Corey Booker really, really wants the Jews to know he is, well if not one of them at least one of theirs:
When President Donald Trump suggested earlier this year that American Jews who vote for Democrats are disloyal, one 2020 Democratic presidential candidate chose to respond in Hebrew.
“I know Jewish values,” Senator Cory Booker told a group of reporters. “Tzedakah, chesed” he said — “those are ideas about justice and decency and kindness and mercy. We need to get back to those values.”
He then went on to quote a prayer said during the Jewish High Holy Days to further make his case.
“Ki beyti beit tefila yikarei l’kol ha’amim,” he said in slightly Yiddish-inflected Hebrew. “‘May my house be a house of prayer for many nations,’ that’s what is said at the most important time of year, that’s what we need to get back to.”
A “house of prayer for many nations” remains very Jewish everywhere except Israel. They must not have a Lubavitch chapter there.
Corey Booker was recruited by Shmuley Boteach at Oxford:
Not long after he arrived at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1992, Mr. Booker met Shmuley Boteach, an American rabbi who had been sent to the campus as an emissary for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which places an emphasis on outreach to nonpracticing Jews.
Mr. Booker eventually became a president of the L’Chaim Society, a Jewish campus group that Rabbi Boteach created, which functioned as a kind of salon and dining club for students.
“To say that we were close is really an understatement,” Rabbi Boteach said in an interview. “We were the way two brothers are,” he added. “He was an uncle to my children, he was my confidant.”
Chabad-Lubavitch stresses its outreach to non-practicing Jews, but seems to do a lot of cultivation of ambitious and rootless wannabes like young Corey Booker.
And, as is typical of his aw-shucks shallow enthusiasm for things other people have told him, he’s fairly comic in his earnest mimicry:
“There’s a twinkle that’s coming from his soul,” said Rabbi Shmully Hecht, with whom Mr. Booker worked to create a Jewish group at Yale.
He also criticized Mr. Booker’s vote on Iran, but considers him a steadfast supporter of Israel. “When you see him talking about Jewish things and Israel things, it’s extraordinary.”
Rabbi Menachem Genack, who leads the kosher certifying division of the Orthodox Union and lives in Englewood, N.J., met Mr. Booker through Rabbi Boteach more than two decades ago and has considered him a friend ever since. Rabbi Genack, who published a book of his letters to former President Bill Clinton, said it is often Mr. Booker who brings up Torah in their conversations.
“I go to his office and I start talking Abraham Lincoln and he starts talking about the parsha,” said Mr. Genack, using the Hebrew term for the weekly Torah portion. “I say: ‘Cory, what is wrong with this picture?’ and he just laughs.””
No, Corey, the Jews aren’t laughing at you behind your back. No one is. Totally not.
I can’t say if Ed Begley’s character in A Mighty Wind was under the same spell, but it sure seems like it: