The community recently had the opportunity to hear the 2nd Congressional District of Virginia candidates share their views.
The event on Monday, Oct. 20 at the Sandler Family Campus allowed attendees to personally meet incumbent Rep. Scott Rigell (R) and challenger Suzanne Patrick (D), ask them questions face to face, and hear, briefly, their views about Israel and U.S.-Israel policy.
The crowd of about 200 consisted of Jewish voters, as well as many friends from other faith communities who support Israel and wanted to learn more about the candidates and their views.
Making a significant presence was a group of more than 20 students from Tallwood High School’s Global Studies and World Languages Academy, some of whom traveled with the school last year to Israel, some who will be going to Israel this month and some who vote for the first time in this election. The group gathered before the event, learning from and discussing Israel lobbying with community activist Art Sandler.
Robin Mancoll, director of the CRC, says while the candidates did not speak for long, the most important take away from the evening, “is not, voters learning about their next member of Congress, but the next member of Congress learning about the Jewish community and its friends.”
“Whoever is heading to D.C. as a result of this election, walked into the Simon Family JCC and saw a community that shows up to make sure that their Representative knows what issues are important to them, and in this case it was Israel, the U.S.—Israel relationship and support for our local Jewish agencies,” says Mancoll.
Before the candidates spoke, Megan Zuckerman, CRC chair, outlined the commitments to Jewish values and Israel held by the Tidewater Jewish community. Following are excerpts from her remarks:
The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, educates the community on the rights and issues impacting Jews locally, nationally, and globally with particular interest paid to Israel. The CRC transforms issues into action through constructive dialogue, educational opportunities and maintaining positive exchanges with the local community at large including faith and ethnic communities, public and government officials, and the media.
Representative Rigell and Ms. Patrick: we have invited you here tonight to hear the priorities of our Tidewater Jewish community and hope you will keep them in mind when representing us in Washington.
The Tidewater Jewish Community is comprised of approximately 11,000 people. And while that number seems small, you should know we are a strong, yet collective group of individuals with a shared culture deeply rooted in traditions and a shared set of values including the Jewish belief of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world we live in.
The Jewish people have historically led and joined others in the fight against human and social injustice including: intolerance, hate crimes, segregation, and the persecution or marginalization of others.
We spend every day not only preaching the notion that it is our duty to repair the world, but living it through the work being done at Jewish agencies serving the community at large.
We appreciate the time you have both taken to tour Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, Beth Sholom Village, the Simon Family JCC and the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. Our Jewish agencies care for those less fortunate or in need, the aged, and our youth, educating them to carry the torch for future generations of strong American Jews.
We teach our children that we are not only Jews but also Americans, living and working amongst our non-Jewish neighbors for the common purpose of a safe, strong and secure nation.
As American Jews it is our duty to ensure America remains Israel’s strongest ally. This is a mutually beneficial alliance for both America and Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East. It is important that the United States continues to maximize the benefits of an already thriving alliance with Israel by expanding cooperation in military, trade, energy and homeland security.
We believe that America must work to prevent the very real threat of Iran achieving nuclear breakout capability.
We will always advocate for Israel’s right to self-defense and we support security assistance for Israel in the current and future Congressional budget. We will continue to work with you and Congress on government partnerships between America and Israel and joint anti-terrorism efforts.
We look forward to hearing from both of you, and your thoughts on how we, your friends and neighbors in the Jewish community, can help keep both our nation and the State of Israel safe, strong and secure.