Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

WATCH: Cory Booker Quotes Torah In Hebrew To Say ‘U.S. Not A Theocracy’

“Can I quote some Hebrew to you?” Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey asked rhetorically on Wednesday night during a CNN presidential town hall. “Because I studied the Torah too.” Click here for video; scroll to the 1:40 mark for the Hebrew.

Booker, who was mostly talking about his Christian faith, is known in the Jewish community for a friendship with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach that started when Booker was a student at Oxford University; Boteach was working as an emissary of the Chabad Lubavitcher movement.

The rabbi founded a Jewish group, the L’Chaim Society, and the black Baptist joined as co-president. Hundreds of Jewish students were drawn to the group’s events, whether for their uplifting spiritual nature, or for the free alcohol — or both. And no one who was there could fail to notice the rare bond between the two.

Later, the bromance splintered on the shoals of the Iran nuclear deal, which Booker voted for.

But the impact of his Jewish education is still clear.

“There’s a song sung during the High Holidays: Ki beiti beit tefillah yikarei l’chol ha-‘amim — ‘may my house be a house of prayer for many nations.’ We are the United States of America. We were not formed as a theocracy. We were formed on the ideal that many of us in our diversity can come together and create one strong whole. And if I am president of the United States, I will fight every day to put more indivisible into this one nation under God.”

Thanks to the Jewish Insider newsletter for tipping the Forward off to this clip.

Contact Helen Chernikoff at [email protected] or on Twitter @thesimplechild

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.