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PatSeg

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Chicago
Current location: New Hampshire
Member since: Sat Jan 10, 2004, 06:50 AM
Number of posts: 43,374

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I received this email from Joe's campaign yesterday

It is so typical of the many stories I have read about him. So many people don't realize what kind of person he really is.

The story I’m about to share with you about Joe Biden is special -- in fact, I’m fairly certain I’m the only living person left who actually witnessed it firsthand.

It was about 16 years ago, and I was a young rabbi, brand-new to Delaware, on my way to lead a shiva minyan -- a worship service following a death of a Jewish person. I was from California. Back then, I didn’t know Claymont, Delaware from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

A quick bit of background: When someone passes away in the Jewish faith, we observe seven days of mourning, called shiva. We gather a group of ten Jewish adults together -- a minyan -- to say the Mourners’ Kaddish. It usually happens in a person’s home -- somewhere intimate.

In this case, the deceased individual -- her name was Mrs. Greenhouse, of blessed memory -- had not been a person of means. She had lived in rent-controlled senior housing in a tall high-rise building off of Namaans Road. Her apartment had been too small to fit everyone into, so we conducted our worship service in the building’s communal laundry room, in the basement of the high-rise.

We assembled the ten elders together, and it was in this most humble of places that I began to lead the kaddish. Toward the end of the service, a door at the back of the laundry room opened, and who walks in but Senator Joe Biden, his head lowered, all by himself.

I nearly dropped my prayer book in shock.

Senator Biden stood quietly in the back of the room for the duration of the service.

At the close of the kaddish, I walked over to him and asked the same question that must have been on everyone else’s mind: “Senator Biden -- what are you doing here?”

And he said to me: “Listen, back in 1972, when I first ran for Senate, Mrs. Greenhouse gave $18 to my first campaign. Because that’s what she could afford. And every six years, when I’d run for reelection, she’d give another $18. She did it her whole life. I’m here to show my respect and gratitude.”

Now, the number 18 is significant in the Jewish faith -- its numbers spell out the Hebrew word chai, as in “to life, to life, l’chayim!” But it’s also a humble amount. Joe Biden knew that. And he respected that.

There were no news outlets at our service that day -- no Jewish reporters or important dignitaries. Just a few elderly mourners in a basement laundry room.

Joe Biden didn’t come to that service for political gain. He came to that service because he has character. He came to that service because he’s a mensch.

And if we need anything right now when it comes to the leadership of our country -- we need a mensch.

I know this is such a simple, small story. But I tell it to as many people as will listen to me.

Because I think that, in their heart of hearts, when people are trying to think about the decision they’ll make this year -- this is the kind of story that matters.

Joe Biden is a mensch. We need a mensch.

Thanks for reading.

I would hate to see the Trump administration

become a precedent for future administrations, rather than the bizarre anomaly that it is. If we accept this as the new norm-slinging insults, win at all costs, and never give an inch-we will begin to resemble third world countries, where civility and decorum are cast aside to make room for political blood sport.

All the changes that you hope your candidate will accomplish will become faded dreams, not because they weren't feasible or doable, but because the democratic process requires time and reasonable compromise. We did not wake up one day and have Social Security or Medicare as we know them today. It took planning, negotiation, and great political skill to make them a reality.

We need our thinkers and idealists to inspire us to be better, but we also need our capable pragmatists to bring about a tangible version of those ideas. Lofty rhetoric and great ideas are part of the process, but they will only take us so far. Then the politicians have to do the dirty work and produce a real life manifestation of those dreams. Not everyone is going to like the end product, but it is a step forward, opening the way for many more steps.

And we only have to look to this White House

to confirm that.

This is about more than winning an election. The next president is going to have to mend fences worldwide and use diplomacy to win back our friends and allies. No one is going to take a petty, vindictive president seriously.

There are ways to deal with obstructionists and flame throwers in congress, but it needs to be in a statesman like fashion. I don't want another insulting, playground bully president, even if he/she agrees with me. I want my president to act like a president and be an example to my grandchildren.
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