently their shape is a reminder of the sticks that landlords used to drive the Jews away from their communities. Jews in many areas of Central Italy serve them on Rosh Hashanah,” she explained.  “Why would they want to remember that when they are celebrating the New Year?” I asked her. “It is the custom of the Jews of Italy to temper happiness with memories of suffering, just as we temper mourning with hope of future redemption.  That is why we often mix vinegar with honey.  I am thinking of a tradition we have of saving the candle we use to read Lamentations on Tisha BeAv until Hanukka, when it becomes the Shamash to light the menorah.  Thus tying the holiday that commemorates the destruction of the Temple with the one that celebrates its rededication, and reminding us that there should be hope even in despair.”

Tuscan Sfratti
Adapted from Dinner in Venice

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • A pinch of salt

  • 1/3 cup cold margarine or cold butter
  • 2/3 cup marsala or other sweet wine

  • 2/3 cup honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • A pinch of ground cloves, or nutmeg (optional)

  • A pinch of black pepper

  • 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or other nuts
  • 3/4 cups mixed dried and candied fruit (dried figs, raisins, candied orange or your favorite type/s), finely chopped
  • Grated zest of one lemon or mix of lemon and orange zest

  • 1 egg yolk
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt; add the margarine or butter; process until crumbly. Add the sweet wine, and process until it holds together. Roll the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in two parts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. In the meantime, heat the honey in a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil, add the spices, and simmer until syrupy (it forms a ribbon when a spoon is lifted): this should take between 5 and 15 minutes.
  3. Add the nuts the dried fruit, and the lemon or/and orange zest, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool off until you can touch it without burning your fingers.
  4. On a floured surface, roll the honey filling into 6 long ropes, working quickly before it hardens. Now divide the dough into 6 rectangles.
  5. Roll out each piece on a floured surface into a long rectangle (about 4″x12″ or even longer) and lay a piece of filling along the center of each piece. Roll up the dough around the filling (kind of like a Moroccan cigar). Now cut the long cylinders into shorter cookies. I’ve seen them cut shorter (about 1 inch) but I make them longer, like a finger.
  6. Place the cookies on a greased baking sheet (or lined with parchment) and brush them with the egg, mixed with a couple teaspoons of water. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden, in a pre-heated 375 F oven.

Photo credit: Dinner in Venice.

Perfect Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

Bundt cake— by Ronit Treatman

Have you ever baked a honey cake that was too dry, gooey, or left a bitter aftertaste?  I have produced these and many other flops.  As a result, I embarked on a quest to discover a foolproof recipe.  I encountered it in Marcy Goldman’s A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.  Her rich fragrant cake is the perfect treat to serve your guests or bake for your hosts when celebrating Rosh Hashanah.

More after the jump.
Majestic and Moist New Year’s Honey Cake
Adapted from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman

  • 1 cup of mild honey such as clover, acacia, or alfalfa
  • 1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup whisky
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup freshly brewed quality coffee
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Honey cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Coat the interior of a 10 inch Bundt cake pan with vegetable oil.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan.
  5. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes.  This cake is ready when the center springs back easily when touched.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest in the Bundt pan for 15 minutes.
  7. Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

When this golden cake emerges from the oven, your home will be filled with the exotic aroma of honey and spices.  The first bite will reveal a perfect, moist texture.  The flavor is a sublime balance of honey and spices.  This delicious, rich cake will be the crowning touch of any Rosh Hashanah meal or gathering.    

Home Pressed Grape Juice For Rosh Hashanah

pressing— by Ronit Treatman

One of my earliest memories of Rosh Hashanah is that of my grandfather Ben Zion’s homemade grape juice.  He would wake up at the crack of dawn so he could be the first customer at the Carmel Market.  He had his first choice from the crates of grapes that had been picked earlier that morning in the vineyards surrounding Tel Aviv.  Saba Ben Zion would haul his crate home, and press the grapes by hand.  Then he would filter the juice through a cheesecloth.  The clarified liquid was poured into a glass bottle.  He liked to add a few grape peels for added flavor.  Then he would stop up the bottle and chill it overnight.  

