The shutdown is felt by the beaches of Normandy

C’est quoi, le shutdown?

Howard Rieger, who until 2008 was president and CEO of United Jewish Communities, the predecessor to the Jewish Federations of North America, is holidaying in France, and checked in with friends today:

Beverly and I are in France having spent a week here prior to going to Israel tomorrow. Today we took a train to Normandy to experience the D Day sites. We planned to pay our respects at the American Cemetery. It was closed due to the so-called shutdown. Imagine, we could go to the German cemetery but not to our own. What a shameful moment!

To whom can I write to share my utter consternation that we have sunk to a level that the dead who fought for our freedom seem also to have fought for the right of elected members of Congress to decide that they cannot be remembered in an appropriate manner by their fellow citizens?

This would be hard to believe if we had not experienced it ourselves.

To which we can only say… the French term for divided government is “cohabitation.” Maybe they can teach us a thing or two?

Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief, responsible for coordinating coverage in the U.S. capital and analyzing political developments that affect the Jewish world. He comes to JTA from The Associated Press, where he worked for more than a decade in its bureaus in Jerusalem, New York, London and, most recently, Washington. He has reported from Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Bosnia and West Africa. While living in Israel, he also worked for the Jerusalem Post and several Jewish organizations.