Friday, September 05, 2008

Palin Gets Mixed Reactions In Jewish Community

Columnists and reporters are indicating mixed reactions from the Jewish community on Sarah Palin's pick as the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Steven Waldman writing on Wednesday at BeliefNet says that Sarah Palin's pick "may end up scaring some Jews." According to the AP, Palin's church home for the last six years has been Wasilla Bible Church, an independent evangelical congregation, though before that she attended Wasilla's Church of the Rock (which I previously reported in reliance on an earlier AP story as her home church). At BeliefNet, Waldman focuses on the fact that two weeks ago Palin sat in church at Wasilla Bible as her minister introduced David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus. Brickner gave a "classic Jews for Jesus talk" on the need to convert Jews to Christianity and argued that conflict in the Middle East is a reflection of a judgment because of unbelief. Waldman's article reprints Brickner's entire remarks.

Meanwhile, however, Rabbi Yosef Greenberg, a Chabad rabbi who has lived in Alsaka for 17 years, tells Haaretz that if Palin is elected, "the Jewish people and the State of Israel will have a great friend and admirer in the White House." Greenberg says he meets with Palin regularly for informal conversations. He says that the Conservative Jewish congregation in Wasilla was pleasantly surprised a few years ago when Palin turned up at the dedication of their new synagogue building. Greenberg added: "Had she been a Chabadnik she would have certainly been an envoy, because she is constantly working for the greater good."