More after the jump.
Ready to pressSaba Ben Zion brought this tradition with him from Bukhara. Bukhara was an oasis on the Silk Road in Central Asia.  Over time it was transformed into one of the most important centers of trade, culture, scholarship, and religion of modern day Uzbekistan.  Islam has been the dominant faith in Bukhara for over one thousand years.  Alcohol is haram, forbidden, under the Islamic rules of halal.  In order to be able to comply with the requirement to recite the blessing over the fruit of the vine, the Jews of Bukhara made their own sacramental wine.  They pressed their own grape juice for the children.

Three years ago, I decided to revive this tradition with my own family.  I planted a Concord grape vine in my garden.  This year I am expecting a large crop.  Pressing our own grape juice will be the perfect way to reconnect with nature and participate in the late fall harvest, which was part of the Rosh Hashanah tradition in Ancient Israel.  

Preparing the grapes to make wineCrop of Concord GrapesYou can enjoy being outside with your family in the beautiful fall weather when you pick your own grapes.  If you or anyone you know has a grapevine, you can help pick the ripe grapes at the end of their season.  If you and your friends don’t have grapevines growing in your gardens, take a trip to a vineyard. Peace Valley Winery in Chalfont invites you to pick your own grapes.  Several varieties of grapes are cultivated here that you will never find in a supermarket or farmer’s market.  If you have never done this, then you are in for a treat!  Nothing can compare to the experience of being in a vineyard on a beautiful, crisp fall day.  The intoxicating smell of the earth and plants is everywhere.  The buzzing of insects is a serenade.  The vines are heavy with ripe and juicy grapes, just inviting you to bite into them.  It is time for the fall harvest.

Once you have picked your grapes, you are ready to participate in one of the most enjoyable Rosh Hashanah family activities.  Juice pressing!  Everyone can help rinse the grapes with clean, cold water.  Each person can start removing the grapes from the stems and squeezing them with their fingers into a large pot.  If pressing your own grape juice becomes a tradition, you may want to invest in a manual grape press to make this easier.  Then the juice needs to be filtered through a colander lined with cheesecloth.  When there is enough liquid, it can be poured into a clean glass bottle or jar.   I picked three pounds of grapes.  They produced three cups of juice. You can add a few grape peels to the juice for more flavor.  Be sure to wash your hands well when you are through.  The grape peels can irritate some people’s skin.  Now, you should refrigerate your juice in a sealed glass bottle.

Opening the bottle and drinking home pressed grape juice is a unique experience.  I pressed a batch of ripe Concord grapes from my garden today to see what would happen.  My juice had a rich magenta color. When I inhaled its aroma, I could smell the fruit and flowers of my vineyard.  My first sip of this chilled delicacy carried the special sweet and tart flavor of the grapes.   I could taste its unique terroir, the particular place where these grapes were grown.

A rabbi once explained to me that it is not appropriate to say the blessing for the fruit of the vine over a grape.  “It needs to have been processed, to have required work,” he explained.  “This blessing is only appropriate for wine and grape juice.”  This Rosh Hashanah, when it is time to say the blessing over the fruit of the vine, your home pressed juice will mean a lot more to you than the finest purchased wine ever could.  It will be the result of your own labor, produced with laughter and joy.  To me, a bottle of home pressed grape juice, such as the one that my Saba would make especially for me, is a bottle full of love.  

The blessing over the wine:

BA-RUCH A-TAH A-DO-NOI
ELO-HAI-NU ME-LECH HA-O-LAM
BO-RAI PRI HA-GA-FEN.
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the
Universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.

Shanah Tovah!

Itzik Ashkenazi: An Israeli Wounded Warrior Chef

Itzik Ashkenazi— by Ronit Treatman

“Take one cup of unbleached flour and two eggs. Heap the flour onto a clean surface. Make a hole at the top, so it looks like a volcano.  Pour your eggs into the hole. Start mixing the eggs and flour with one hand. You will need the other hand to prevent the eggs from oozing onto the counter. Once you have incorporated the eggs into the flour, start kneading the dough….”

This is a moment in Itzik Ashkenazi’s current life. He never intended to be a chef, he tells me, as he talks about how he makes fresh pasta.  An electrical engineer by training, he was on duty on a beautiful October day in 1990 on his base near Rosh Pina.  Suddenly, his left leg was shattered by friendly fire. Itzik was rushed to Rambam Hospital.  Fortunately for him, the skillful surgeons who operated on him saved his leg.  His recovery would not have been complete had it not been for the contributions of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and American non-profit organization dedicated to Israeli soldiers’ well-being.  Physical therapy and other amenities sponsored by the FIDF helped rehabilitate him. Only an orthopedist would know I was ever injured now,” he tells me.  An unexpected result of the process of healing from the pain and trauma of this injury was that Itzik transformed himself from an electrical engineer into one of Tel Aviv’s most passionate chefs.

More after the jump.  
Once he was honorably discharged from the IDF, Itzik needed time to finish healing. He couldn’t just accept the responsibility of working full time as an electrical engineer somewhere.  He decided to help out in his family’s restaurant, Il Pastaio (The Pasta Maker). His Italian-born mother started Il Pastaio in 1988 as a store selling freshly prepared pasta. Located in a Bauhaus building circa 1939, it was the only place in Israel where fresh pasta was made in the traditional Milanese way.  As the store became more and more successful, Itzik’s family decided to hire an Italian architect to design the the first floor interior to be an authentic, northern Italian restaurant.  

Initially, Itzik helped out with the business side of the enterprise. But he still had to heal from his injuries, both externally and emotionally.  Itzik reached deep inside himself for what he truly loved. He felt the call to be creative with food. Itzik learned how to prepare fresh pasta at the feet of the master: Enzo Dellea, a famous Northern Italian chef and cookbook author. The sensual experience of mixing flour and eggs, kneading the fresh dough, and inhaling its earthy aroma helped repair Itzik’s internal emotional trauma.  Nurturing hungry people with delicious, artisanal food filled him with joy. As part of his healing process, Itzik discovered his true passion.

As he became more accomplished in the kitchen, he reached into his family’s Jewish heritage from Rhodes.  Itzik’s aunt, Matilda Koen-Sarano, wrote a cookbook in Ladino called Gizar Kon Gozo or Cooking with Pleasure.  From this book, he shares with us a recipe that combines his love of preparing fresh pasta with a traditional Sephardic dish called travados, or as he calls them affectionately, travadikos.  The Ashkenazi family prepares travadikos to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.  “Travadikos are a mezza luna (half moon) of fresh dough, filled with a mixture of ground nuts.  The filled dough is baked, and then simmered in honey syrup.  Travadikos taste a lot like baklava,” he explains to me.  

Matilda Koen-Sarano’s Travadikos
Adapted from Gizar Kon Gozo

For the dough:

travados 084

Travados

Travados

travados 097

Photos: The Boreka Diary

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder

For the filling:

  • 1-½ cups ground almonds or walnuts
  • ¼ cups sugar

For the syrup:

  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ cup sugar
  • zest from ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the dough together.
  2. Allow the dough to rest for two hours.
  3. Mix the ground nuts and sugar.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the syrup in a pot over a low flame.  Stir until a golden syrup forms.  Keep warm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 356 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Roll out the dough.
  7. Using a wine glass, cut out circles of dough.
  8. Place one teaspoon of filling in each circle of dough.
  9. Fold the dough in half over the filling, and pinch shut to create a mezza luna (half moon).
  10. Bake the trovadikos for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the trovadikos from the oven and simmer in the syrup for a few seconds.
  12. Remove the trovadikos with a slotted spoon and place them on a large serving platter.
  13. Garnish with a dusting of ground nuts mixed with sugar.

