‘Clinton’s Rabbi’ Offers Prayer for N.J. Gov

By E.J. Kessler

Published January 20, 2006, issue of January 20, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s worldwide kosher division, knows something about human forgiveness. When his pal President Clinton erred in 1998 with young Monica Lewinsky, Genack beat back other rabbis’ calls for Clinton’s resignation, saying that the repentant president was “transforming anger into contrition.”

This week, Genack, known as a Democratic mover and shaker in his home state of New Jersey, was at the side of another politician with public marital woes: the Garden State’s new governor, Jon Corzine. During Corzine’s recent campaign, newspapers carried reports about his affair with slinky union boss Carla Katz — and about the mortgage he had paid for Katz’s vacation home. Meanwhile, Corzine’s enraged former wife publicly attacked his trustworthiness in statements that served as fodder for television advertisements of Corzine’s Republican opponent.

In a benediction delivered at the new governor’s inaugural Tuesday, Genack reached back to the Bible for words that seemed to allude to Corzine’s personal failings.

“What we look for in a leader is not perfection, but the ability to admit a mistake, as does Judah, as does David,” Genack intoned, referring to two biblical characters tested by encounters with the fair sex. “We look for a leader who is not isolated but engaged. We seek not perfection, but rather flexibility, humility and the ability to change course based on new realities in an ever-changing world drama.”

Later, in a telephone interview, Genack told the Forward, “People should be judged in context.” He called both Clinton and Corzine “people of character” who “sometimes fall short of the mark.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.