Bintel Blog

'The Single Most Effective Non-Jewish Exponent of Judaism in the Entire World'

By Daniel Treiman

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Who is it? According to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, it’s his longtime friend, Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Writing in The Jerusalem Post, Boteach tells the story (which, granted, he’s told many times before) of his friendship with Booker.

The prompt for this iteration is, apparently, that Booker called up Boteach last week, because he was headed to the grave of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Apparently, a Jewish friend was getting married, and the Newark mayor thought it would be a good idea to give his pal a spiritual Jewish experience.

The article’s worth reading for the small window it provides on the passionate philosemitism of an exciting young leader. Booker, it seems, is so enamored with Jews that Michael Steinhardt enlisted him to speak to a gathering of hundreds of Birthright Israel alumni. “A great many participants later said that Cory’s speech was life-transforming as he quoted from the Bible in the original Hebrew and from the Talmud in Aramaic,” Boteach writes.


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