During his hospitalization at Rambam Hospital, Itzik discovered that one of the missions of the FIDF is to rehabilitate wounded soldiers.  They do this through their Strides Program.  “I am very, very fortunate,” Itzik tells me.  “My friends who were injured during combat carry invisible injuries,” he says.  “They can’t sleep at night.  I wish I could help them find something to move them away from what happened to them during their military service.”  As Rosh Hashanah, the time of “teshuvah, tefillah, and tzedakah,” arrives, please consider helping repair these soldiers’ lives with a contribution to FIDF.  Your gift may even help discover a new culinary genius!

I would like to extend my special thanks to Beit Halochem for connecting me with Itzik Ashkenazi.

Shanah Tovah!

Jewish Values Not on the Agenda For the 2011 Values Voter Summit

— David Streeter

2011 “Values Voter” Summit Schedule Featuring GOP Presidential Candidates To Conflict Yet Again with the Jewish High Holidays

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today criticized the 2011 Values Voter Summit in part because — for the third consecutive year* — the conservative conference coincides with the Jewish High Holidays. The 2011 Values Voter Summit, which will feature a majority of the Republican presidential candidates, perfectly symbolizes how the modern conservative movement does not include Jewish values under its umbrella. This year, the conference occurs on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

More after the jump.

NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

Conservatives have been aggressively targeting Jews recently by touting their pro-Israel positions. But what they continually fail to understand is that pro-Israel rhetoric only goes so far. Polling consistently shows that the sweeping majority of American Jews abhor the conservative domestic policy positions — particularly on social issues — that will be discussed this weekend. With this in mind, American conservatives should explain how they intend to make Jews feel welcome in a political movement that advances an agenda opposed by most in the Jewish community and continually holds its flagship conference on the Jewish High Holidays.

This year’s conference falls on Yom Kippur — the holiest day of the year — and will likely have significant ramifications for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. Such a repeated scheduling conflict further symbolizes that the conservative movement and the Republican Party do not represent the values of most American Jews. Quite simply, this weekend’s confab is a textbook example of why Jews remain solidly committed to the Democratic Party and its positions.

Republican presidential candidates attending this year’s summit include:

  • Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry
  • Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
  • Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain
  • Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Other Republican elected officials speaking this weekend include:

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
  • House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
  • Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Representatives Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Mike Pompeo (K-KS), Steve King (R-IA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Leading conservative media personalities Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are also scheduled to speak.

In addition, the 2011 Values Voter Summit has many breakout sessions scheduled for the weekend that conflict with the sensibilities of most Jewish voters. While Republicans on Capitol Hill pay lip service to a supposed jobs agenda, this conservative summit focuses on such hot-button social issues as “How the Welfare State Erodes the Family,” “Exposing and Defunding Planned Parenthood, America’s Abortion Giant,” and “Straight Talk on Gay ‘Marriage'” [Values Voter Summit] — conflicting with the positions of the vast majority of American Jews.

With such an extreme lineup, most Jews would be unlikely to attend. But the scheduling of the event — which makes it impossible for any Jew observing Yom Kippur to attend — takes this year’s conference to new heights in repelling Jews from the conservative movement.

The 2011 Values Voter Summit’s content, in addition to its scheduling, contains nearly all of the elements that remind most Jews that today’s conservative movement and its Republican leaders do not reflect their values. Events such as this are a prime example of why the Democratic Party remains the historic and continued political home for the sweeping majority of American Jews.

* – Details:

  • In 2010, the Values Voter Summit was held September 16-19 — conflicting with Yom Kippur, which fell on September 17-18.
  • In 2009, the Values Voter Summit was held September 18-20 — conflicting with Rosh Hashanah, which fell on September 18-20.