Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Faith, Freedom, and Kugel

Jay D. Homnick

Renaissance is a con artist’s word, all sizzle and no steak. Renascence is the clean English version of the same word, growing from the identical roots, also meaning rebirth and reemergence. But try calling your organization the Patriotic Renascence Project and see where it gets you. So touching down inWashingtonDC for a weekend conference at the Renaissance Hotel, I’m preprogrammed to expect fluff.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

elephant drawringRalph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition is hosting, but the big names are the draw: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and so many more of like mind. Meet all your Republican rock stars, even if they can only give you nine seconds apiece. Buy their books when they sit down to sign them, and now you’re up to 16 seconds. Not long enough to get their meatloaf recipe but enough to guarantee an authentic name-drop for life. A fair enough trade, I figure, but still a long way from real substance.

The coalition itself is a new encounter for most of the guests. Politically savvy folks, of the sort this event might attract, have been following Ralph Reed’s career since he was a big mover and shaker in the Reagan campaign. He wears the 32 intervening years lightly, but you don’t hear his name today as much as when he led the Christian Coalition.

Orthodox Jews loved getting those voter guides from the coalition back in the 1990s, because they taught the candidates’ real positions and voting records in a way the media couldn’t or wouldn’t. But is Ralph still relevant? That’s a question we are hoping to answer this weekend. Our early clue is from his ability to draw the big names to his podium, but we are keeping eyes and ears open.

Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition hosts this event annually, attracting Republican political supporters and others committed to traditional values from across the country. This year’s convention has the added urgency of an election year, and considered our Orthodox Jewish group important enough to make us Shabbos accommodations.

For the 40-or-so in our Orthodox group, we figure our downside is covered by our buddies. Worse comes to worst, if the Faith lacks credibility and the Freedom is too expensive, we can always hang with a fellow we remember from yeshivah and a guy who davens at our brother-in-law’s shul. We know we can count on the organizing skills of super-activist Jeff Ballabon, who is at home in the study hall at Ner Israel in Baltimore as much as he was in the corridors of the George W. Bush White House. How bad can it be to have summer camp for three days, including a Shabbos, and sharing a little kugel with folks who are culturally and politically on the same … er, daf as we are?

Okay, then. Go to your room, fluff out your pillows, rig up some contraption with duct tape and tissue paper to keep your door from locking on Shabbos, and you’re in business. Let’s hear what these Republican types have to say.



<p><span style="color: #333333;">To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or <a style="text-decoration: underline;" href="">sign up for a weekly subscription</a>.</span></p>

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time